Horror Movie Matters #22 The Exorcist 1973 Dir. William Friedkin
If you’re someone that has seen The Exorcist and claim that you laughed all the way through it, I’m just going to assume that you’re a liar or were trying to impress your friends. This film, without question, is terrifying. Period. For those of you who don’t know, The Exorcist is the story of Chris MacNeil and her daughter Regan. Chris begins to notice physical and behavioral changes in her daughter. At the same time, Father Karass is experiencing doubts about his faith while dealing with his dying mother. The three of these characters collide when Karras and the elderly Father Merrin, get called in to deal with the demonic possession of the young Regan. The film begins as a slow burn and builds slowly toward the lengthy battle between the priests and the possessed girl. While much has been made about the head-spinning practical effects, which are brilliant, this film primarily relies on psychological terror to instill fear in its audience. It is the secret thoughts and desires of the characters that allow for the demon to infiltrate their hearts and minds. The Exorcist is just as much about the private horrors as it is about the cosmic ones. Weather you believe in God or not, issues of death, corrupted innocence and personal doubt are all something we can respond to. These secret fears are horrific, but it's the thought that these secret truths will be used against us that terrifies us more than any monster.
So if you’re one of those people, that claimed they laughed through The Exorcist, I suggest you give it another shot. Leave the security of you friends behind andwatch this film alone, at night, with all of the lights off and we can finally see where the truth lies.