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Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Exorcist

     Lines around the block waiting to get into midnight showings.  Churches and protesters crying "blasphemy"!  Viewers fainting and puking in the aisles.  Reports of people being institutionalized after seeing it.  And at least one reported miscarriage blamed on the movie- 1973's "The Exorcist" is one of the most infamous horror movies of all time and generally known as one of the scariest, if not the scariest movies ever.  Audiences didn't quite know how to react to such a shocking, graphic tale of demonic possession, which is partly why this movie simply rocked the world.  "The Exorcist" made a huge impact on society back in 1973- just coming out of the turbulent 60s and the Vietnam War- it's easy to see why.  Linda Blair and Ellen Burstyn give harrowing and amazing performances, and deserved Oscars for their work, if you ask me.

     "The Exorcist" was truly a cinematic milestone in 1973.  Yet sadly today, it has lost much of its effect on younger audiences.  It's easy to see why, actually.  "The Exorcist" was very influential- and has been duplicated and lampooned to death- most notably by Linda Blair herself in "Repossessed" and "Scary Movie 2".  And yes, "The Exorcist" is a slow burn to many.  I actually hate that it's so widely known as "the scariest movie of all time"- if you have never experienced it, it's hard not to go in with so many expectations.  The film does move somewhat slowly, but then again, this is not your typical 80 minute horror movie either.  It's an actual film with an actual plot and actual characters.  It takes its time to fully establish the characters- which in turn enhances the horror.

     Many subliminal tricks were used in the making of this film.  The recorded sounds of angry bees play almost inaudible to the human ear on the soundtrack, and quick flashes of the demon appear throughout.  Also recordings of bears and lions were used.  We don't actually hear these sounds with our ears, but we pick up on them subconsciously- and we are disturbed by them.  Supposedly many strange experiences happened during the making of this movie, which are supposed to be showing up in a documentary chronicling the making of the film in a special edition DVD at some point.  Something about those crazy 70's- they sure knew how to make great horror movies back then.  As for you youngsters out there, "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" does not hold a candle to the granddaddy of all demonic possession movies.

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