Saturday, October 29, 2016

Pre-Holiday Flix: The Exorcist (1973)

It is about time that I finally did the granddaddy of them all!  Today's Film is The Exorcist, a 1973 Film that needs no introduction.  Most people know it as 'The scariest Film ever made.'  For me, the fact that we keep making Transformers Films is the scariest thing ever!  For those who don't know for some reason, this is the Story of a young girl possessed by a Demon and the Priests that must help her.  Since the Film is a product of its time, they also work in a trip to Iraq, random sight-seeing, Father Karras' sub-plot and a running gag about a lonely Detective.  I watched the 'Extended' Cut, so I got more of the good and less-good stuff.  If you still don't know this one yet, let me give you a rundown and some commentary (to die for)...
In Iraq, a Priest (Max Von Sydow) uncovers some freaky stuff involving Satanic-looking statues.  See you in 90 minutes or so!

Let's also note that this Scene is so important that it got a whole Film made to expand upon it even more!  Two if you count Paul Schrader's Cut.
Back in America, young Regan *slowly* begins to act and feel different.

To be fair, I was warned for years about how slow this one is.  The fact is that it was a bit quicker than I expected...
Before too long, she starts to show some pretty strange symptoms.  I don't think your neck can be double-jointed!
Since I watch the 'Version You've Never Seen,' I get to see the Spider-Walk in all of its glory!
Skipping past the whole Karras sub-Plot, the unresolved (until Part 3) Serial Killer Sub-Plot and the unresolved (but not in the Book) sub-Plot of someone desecrating some Statues, Karras finally shows up at the house after things have gotten bad.

Fun Fact- he wasn't supposed to be hit in the face with this, but they kept this take for his natural reaction!
The Priest is flummoxed by how things are going, especially when this happens...
The only solution: call in Father Von Sydow to help in this iconic Scene.

Fun Fact: Linda Blair actually made Von Sydow forget his lines in one take due to her dirty talk!
After taking a break to recover himself, Karras returns to find Von Sydow dead (off-camera)!  He tricks the Demon into taking over his body and dives out a window to drive it away for good (until The Exorcist III).
To wrap things up, a Priest from earlier (who was a real one!) explains things to the Detective and they become friends- even after the former turns into George C. Scott.  The End.
Not a disappointment.  Yes, the Film is real long, especially in the extra-new Version.  Yes, the Film does build up quite a bit.  It still worked for me though, mostly due to Friedkin.  I don't have to tell you that he's a good Director, right?  Most of what the Film does is good, solid stuff.  Little things like Regan's transformation were handled nicely.  Not too fast, not too slow- just right.  The part where they subject her to all of those tests (most of which are dubious in their medical accuracy) makes you really feel for her more!  The Karras stuff is overall pretty good and feels important.  I was a bit bothered by all the stuff that is set up and not followed up on.  You could have probably cut that without too much being lost.  The Detective shows up at Regan's House twice, but both moments don't amount to much.  This was eventually turned into some Sequel-Bait, even though Blatty didn't Write the Book that was turned into The Exorcist III until 1983!  Yes, I do own a First Edition Hardcover Edition of said Book- be jealous!  The stand-out of the Film is all of the work done behind the Scenes- from the lady who did the Spider-Walk to the people that did the Make-Up and especially the voice of Pazuzu.  She has really gotten screwed out of alot of the Credit- literally and figuratively.  The Studio even accidentally on-purpose didn't credit her so that Linda Blair could be nominated for an Oscar!  That said, The Exorcist can be a little slow for some, but is still a Classic.  Take us away, Blatty Cameo...
Next up, the Sequel that nobody talks about.  Is it a disappointment or something to be remembered?  Stay tuned...

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