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The Exorcist: Whats the big deal?


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#1 of 84 OFFLINE   NickSo

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Posted October 28 2003 - 06:11 AM

Aight, so i've heard time and time again THE EXORCIST is one of the SCARIEST MOVIES EVER... so i decide to watch it last night, alone in the dark...

An hour and thirty minutes later... Uhmmmm... right... That was not that scary!!! The Ring (remake) was ten times scarier than this...

I just dont see it... Is it just coz I'm so jaded by the special effects these days that the posessed girl was just fake-looking but back in the day when it first came out it was so realistic?

The only scary thing i saw was when you actually saw the 'devil's' face, and during that one section where when the room flashed you'd see 'subliminal' single-frame appearances of a silhouette of the devil. Other than that, i thought it wasn't all that cracked up to be...

Can somebody please enlighten me?


#2 of 84 OFFLINE   MartinTeller

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Posted October 28 2003 - 06:13 AM

So the only parts you liked was the CGI stuff added 20 years later?

Anyway, threads like this never go anywhere. If you didn't like it, no one is going to convince you that you should like it.

#3 of 84 OFFLINE   NickSo

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Posted October 28 2003 - 06:17 AM

I didn't realize the devil's face and the silhouettes were added later...

Im in no way trying to bash the film (you're making it sound like I am, and i hope my opening post didn't sound that way) And I dont wanna be CONVINCED to like it, Im just curious as to what made it so scary 25 years ago...


#4 of 84 OFFLINE   Topher

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Posted October 28 2003 - 06:26 AM

The demons face wasn't added in later, it was in the original. At least if we are talking about the same things. I thought it was a great movie, however not as scary as much as it is unsettling...
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#5 of 84 OFFLINE   Ricardo C

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Posted October 28 2003 - 06:34 AM

Quote:
I thought it was a great movie, however not as scary as much as it is unsettling...

My thoughts exactly Posted Image

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#6 of 84 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted October 28 2003 - 06:59 AM

Actually, the film is 30 years old now and back then it was scary, but due to horror films that were made since then, it may appear to be tame by today's standards. That's the price you pay for being a ground-breaking film with plenty of latter day imitations.





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#7 of 84 OFFLINE   Malcolm R

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Posted October 28 2003 - 07:12 AM

Nick, I just had the same exact experience with "The Last House on the Left." Despite its hype, I didn't find that the least bit scary. "The Exorcist" is better.

Plus, "The Exorcist" is probably more unsettling if you actually believe in possession and get into the religious overtones. I don't, so I don't find it all that scary.

But it was fun watching it on the big screen at the Seattle Cinerama a couple years ago with some friends. Posted Image
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#8 of 84 OFFLINE   Jeff Gatie

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Posted October 28 2003 - 07:22 AM

I always found the film was much scarier to me than other horror films due to me being a catholic. I laugh at most horror/slasher films (The Ring, Halloween etc.), jump at times at some (The Others, Signs, What Lies Beneath), but I find The Exorcist truly scary. My Catholic upbringing and the mysterious, unspoken, almost occult rite of exorcism (and the fact this rite is still performed to this day) combine to chill me to the bone. Blair Witch, pheh! Jason, Michael Myers and Freddy, phhht! But give me a couple priests, a devil and a little girl, I won't sleep for a week!

Malcolm, I see you also feel the same way about the religious aspect. Maybe I'm onto something here . . .

#9 of 84 OFFLINE   Gary Seven

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Posted October 28 2003 - 08:40 AM

The book was based on actual events that took place in Maryland.

I remember sitting in the theater, 13 years old, catholic school student, freaking out. In it's day, it was intense.... especially in a darkened theater, on the big screen.

I think crawdaddy hit the nail on the head.

#10 of 84 OFFLINE   Dome Vongvises

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Posted October 28 2003 - 08:53 AM

The Exorcist was one of the scariest movies I ever saw back in high school (around 1998). I watched it alone, during a torrential rainstorm, and with the lights turned off. What didn't help was about three seconds after the movie finished rewinding in my VCR, the power in my house went out. Then there was a loud crash of thunder. Needless to say, I made it in time to the bathroom. Posted Image

The film is no longer scary to me, albeit it is still a little creepy. The most important thing about the film is the theme of faith and how it affects those around them.

Another theme to notice is the relationship between parent and child. Even if you were to have something else besides a scary devil possession, you can see what happens to a child and the effects and toll it takes on a parent. It's heart-breaking to see a mother cry when she's almost out of options. It's kind of like what I'd imagine what most parents would go through if they found out that their child had a terminal disease or something like it.

#11 of 84 OFFLINE   Garrett Lundy

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Posted October 28 2003 - 09:41 AM

I'm probably not the greatest judge to the effectiveness of the film, I am more frightened by The Ring than The Exorcist, but I can say this:

*The Exorcist is of higher quality than any horror movie I am aware of. I don't think you could get that many actors/actresses of this caliber into one movie these days. The directing, set design, music, and editing are "textbook perfect" (Not so much with the extended versions).

*Combined the latent human fears of Death, old age, and insanity. This is in additon to any religious threads concerning the loss of one's faith, or corruption (of the soul) by demonic forces. Also struck a cord with primitive (by todays standards) medical technology (The blood! ack!).

The horror of this movie is really a reflection of the filmamker, and possibly a whole generation of people (Satanic films were big before the slasher films).

But it doesn't have the "impending spooky doom" quality to it that The Ring, or The BLair Witch Project have to it.
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#12 of 84 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted October 28 2003 - 10:28 AM

Honestly, I've never been a big fan of this film. Saw it when first released and couldn't see what all the hoopla was about (remember, people were losing their lunches in theaters while others ran out of the auditoriums). Though there are some effective shots and compositions as well as effective uses of prerecorded serious music, the overall presentation, for this viewer at least, is more schlock than shock.

Too, there's the entire premise, which, if one doesn't subscribe to the theology in the film's story, is less than compelling. And, of course, Friedkin's pre-Spielberg audience manipulation cheapened the effect.

Far better are such calmer, more restrained examples of horror, such as The Haunting and The Uninvited.

This is an example of a film that has attained classic status but for which I could not care in the least. I wonder how it will be viewed by serious critics in another generation?

(I also do not care for Ellen Burstyn's overacting.)

#13 of 84 OFFLINE   RobertR

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Posted October 28 2003 - 10:42 AM

For me, this film has never been all that scary, simply because there’s very little sense of physical danger. We have a young girl doing weird, gross things. “Ooh, she peed on the carpet!” “Ooh, she vomited!” Gross? Yes. Scary? I fail to see why. Contrast this with movies where people really ARE in physical danger, such as Alien (you get attacked by some horrible creature that implants eggs in you) or Jaws, where you get bitten in pieces or even swallowed whole. That’s scary!

The "demonic possession" aspect doesn't scare me, because not until the very end do we get ANY sense that the demon threatens anyone else. Just one girl, acting gross.

#14 of 84 OFFLINE   Romier S

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Posted October 28 2003 - 11:38 AM

Quote:
Contrast this with movies where people really ARE in physical danger


Apparently the murder of Burke Dennnings, Father Karras' eventual possession and suicide, the death of Father Merrin due to the exorcism as well as the attack on Chris by her own daughter in the infamous cross scene do not constitute real physical danger?

I do understand your point of view concerning those films you mentioned and how they illicit a sense of fear out of the viewer but its precisely that atmosphere and that sense of dread (and not just the possibility of being bitten in halfPosted Image) that makes The Exorcist so disturbing in my book. So on that note, I'll have to respectfully disagree with you on that.

#15 of 84 ONLINE   Steve Christou

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Posted October 28 2003 - 11:41 AM

I saw The Exorcist in the cinema back in the 70's and it did freak me out a bit. It was a massive success when it came out, I think only The Godfather was more successful at that time. People were screaming, fainting and vomiting, ambulances would turn up at theaters. Eventually it was banned in England until a few years ago.

It's not as effective now because we've had 30 years of gory horrors since. And people now are more fascinated in how they make films than they were 30 years ago, back than people would just immerse themselves in the story, nowadays at the cinema we wonder what kind of extras the dvd will have while we're in the middle of watching the film.Posted Image

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#16 of 84 OFFLINE   Brian W.

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Posted October 28 2003 - 12:52 PM

Quote:
Plus, "The Exorcist" is probably more unsettling if you actually believe in possession and get into the religious overtones.


I think that's true. My friends who are religious find it much more disturbing than I do. Also, the concept of possession was new to many people back then... I mean, they'd certainly heard about it, but nobody had ever really thought about it happening in the modern world.

I've never found it scary at all. A little creepy, but not much. But I had read the book first, so I knew everything that was going to happen, which probably ruined the effect for me.

30 years of increasingly gory, violent, and vulgar movies and music have definitely decreased its shock value. Back in '73, no one had ever heard a little girl say the "F" word in a movie... it was very shocking. Now you see child characters saying it on South Park every week.

But the audience I saw The Version You've Never Seen with was very shocked by the crucifix scene and the peeing on the carpet, though they laughed at most of the rest of it.

#17 of 84 OFFLINE   RobertR

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Posted October 28 2003 - 02:14 PM

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Father Karras' eventual possession and suicide

It wasn't a physical attack, merely a transference of the possession. His suicide was a voluntary act on his part. So no, it doesn't apply.

Quote:
the death of Father Merrin due to the exorcism

It seemed more stress and age related than anything else.

Quote:
as well as the attack on Chris by her own daughter in the infamous cross scene do not constitute real physical danger?


It wasn't a particularly deadly attack. Certainly nothing compared to having one's legs bitten off by Bruce!

Sorry, I didn't see this foul mouthed, gross little girl killing people left and right (unlike the other characters I mentioned).

#18 of 84 OFFLINE   Richard Kim

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Posted October 28 2003 - 02:34 PM

Quote:
It wasn't a physical attack, merely a transference of the possession. His suicide was a voluntary act on his part. So no, it doesn't apply.

Actually, once the demon enters Karras' body, it forces him to advance on Regan and try to harm her. That's why he throws himself out the window, to prevent this from happening.

#19 of 84 OFFLINE   Robert Anthony

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Posted October 28 2003 - 02:36 PM

I think the Exorcist is mostly a product of the times and the mores of the day--in the early 70's you didn't really see that kind of stuff being tackled in movies.

I think that's what most of it was--back then, the idea of an 8 year old stabbing herself in the crotch until bloody while screaming "FUCK YOU JESUS" was something you just never expected to see in a serious, highly publicized studio picture. The mood friedkin set, the idea that it could be YOUR kid that could levitate her bed and puke all over a priest, I think those were things that hadn't really been tackled in a kind of documentary way in the early 70's, and the shock of how raw it felt and looked up on the screen back then is what's given the movie it's lasting appeal, more than anything.

It's not a TIMELESS movie by any stretch of the imagination, at least I don't think so--but it's still pretty well put together, and I try to keep in mind the time it was made, and I think I appreciate it a little more for that.

#20 of 84 OFFLINE   Rob Tomlin

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Posted October 28 2003 - 03:07 PM

Quote:
Plus, "The Exorcist" is probably more unsettling if you actually believe in possession and get into the religious overtones.


Count me in as another who strongly agrees with this statement.

If you believe in possession, and as someone stated above, the book was supposedly based on actual events, this is, indeed, a rather "unsettling" movie.

For ordinary men, it's a burning, fiery furnace.


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