Monday, October 29, 2012

Sean Kelly

Blindspot: The Exorcist

exorcistIf there was a horror film that I was apprehensive about seeing, it was The Exorcist.  You could partially attribute this to the fact that I’m a practicing Catholic and don’t believe that the subject of demonic possession and exorcisms should be treated lightly.  However, as I’ve seen other horror films about exorcism in recent years, such as The Last Exorcism, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, and The Rite, I thought that it was time that I give the reported “Scariest Movie of All Time” a watch.  It helped that it was screening last weekend as part of Cineplex’s special Halloween screenings.

One thing that surprised me watching the film is that, even though he plays the title character, Max Von Sydow is in the film for no more than 15-20 minutes.  His character of Father Merrin is first seen in the opening prologue in Iraq, however he does not appear again until the actual exorcism occurs in the third act.

For the most part, the film tells two concurrent stories.  The first one involves Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn), who tries to find a solution for the mysterious ailment of his daughter Regan (Linda Blair).  Since she’s an Atheist, Chris does not believe that her daughter is possessed until she literal starts seeing the supernatural events with her own eyes.  This leads to the second story of the film, involving Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller), who is undergoing a crisis of faith in the wake of his mother’s sickness and death.  The two stories eventually come together once Chris becomes 100% convinced that her daughter is possessed.

While I am sure this film was probably terrifying for people in 1973, today the demonic effects, such as green vomit, spinning heads, and overdubbed dialogue, comes off as more cartoony than scary.  In fact, the true creepy moments for me in the film come in the early goings when the demon is merely hinted (and shown in brief flashes).  The cut of the film I watched was the “Version You’ve Never Seen” from 2000, which inserted many extra scenes within the film, including the infamous “Spider Walk” sequence.

Overall, while the effects in the film are noticeably dated, I can see why the film is considered a horror classic and I don’t know why I waited so long to finally check it out.


Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).