Cincinnati Babyhead

Speaks his mind on music & movies!

Movie : The Exorcist

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The film opens up in the desert of northern Iraq at an archaeological dig.  A figure is uncovered and brought to an older man.  This sends the man, a priest into some sort of inner turmoil.  In the last shot of this place we see the priest facing a statue in an eerie standoff.

We cut to Georgetown where we find a successful single mother and her daughter.  The daughter, Regan starts to act out prompting the mother, Chris to seek medical help. Reagan’s behavior starts to escalate into uncontrollable, dangerous territory.  Chris, at her wits end, seeks the help of a priest, Damien about the possibility of an exorcism.  Damien who’s having personal questions about his own faith tries to discourage Chris but events force their hands to proceed with the idea of an exorcism.  The faith challenged Damien gets permission from the church and reaches out to Father Merrin, the priest from the opening, to take on the task.

The two priests, one old and fragile, the other with fading faith team up to take on the Demon that has possessed Regan.

Babyhead saw this film at a drive- in with his cousin giving a play by play as the movie ran.  Despite that, CB really liked this film.  Sure it was scary but he got caught up in the story and the performances.  William Freidkin pulls off a tight entertaining film.  Managing to bring all the subplots together. William Peter Blatty supplies the screenplay from his story.  Mike Oldfield provides the excellent music.

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But I think the thing that really hooked CB was the performances especially from Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow and Jason Miller.  The supporting cast are are solid.  Linda Blair as Regan goes through self torture in her role.  CB always likes Lee J. Cobb who play an older detective investigating a murder which leads him into the thick of things.

Burstyn is all exhaustion and hopelessness.  Showing a vulnerable, worn out, not very flattering side of herself.  What a great actress.  Max is just perfect casting as Merrin.  World and battle weary.  Put the camera on him and you buy his performance as real.  The depth and chops he brought was gold.  Jason Miller, CB thought was outstanding.  Same as Max and Ellen you buy him as the character right away.  Struggling with his faith, guilt.  Nothing cliche about his performance as a priest.  He’s a real living breathing human being with real issues.  Great work.

Lots of memorable scenes.  All the possession stuff that Regan goes through.  Damien and his mother.  Burstyn’s frustration with the doctors.  Merrin’s arriving.  Chris answering the door and Merrin standing there.  Just the look on her face says it all, in a living nightmare.  The actual exorcism.    The scene when Chris asks Damien “Is she going to die?” and Damien answers “No”.  Great scene.

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So CB’s take on this film is yeah it got a lot of ink with all the gross, freaky shit that went on but underneath that is a really good motion picture.

So if there’s a drive-in movie still in your area fill up the old Buick get a play by play cousin and go see this film.

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13 comments on “Movie : The Exorcist

  1. Jim S.
    January 15, 2017

    Great choice, CB! One of my favorite (top ten) movies of all time, horror or otherwise. I happen to think it transcends genres. The younger priests’ trial of faith and his guilt over his mother’s death is what keeps it real. That, and the fact that they play it so damn seriously .I’ve seen this movie I’d say by now about 10 or 12 times – theater originally, drive-in, TV, film class in college, re-release with the famous “spiderwalk” scene. (They couldn’t figure out how to do it technically the first time.) Not for the squeamish:

    There’s a lot of people who will not go see this movie. Too bad as they are missing a great drama as well as a great horror movie.

    Fun fact – I was at a seminar in DC in 2015. Across the Key Bridge from Virginia is Georgetown where they filmed much of it. The actual steps from behind the house are there! Alas, if you’re facing the steps, behind you is a two-lane highway, and to your left is a gas station. No house right at the top. Hollywood trickery. They put a plaque there a few months later. If you go to Yelp and type in ‘Exorcist Steps,’ you’ll see not only reviews but some yutz lying on the steps. People apparently like to do this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      January 15, 2017

      Great input Jim! Love it when people like yourself give their take and add their experience with the film (films/music). Totally agree on your points about “transcends genres”. Jason Miller nails it with the priest. He was one fine actor who didn’t do enough work. How about the Oldfield soundtrack?. Also like the “Hollywood trickery” note. Love the image of the guy lying on the steps, I guess the film effected him. Again great input! ps CB is in love with Ellen Burstyn.

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      • Jim S.
        January 15, 2017

        As you’ve said before CB, we do this because we love it. Interestingly, the only Oldfield thing in there is a few snippets from “Tubular Bells.” But that is one of my favorite albums (I sound like such a fanboy) and I wrote about it on my blog a while back. Not only is that album not some relic but I actually have the CD in my car and listen to it about once every couple of months all the way through.

        Remember that scene where the girl slaps Burstyn and she goes flying? That scream is real. She hurt her back. Friedkin is a great director but notorious for sacrificing his actors to get the scene.

        BTW, your timing is…. supernatural? William Peter Blatty who wrote the original book died two days ago. How about that?

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        January 15, 2017

        But what “snippets” they were! Man this did set off some bells for you. Yes I do remember the scene and know a little about Friedkin. ‘French Connection’ and this are setting the bar pretty high. Have seen a few others he’s done. Never seen ‘Scorcerer’ but plan on doing so. Have you seen it? Didn’t know that about Blatty, guess it was his time. Great piece of work by him. (I’ll be getting to your Oldfield take soon. CB loves that record).

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      • Jim S.
        January 15, 2017

        Yeah, we saw ‘Sorcerer’ (I’m aging myself here) at the theater when it came out. But we saw it again about, oh, a year or so ago On Demand or Netflix or something. Good, hairy flick. Roy Scheider again. Don’t get me started about ‘French Connection.’ They do not make ’em like that anymore. (Though I watched the sequel not too long ago and it’s kind of a dud. I mean, it’s ok but not up to the first one.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        January 15, 2017

        I plan on seeing it soon. Vinyl Connection did a piece on ‘Tangerine Dreams’ soundtrack for it. FC is on CB’s fave list. I hear you on FC II but Frankenheimer is always interesting. We might have had this talk before.

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      • Jim S.
        January 15, 2017

        Yes and who knows, we’ll likely wind up having it again after we lose a few more brain cells. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim S.
    January 15, 2017

    Didn’t realize till I posted it that it would depict the scene. Sorry about that. Feel free to pull it. I can’t seem to. do it on my end.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 1537
    January 15, 2017

    A timely post, William Blatty died last week – I’ve read this one (and marvelled at the number and varirty of swear words (I was 14)) but …

    Confession #2: I’ve never watched the Exorcist.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      January 16, 2017

      This confession thing works for the film. 1537, like all the things we like it’s a matter of taste. I liked both the book and the film. Stay away from the hype and non hype and see what you think. You could waste time doing worse things. Like……… (fill in the blank)

      Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      January 16, 2017

      Music Enthusiast mentioned the passing of Blatty. Didn’t know that. He wrote a good one. I’ve never heard his reaction to the film if he had one.

      Liked by 1 person

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