This movie scared the crap out of my as a impressionable kid and still resonates after all these years. I still feel the need to turn on all the lights after I watch this truly unsettling movie. Damn you, Friedkin!
For a long time, I was too chicken to see this movie. Finally mustered up the guts when I was 18. I was so disappointed. I mean, so what? Devil possesses the girl.Finally, I read a somewhat revelatory comment out there that turned my opinion of it around (and granted, I may have been an idiot for not catching it myself). What's truly terrifying is not that the devil possesses the girl, but that he's trying to undermine the young priest's faith in God. The hubris of that is what I think makes the film rather shocking.
I think it was Billy Graham who declared there is a power in this film that is beyond the film and he's right. Like JD, The Exorcist scared me stiff when I first saw it and it's still a very powerful viewing experience. Tony makes a perceptive comment, too, concerning the priest and the attempt to pour flames on what is already a crisis of faith (Jason Miller heading for the biggest fight of his life does remind me of Rocky in some ways). You chose some marvellous captures here and reminded me it's time for my annual viewing, along with a re-read of Mark Kermode's excellent book. I understand Mark's wife has banned him from ever mentioning the film again. Fat chance!
I had the living daylights scared out of me when I saw this as a kid. It had me scared to death. It is still a powerful film all these years later.
steven langton:"...Jason Miller heading for the biggest fight of his life does remind me of Rocky in some ways."That's a really great observation and so true. He really goes several rounds with the girl/Satan and every time he and Max Von Sydow go up those stairs you wonder what is going to happen to them next. Towards the end you really the endurance test that these two guys go through. No wonder I always feel exhausted after seeing this film!
Thanks, JD. I feel the same way by the end of this film. It is exhausting, physically and mentally.
Thanks everyone for all the great reactions regarding one of my favorite American films. I've always felt that the key to the film was in Jason Miller's character who admits that he has lost his faith in the beginning. Less a story about a possessed little girl, it's a story about a man whose faith is restored.I think it's an absolute stunning film, as is Blatty's NINTH CONFIGURATION which I will be featuring in this series in the future.
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