The Exorcist: The Reality of the Inexplicable

        The Exorcist, the 1973 movie of a young girl possessed by a demonic spirit has gone down in history as the most horrifying films ever made.

        The director, William Friedkin, was of the documentary school of film making, and his shots have a loose acknowledgment of reality much like the way in which humans orient themselves visually. One was not watching a story; one became part of it. That was his focus, the reality of the inexplicable.

        The idea of William Peter Blatty's book came from a documented case of a young boy who was exorcized and the strange circumstances that had occurred. That was the important choice that the director faced; few horror films had ever honestly taken themselves seriously. Along with being the master of documentary-style footage, Friedkin was also influenced by the foreign masters. His film includes a dream sequence that is both frightening and surreal and somewhat of an homage to Fellini's opening sequence of (1963). The hospital scenes are also unforgiving, graphic, and sterile; this adds to the reality of our own phobias. The most important aspect is of course the terrifying scenes after the demon has found its host; each unforgettable moment spent with the demonic-influenced child is hard to watch no matter how many times one has viewed the film.

        The one scene in this really scary movie on demonic obsession that sticks out, the one part that raises the hair on the back of my neck is the dialogue after Regan's (Linda Blair) head turns around and faces backwards, as she confronts her mother (Ellen Burstyn): "Do you know what she did…your cunting daughter?"

Ben Huffman

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