The Unreliable Narrators Watch… The Exorcist

The Exorcist (1973)

Editor’s Note: Possible spoilers ahead

Welcome to the inaugural issue of “The Unreliable Narrators Watch…” with your hosts, the Unreliable Narrators. This week, we’re settling in with William Friedkin’s gory, unsettling classic, The Exorcist.

To begin, as they say, at the end, we’ll start with our final impressions of the film. Those of you interested in our thoughts about the rest of the movie will find the (nearly complete) transcript of our Slack discussion after the jump.

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:

Chris
Cath
Chia
George
and introducing: Morris

george_galuschak 10:14 PM i think it’s an effective movie

chris 10:15 PM full props, though, it still is disturbing. even if it doesn’t make much sense

george_galuschak 10:15 PM well, it depends on whether you want everything explained

cathschaffstump 10:15 PM I don’t think that’s it at all.

george_galuschak 10:16 PM for me, the plot holds together. this isn’t linear storytelling

((Editor’s Note: George is wrong. It is linear storytelling))

((Second Editor’s Note: George wrote the previous Editor’s Note. Chia isn’t convinced that George is wrong.))

chris 10:16 PM well, I think it was deliberately structured with all the red herrings

cathschaffstump 10:16 PM I think that it has a lot of characters that don’t need to be there, and a lot of connections that aren’t made because the author edited the original story, but perhaps not in an effective way.

cathschaffstump 10:16 PM I don’t want everything explained. I am down with ambiguity.

chris 10:16 PM yeah the inspector added nothing, other than make us wonder about his behavior

chialynn 10:17 PM I can’t be sure how many of those connections I would have made if I hadn’t read the book (even if I don’t remember much of it).

cathschaffstump 10:17 PM But I do like knowing where the arcs are.

george_galuschak 10:17 PM not sure if this is the theatrical cut

chris 10:17 PM yeah I wonder if the director’s cut clears things up, or is just grosser

chialynn 10:17 PM It’s about an extra 10 or 20 minutes?

chris 10:17 PM I remember the crab walking so I must have seen it at some point

cathschaffstump 10:17 PM That was missing, wasn’t it? I remember that too.

george_galuschak 10:17 PM they cut lots of stuff from the book

cathschaffstump 10:18 PM So, in many cases, the book is better than the movie. Kind of a conventional wisdom.

chris 10:18 PM I think maybe people who have read the book are happier with the movie because they can fill in the gaps?

george_galuschak 10:19 PM most of the movie’s shitty dialogue is from the book, so not really to the book being better, yes to filling in the gaps

chialynn 10:19 PM I like the cuts from what’s happening with Regan and her mom to what’s happening with the priest and his mom.

chris 10:19 PM I wonder why they cut that out

cathschaffstump 10:19 PM That is a nice parallelism.

chris 10:20 PM Exorcist is good, and holds up well after all this time. It could just make more sense, I think

chialynn 10:21 PM Excellent performances.

george_galuschak 10:21 PM effective at what it does

cathschaffstump 10:21 PM I’m gonna give it horror movie props. Good special effects, some good acting, Karras for the win.

Chialynn 7:59 PM Exorcist!

cathschaffstump 7:59 PM Exorcist!

chris 7:59 PM Exorcist!

george_galuschak 7:59 PM Exorcist!

chialynn 8:01 PM “A William Friedkin Film.”

chialynn 8:01 PM Creepy music is creepy.

chris 8:02 PM ominous music uh oh, chanting

george_galuschak 8:02 PM Iraq! Northern Iraq, excuse me

cathschaffstump 8:02 PM That lettering is really, really red.

george_galuschak 8:03 PM Hey, it’s Max van Syndow!

chris 8:03 PM pre-Bushes, when “Iraq” was code for “some distant, exotic place”

chialynn 8:04 PM Well, we couldn’t have a home-grown demon.

george_galuschak 8:04 PM don’t stick your hand in there!!! Never mind, false alarm

chialynn 8:04 PM That is a bellydance coin. I’ve got a plastic bag full of them.
Nitroglycerin tablets!

chris 8:05 PM where’s Indy?

chialynn 8:06 PM Letting us know he’s old and shaky and worried.

chris 8:06 PM of course he’s worried. he’s played chess with death.

chialynn 8:06 PM Also, Max von Sydow has been ancient for 40 years.

chris 8:07 PM and awesome for, like, 80

george_galuschak 8:07 PM the clock stopped! Omens and portents

chris 8:10 PM He leaves Iraq. The end?

(the expurgated version)

george_galuschak 8:10 PM fighting dogs! this soundtrack is freaky

chialynn 8:11 PM That buzzing noise reminds me of the flies in Amityville Horror.

george_galuschak 8:11 PM hey, it’ s my town!

chialynn 8:11 PM Georgetown! Is that your house they’re zooming in on?

george_galuschak 8:12 PM probably not

chialynn 8:12 PM “Either this wallpaper goes, or I do.”

chris 8:12 PM Holy maracas, Ellen Burstyn looks downright young

chialynn 8:12 PM Seriously, that is some noisy wallpaper.

george_galuschak 8:12 PM it’s the 70’s!

chialynn 8:13 PM Moral: never leave your children’s windows open, they’ll be possessed by ancient Mesopotamian evil.

george_galuschak 8:13 PM ‘clean rats’

cathschaffstump 8:14 PM Rats, indeed.

chris 8:16 PM Piano music is never a good sign in these movies

chialynn 8:17 PM Billowy nuns, too.

chris 8:17 PM I get that little musical cue and the Halloween theme mixed up, sometimes

cathschaffstump 8:17 PM It also sounds a little like the Omen.

george_galuschak 8:19 PM wouldya help an old altar boy, Faddah?

chialynn 8:19 PM He reminds me of Tom Waits as Renfield.

cathschaffstump 8:20 PM !Teehee! Man, just DON’T play with Ouija boards.

chialynn 8:23 PM Really don’t play with Ouija boards you just found somewhere.

cathschaffstump 8:24 PM Yes. Random Ouija boards are much, much worse

chris 8:25 PM Rags?

((Editor’s note: Rags is Regan’s nickname))

george_galuschak 8:27 PM priests at bars! honky tonk bars

cathschaffstump 8:27 PM Priest subplot=I am a bad son.

chialynn 8:28 PM ‘70s movies, with their awesome character-development subplots. Divorced parents, Ouija board… This poor child never had a chance.

chris 8:29 PM No horse

george_galuschak 8:29 PM it’s because she didn’t buy her a horse

chialynn 8:29 PM Definitely.

chialynn 8:29 PM “All because of a pony that her parents wouldn’t buy.”

cathschaffstump 8:29 PM That’s another take away, for sure. Buy your child a horse! Protect them from Satan.

george_galuschak 8:30 PM do those rats have chainsaws? jeez, they’re loud

chialynn 8:30 PM I’d expect that sort of thing in New York, but DC?

chialynn 8:30 PM Why is she taking a candle to the attic? There are electric lights on in the hall, so the power’s not out…

chris 8:31 PM she doesn’t really want to see the rats

chialynn 8:31 PM I’m going up to the attic to face chainsaw-wielding rats, I’m taking a heavy flashlight with me. And maybe a blowtorch. Or, like Karl’s flashlight. I’m also firing Karl for scaring the shit out of me.

cathschaffstump 8:32 PM For whom the bells tolls. It tolls for thee.

george_galuschak 8:32 PM oh,  ick

chialynn 8:32 PM Oh, yeah. That wasn’t in the version I’ve seen.

chris 8:33 PM is this version missing the really bad Jesus stuff?

chialynn 8:33 PM We’ll find out…

george_galuschak 8:34 PM wow, uncle whiskey is really a prick

chris 8:34 PM braaaains

cathschaffstump 8:36 PM And when priests are upset, they box!

chris 8:36 PM getting a Daredevil vibe here

chialynn 8:36 PM Man, does anyone in this poor guy’s family approve of his vocation?

chris 8:36 PM alien pubic hair?

george_galuschak 8:36 PM drunk director is drunk

chris 8:37 PM He looks like Rowan Atkinson. Let go of Mr. bean!

cathschaffstump 8:38 PM You have to be just that drunk to wear that hat.

chialynn 8:39 PM I’m really glad she mentioned that the drunk director’s driver was waiting for him.

chris 8:39 PM Just as long as the blotto guy makes it outside, we’re good!

george_galuschak 8:39 PM that guy is an astronaut

chris 8:39 PM ah, yer right. Steve Austin

chialynn 8:40 PM Awkward: When your tween daughter pees on the rug and tells your guest he’s going to die.

chris 8:40 PM Worst party ever. The poor maid has no idea of the cleanup to come

chialynn 8:40 PM “You just take your pills and you’ll be fine.”

cathschaffstump 8:41 PM Sounds like an attack of the “nerves.”

chialynn 8:41 PM I think the bed is having an attack of nerves.

george_galuschak 8:41 PM the bed seems to be shaking…

chialynn 8:41 PM It’s as jittery as Max von Sydow was at the beginning.

george_galuschak 8:44 PM wow, the doctor smokes, also

cathschaffstump 8:44 PM This would all be so avoided if you could just put Linda Blair on Ritalin.Which is why we seldom have possession movies in the 21st century.

chris 8:45 PM that would be a good one, actually. A highly medicated Satan

chialynn 8:45 PM It’s interesting, watching this after reading A Head Full of Ghosts.

george_galuschak 8:45 PM yeah

chris 8:45 PM social media changes all of this

chialynn 8:46 PM People on Facebook asking if Regan’s been vaccinated…

chris 8:47 PM Thanks, Obama

chialynn 8:47 PM “Don’t move while I stick this harpoon in your neck.”

cathschaffstump 8:48 PM Torturing children…always good for cinema. Look at the blood! Yes!

chialynn 8:48 PM Are they letting the bad humors out?

chris 8:48 PM I hear leeches are better for that

george_galuschak 8:48 PM and…there’s no lesion

cathschaffstump 8:48 PM Who needs a demon? This shit is scary enough.

chris 8:49 PM amen

chialynn 8:49 PM I had a CAT scan once. Nobody stuck a needle in my neck.

cathschaffstump 8:49 PM Well, fuck. Nothing. Let’s go again.

cathschaffstump 8:50 PM And here we go…

chris 8:52 PM I like that the mother is the sensible one

cathschaffstump 8:52 PM Even though she’s screaming, mind. Let’s torture the kid medically some more!

chialynn 8:53 PM “Arteriograms.” Maybe that accounts for the neck spike.

george_galuschak 8:53 PM ‘keep any drugs in your house?’

cathschaffstump 8:53 PM Is your daughter on DRUGS???

chialynn 8:53 PM “Are you sure you don’t have any drugs in your house?”

chris 8:54 PM “I don’t even smoke grass.” ’70s clarification

chialynn 8:54 PM Jeeze, dude, just come out and say “You’re a bad mother, and you’ve broken your daughter.”

cathschaffstump 8:54 PM Mom is wearing a scarf. So distraught she has no time to do her hair. Seriously. Movie language.

george_galuschak 8:55 PM lights aren’t working

cathschaffstump 8:55 PM Demons mess with your electricity and your phone.

chris 8:55 PM always with the lights

chialynn 8:55 PM So much. And the heat. Always opening windows and turning off the heat, demons.

chris 8:56 PM Time for Thorazine!

chialynn 8:56 PM “We have to start looking for a shrink.” Like that’s worse than letting people spike your daughter’s neck.

chris 8:57 PM We’re in all the magazines, Gulping down thorazines

george_galuschak 8:57 PM hypnosis

cathschaffstump 8:57 PM Do not taunt the demon.

chialynn 8:58 PM This psychiatrist is asking very leading questions.

cathschaffstump 8:58 PM Proto Frazier Crane

chialynn 8:58 PM Psychia-hypnotist.

chris 8:58 PM he hypontized Satan!

george_galuschak 8:59 PM ouch. i guess satan wasn’t really hypnotized

chialynn 9:00 PM The actress who voiced the demon chain-smoked and drank raw eggs and whiskey to roughen her voice.

chialynn 9:00 PM And Friedkin apparently tied her to a chair so she’d sound like she was struggling.

cathschaffstump 9:00 PM Sounds like a great acting gig.

Cathschaffstump 9:00 PM Oooooohhhhhh. EXPOSITION.

chris 9:01 PM As you know, Demmie

cathschaffstump 9:02 PM Heads often rotate in falls down stairs. “A witchcraft kind of murder.” What the hell is that, exactly? I mean, demonic, sure.

cathschaffstump 9:02 PM So. Got any sick witch like people in your church?

chialynn 9:02 PM He’s drawing some very reachy connections here. “A few weird things have happened, and obviously witches.”

cathschaffstump 9:03 PM I think you know. I think you might be obstructing justice.

chialynn 9:03 PM “Wanna go to a movie with me?”

chris 9:04 PM Grouch Marx was Othello?

cathschaffstump 9:04 PM Okay. So. William Peter Blatty, I gotta say something about your screen writing. Yeah. It’s really…um…non sequitur.

chialynn 9:04 PM “His body.”

chialynn 9:05 PM The man is literally talking about something happening to a little girl, and he’s going to use “he” to describe it.

cathschaffstump 9:05 PM Sexism. SEXISM. sexism. (sexism).

chialynn 9:05 PM Exorsexism.

cathschaffstump 9:06 PM Exorcism=placebo. Got it.

chialynn 9:06 PM But we just established that she isn’t religious. So how’s the placebo effect gonna work here?

cathschaffstump 9:07 PM There’s that movie watching guy.

george_galuschak 9:07 PM he’s based on the inspector from crime & punishment

cathschaffstump 9:07 PM Really?

george_galuschak 9:08 PM yeah

cathschaffstump 9:08 PM I’ve read Crime and Punishment.

chialynn 9:08 PM There’s another book I need to re-read.

george_galuschak 9:08 PM the guy talks a lot. it’s a smokescreen

cathschaffstump 9:08 PM That is true.

george_galuschak 9:08 PM columbo is also based on that inspector

chialynn 9:09 PM “One more thing.”

cathschaffstump 9:09 PM Columbo is a good imitation.

chris 9:09 PM Columbo in this movie would have been awesome

cathschaffstump 9:09 PM Groucho Marx was not Othello.  Debate Fact Check.

chialynn 9:09 PM “A draft in the fall when the house is hot…” He knows about demons and their thing for opening windows.

chris 9:11 PM someone fell out the window?

george_galuschak 9:13 PM he asks for her autograph

chris 9:13 PM I really hate to ask you this but… would you like to go to the movies?

cathschaffstump 9:13 PM Even though I’m on a murder investigation, your daughter is in crisis, and this is wildly inappropriate, I’d like your autograph, okay?

chialynn 9:13 PM “Now will you help me put my coat on?” This isn’t at all creepy, I swear.

chris 9:14 PM Is this what ’70s flirting was like “You’re a nice lady.” “You’re a nice man.”

chialynn 9:15 PM Oh, there’s the crucifix.

cathschaffstump 9:15 PM Yeah.  Bring it, demon scum.

cathschaffstump 9:15 PM Oh, sorry.

cathschaffstump 9:15 PM Furniture attack.

chialynn 9:15 PM Wicked drafts.

george_galuschak 9:16 PM did they show that part in the movie?

chris 9:16 PM That would be traumatic

cathschaffstump 9:16 PM I am sure that this movie scared the shit out of many parents.

chialynn 9:16 PM She and the priest are both wearing dark blue. Tying them together thematically.

cathschaffstump 9:17 PM it’s a cold day because now the priest is wearing socks.

cathschaffstump 9:18 PM “So,” she said, smoothly, “how do you get an exorcism?”

chialynn 9:18 PM She ground out her cigarette, and now she has another one.

cathschaffstump 9:18 PM It’s the 70s, Chia. Cigarettes are automatic.

chialynn 9:18 PM They spring fully-formed from the fingers.

cathschaffstump 9:18 PM Yup.

cathschaffstump 9:19 PM “Possessed by a demon, or whatever.”

chris 9:19 PM I have this friend…

chialynn 9:19 PM “But the shrinks said you could just do an exorcism and that would fix it.”

cathschaffstump 9:19 PM Jesus Christ, she said to the priest. Nice.

george_galuschak 9:20 PM he doesn’t believe in exorcism. no faith

chris 9:20 PM lol

chialynn 9:20 PM I remember that from the book, George.

cathschaffstump 9:20 PM Against his better judgment, the priest ascends to the girl’s room.

chialynn 9:20 PM Well, Regan’s turned several very strange colors since we saw her last.

cathschaffstump 9:21 PM With us? You mean it’s a party?

chialynn 9:21 PM “We are Legion.”

george_galuschak 9:21 PM pea soup

chialynn 9:22 PM So much pea soup.

cathschaffstump 9:23 PM I think Nickelodeon slime.

chris 9:23 PM I don’t think I’d want that shirt back, washed or no

george_galuschak 9:23 PM yes, time for the laundry bin

chialynn 9:23 PM She didn’t iron it very well, but I guess she’s a bit distracted.

cathschaffstump 9:25 PM I have always thought communion wafers taste like wax. Transubstantiation not withstanding.

chris 9:26 PM someone is getting gipped on their wafer

george_galuschak 9:26 PM the soundtrack is creepy

cathschaffstump 9:26 PM We protestants like our grape juice in tiny little glasses.

george_galuschak 9:26 PM the breathing

cathschaffstump 9:27 PM We demons just don’t open drawers for anyone.

chialynn 9:27 PM “You speak Latin.”

chialynn 9:27 PM “Obviously.”

cathschaffstump 9:27 PM Well, you know, everyone does.

chris 9:28 PM go Mercedes McCambridge

chialynn 9:28 PM Backward speaking!

george_galuschak 9:30 PM it’s not really holy water! he’s a tricky priest

chris 9:30 PM Wouldn’t Satan know?

cathschaffstump 9:30 PM Tatuskete!! Help! in Japanese.

chris 9:31 PM igpay atinlay

cathschaffstump 9:33 PM Oh yeah. The creepy tummy writing. I remember that.

chris 9:33 PM chestburster

cathschaffstump 9:33 PM I am not convinced it is genuine, but hey, it hits all the exorcism buttons.

george_galuschak 9:33 PM kiss the hand

cathschaffstump 9:34 PM Well, okay. Let me get you a hardcore exorcist to help.

george_galuschak 9:34 PM ‘he has no faith, so what’s the harm in him helping? What’s the worst that could happen?’

cathschaffstump 9:34 PM Would you hire a fat gym teacher? An English teacher who can’t spell? An exorcist with no faith?

chialynn 9:35 PM “He’s still running around digging up tombs.” Like Lara Croft. Only older, and not as bosomy.

cathschaffstump 9:36 PM Setting the mood for a movie trailer that will haunt you almost 40 years later…fog!

chialynn 9:36 PM The lighting on her eyes is truly spooky.

cathschaffstump 9:36 PM Max Von Sydow is here to kick your ass. You’d best scream like a girly demon.

chris 9:36 PM surplices!

george_galuschak 9:37 PM see, now, this guy has faith

cathschaffstump 9:37 PM My heart is just not in my embroidery tonight.

cathschaffstump 9:38 PM And…we’re in. Max Von Sydow pulls out the real Holy water.

chris 9:38 PM from the Tigris!

cathschaffstump 9:39 PM The powerful stuff.

george_galuschak 9:39 PM father karras is distracted

cathschaffstump 9:39 PM This is why exorcists should wear glasses. Spittle.

chris 9:39 PM like a salad bar shield

cathschaffstump 9:39 PM Sneeze guard.

chris 9:40 PM insult of the century

chialynn 9:40 PM This demon is very concerned about the sex lives of mothers.

cathschaffstump 9:40 PM Hey. That’s a parquet wood floor. Ooh…nice.

george_galuschak 9:40 PM the noises she’s making are disturbing my cat

chialynn 9:40 PM Morris knows demons.

george_galuschak 9:41 PM father karras is scared shitless

cathschaffstump 9:41 PM Just another day at the office for Max Von Sydow.

cathschaffstump 9:41 PM Maybe Father Karras will get his groove back?

chialynn 9:42 PM Nothing like a sudden, violent demonstration of the powers you’re not sure you believe in anymore.

chris 9:43 PM YOU SHALL NOT PASS

cathschaffstump 9:43 PM The head twist. Another iconic moment.

chialynn 9:43 PM Seriously, “fuck him,” “fuck her,” “fuck me.” This demon is obsessed.

george_galuschak 9:43 PM they need a bigger boat

chialynn 9:44 PM And bigger guns.

george_galuschak 9:44 PM she doesn’t cast a shadow

chialynn 9:44 PM Oh, wow. That’s a nice touch.

cathschaffstump 9:44 PM I agree.

chris 9:45 PM this must have been fun after the 50th take

cathschaffstump 9:45 PM Now she casts a shadow as she was lowering.

cathschaffstump 9:46 PM So, like, what’s this doing to the structure of the house?

george_galuschak 9:46 PM this scene goes on and on. it’s excruciating

cathschaffstump 9:46 PM Exorcism in real time, as opposed to today’s technique, the exorcism montage.

chialynn 9:47 PM Demon statue done up like the vandalized statue in the church.

george_galuschak 9:47 PM they look beat

cathschaffstump 9:47 PM “I hate my life.”

chris 9:47 PM Where’s the revelation that she’s his granddaughter? and he sent her the idol for christmas

george_galuschak 9:48 PM heart meds

chialynn 9:48 PM My grandfather had a pill case just like that. With his nitroglycerin tablets in it.

cathschaffstump 9:50 PM Pulling the old using mom’s voice trick. Dirty pool.

chris 9:50 PM Luke

cathschaffstump 9:50 PM Stay with me, junior priest. Okay. Back to the bench with you. Time for varsity exorcism.

chris 9:51 PM send away the intern

chialynn 9:51 PM A cold draft just blew across me from the open window, and it actually scared me a little.

george_galuschak 9:51 PM cccxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

chialynn 9:51 PM Morris? Is that you?

george_galuschak 9:51 PM sorry

cathschaffstump 9:53 PM Downstairs, no structural damage. Could this actually be…metaphysical?

chialynn 9:53 PM “Is it over? Is she going to die?”

chris 9:53 PM Steely resolve, found!

chialynn 9:53 PM “No.”

chialynn 9:53 PM Is that no it’s not over, or no she isn’t going to die?

chris 9:53 PM hah

chialynn 9:54 PM That isn’t CPR, Father. That’s just beating the crap out of an old man.

cathschaffstump 9:54 PM Whoops. Heart attack. In the middle of an exorcism. How embarrassing.

chris 9:54 PM guess who just got a promotion

cathschaffstump 9:54 PM Not your smartest idea.

cathschaffstump 9:54 PM Oh, the irony.

chris 9:55 PM That window.

chialynn 9:55 PM Those stairs.

george_galuschak 9:55 PM she pulled off the medallion like in his dream

chialynn 9:55 PM We gotta get a safety railing put in or something.

chris 9:55 PM Maybe they should have, you know, kept her in a downstairs room or something

cathschaffstump 9:56 PM MOVING!

chialynn 9:57 PM Going back to LA where nothing bad ever happens.

cathschaffstump 9:57 PM Nice furry hat.

cathschaffstump 9:58 PM Sad priest friend.

chialynn 9:59 PM I think this could have used another half hour to smooth out the holes.

cathschaffstump 9:59 PM I think so too.

chris 9:59 PM bunch of characters who don’t really do much, like you’re supposed to guess who’s important

cathschaffstump 9:59 PM And…we’re out.

cathschaffstump 10:00 PM Nice ending theme. Thoughts?

chris 10:00 PM effective in terms of atmosphere. could have used fewer characters

cathschaffstump 10:00 PM Max Von Sydow makes everything classy.

chialynn 10:00 PM Yes, he does. Even utter crap, which this wasn’t.

george_galuschak 10:00 PM they couldn’t make this today. it wouldn’t get released

chris 10:01 PM I don’t remember it being so much about misdirection. It’s almost like the whole movie is structured to make you guess who will ultimately be important and who won’t

george_galuschak 10:02 PM first part is like a movie about a person who is mentally ill. And then it becomes another movie.

cathschaffstump 10:02 PM It really lacks definitive through arcs, except for Regan’s.

chris 10:02 PM Lots of characters that walk on, have backstories, don’t do anything

chialynn 10:02 PM I don’t know if that’s intentional. It just felt like there were things they had to cut from the book, and they didn’t patch the holes.

chialynn 10:03 PM So instead of removing or combining characters, they just show up and vanish right away.

cathschaffstump 10:02 PM That feels right.

chris 10:03 PM So… who is the titular exorcist? Karras, I guess

george_galuschak 10:03 PM no, it’s the old man. he’s on the cover

cathschaffstump 10:03 PM Although the young guy is the one who makes the change.

chris 10:03 PM but he doesn’t actually exorcise anything

cathschaffstump 10:03 PM By sucking up the demon and then plunging to his death. So, he’s protagging.

chris 10:04 PM yeah, he had to get past his guilt about his mother

chialynn 10:04 PM I think the first round of exorcism opened that gate, though.

chialynn 10:04 PM He wouldn’t have been able to do it if MvS hadn’t been there to help him.

chris 10:04 PM true, but MvS has the obi-wan role

george_galuschak 10:04 PM i think if you view this in the terms of drug or alcohol abuse this is a different movie

cathschaffstump 10:04 PM Why would you view this in terms of drug or alcohol abuse?

george_galuschak 10:05 PM nowadays she’d go to rehab. It taps into those fears. What are your kids on?

chris 10:05 PM it would definitely be different, because we don’t really have mental institutions any more

cathschaffstump 10:05 PM My kids are on DEMONS.

chris 10:06 PM Paul Tremblay is probably right, it would be a reality show

chris 10:06 PM is demonic possession a  pre-existing condition? she might not even be covered!

cathschaffstump 10:07 PM That doesn’t matter after Obamacare.

chialynn 10:07 PM That sexual fixation is very much tied to her being right on the cusp of puberty, too.

george_galuschak 10:07 PM i don’t think it would be shown today because of that

cathschaffstump 10:07 PM Yup. That’s the part I find the most objectionable.

chialynn 10:07 PM And the regression—peeing on the rug.

chris 10:07 PM no one really changes but Karras, even Regan. And Karras dies.

cathschaffstump 10:07 PM Yup.

chialynn 10:08 PM No, Regan doesn’t remember any of it, so no real consequences for her.

george_galuschak 10:08 PM the possessed’s soul isn’t harmed

chialynn 10:08 PM Except having to deal with her mother’s likely future breakdown.

chris 10:08 PM and it wasn’t even her, really

chialynn 10:08 PM As far as we know, Kris never did tell her ex what was going on.

cathschaffstump 10:08 PM No need for him to know now.

chris 10:09 PM Because no Facebook

george_galuschak 10:09 PM the violence in this movie is really very disturbing

george_galuschak 10:09 PM the medical procedures are awful

chris 10:09 PM that’s the interesting thing, the medical stuff is more disturbing than the demonic stuff, really

chialynn 10:10 PM Yeah, the only people who really abused her in the film were the doctors.

cathschaffstump 10:10 PM I agree, Chris. That stuff was terrifying.

george_galuschak 10:10 PM medieval torture – i guess they did that on purpose. They’re about as effective as leeches

chris 10:10 PM I have a hard time believing any hospital staff would be like, Go have an exorcism, just to make her feel better

chialynn 10:10 PM Nothing the priests did would have harmed Regan if she hadn’t been possessed.

cathschaffstump 10:10 PM And in the end, they didn’t harm her.

chialynn 10:11 PM No, but that cut opening on her leg when they brandished the wafer at her was disturbing.

george_galuschak 10:11 PM the violence is all familial, mostly. it’s also linked with sexuality

cathschaffstump 10:12 PM Which might be why the decision was made not to involve dad in that plot.

george_galuschak 10:12 PM in the book, the dad is the trigger. Her behavior starts changing after they can’t reach him for her birthday.

cathschaffstump 10:13 PM I’m thinking this is a poor adaptation.  We have no idea of that at all in this movie.

chris 10:13 PM I agree. It’s very effective on an atomospheric level, not so much story-wise. it’s kind of designed to make you forget the story and just freak out

cathschaffstump 10:13 PM I agree Chris. Lots of movies use that technique.

george_galuschak 10:14 PM i think it’s an effective movie

chris 10:15 PM full props, though, it still is disturbing. even if it doesn’t make much sense

george_galuschak 10:15 PM well, it depends on whether you want everything explained

cathschaffstump 10:15 PM I don’t think that’s it at all.

george_galuschak 10:16 PM for me, the plot holds together. this isn’t linear storytelling

((Editor’s Note: George is wrong. It is linear storytelling))

chris 10:16 PM well, I think it was deliberately structured with all the red herrings

cathschaffstump 10:16 PM I think that it has a lot of characters that don’t need to be there, and a lot of connections that aren’t made because the author edited the original story, but perhaps not in an effective way.

cathschaffstump 10:16 PM I don’t want everything explained. I am down with ambiguity.

chris 10:16 PM yeah the inspector added nothing, other than make us wonder about his behavior

chialynn 10:17 PM I can’t be sure how many of those connections I would have made if I hadn’t read the book (even if I don’t remember much of it).

cathschaffstump 10:17 PM But I do like knowing where the arcs are.

george_galuschak 10:17 PM not sure if this is the theatrical cut

chris 10:17 PM yeah I wonder if the director’s cut clears things up, or is just grosser

chialynn 10:17 PM It’s about an extra 10 or 20 minutes?

chris 10:17 PM I remember the crab walking so I must have seen it at some point

cathschaffstump 10:17 PM That was missing, wasn’t it? I remember that too.

george_galuschak 10:17 PM they cut lots of stuff from the book

cathschaffstump 10:18 PM So, in many cases, the book is better than the movie. Kind of a conventional wisdom.

chris 10:18 PM I think maybe people who have read the book are happier with the movie because they can fill in the gaps?

george_galuschak 10:19 PM most of the movie’s shitty dialogue is from the book, so not really to the book being better, yes to filling in the gaps

chialynn 10:19 PM I like the cuts from what’s happening with Regan and her mom to what’s happening with the priest and his mom.

chris 10:19 PM I wonder why they cut that out

cathschaffstump 10:19 PM That is a nice parallelism.

chris 10:20 PM Exorcist is good, and holds up well after all this time. It could just make more sense, I think

chialynn 10:21 PM Excellent performances.

george_galuschak 10:21 PM effective at what it does

cathschaffstump 10:21 PM I’m gonna give it horror movie props. Good special effects, some good acting, Karras for the win.

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