Monday, August 29, 2016

Linda Blair Week: The Exorcist

Felicitations my gentle readers. I have returned so you can all relax now. I know you how worry. This week I thought we would take glimpse into the many films starring the talent and lovely Linda Blair. With that, there will be horror, drama and some dark humor. So we need to go back to the famous and infamous director William Friedkin (The French Connection, Sorcerer, The Brink's Job, To Live and Die in L.A., 12 Angry Men, Rules of Engagement and Killer Joe) and writer and screen writer William Peter Blatty (A Shot in the Dark, What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?, The Great Bank Robbery, The Omega Man, The Exorcist, The Night Configuration and Exorcist III) which nominated for 10 Oscars and won 2. This is The Exorcist.

She is gonna kick our butts in limbo.

Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn of Act of Vengeance, Pack of Lies, Look Away, Hanna's War, Roommates, How to Make an American Quilt, The Wicker Man, and Big Love) is a single mother, actress and agnostic just wrapping up a scene in a movie while raising her 12 year-old daughter Regan (Linda Blair of The Sporting Club, Born Innocent, Airport 1975, Sweet Hostage, Roller Boogie, Chained Heat, Savage Streets, Grotesque, The Chilling, Repossessed, Sorceress and Scream) starts exhibiting strange behavior after using an Oujia board and contacting her imaginary friend Captain Howdy. Soon she knowledge of events prior to their happening causing Chris to seek out aid for her daughter through doctors, neurosurgeons and shrinks and no one can diagnose Regan as unhealthy or mentally incompetent.

Prior to these events, an amateur archeologist, historian and priest Father Merrin (Max Von Sydow of Through a Glass Darkly, The Greatest Story Ever Told, The Apple War, Voyage of the Damned, Footloose, Dreamscape, Dune, Flash Gordon, The Best Intentions, Needful Things and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim) is at a dig in Iraq he uncovers a statue of Pazuzu, a demon he once exorcised from many years ago and senses an omen of misfortune awaiting the world or even himself.

Hold still, Mr. Sydow.  We need this for the poster.

Chris goes out on the town for the night asking her friend Burke (Jack MacGowran of Tom Jones, Doctor Zhivago, The Fearless Vampire Killers, The Shadow of a Gunman, A Day at the Beach and The Exorcist) who in fact, dies by falling out of a window violently. This death is deemed accidental as Burke was a known alcoholic and boy that is the guy for my kid. Hey now all you need is a few crack whores and a loaded gun for the night's entertainment.  The cops of course snoop around and investigate after constant interviews with the police, Chris is met with Father Karras (The Exorcist, Vampire, The Henderson Monster, Monsignor, Toy Soldiers, The Ninth Configuration, Light of Day, Rudy and The Eternal) a priest and shrink who recently lost his mom and his faith develops a rapport with Chris and it is decided that Father Merrin will perform the exorcism. A daunting task taxing mentally and physically for both the priest and the child.

Can Regan be saved? Will faith return to Father Karras? Is Chris deciding God need be in her life?

With a budget of 12 million the flick is shot over Georgetown, Iraq and regions of New York managing to gross over 204.5 million dollars. With multiple endings, alternative takes and even the director's cut released in 2001, held extended footage of the spider walk of Regan walking backwards down the stairs, flash shots of the face of the demon and some examination scenes with one of the doctors.

What many people perceive as the theme song of The Exorcist, composer Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells brings an air of darkness and horror, refreshes the memories of this terrifying tale but seem to forget the gorgeous introduction of String Quartet No. 1 by composer Kyrzysztof Penderecki.

This film impacts on the faithful, the lapsed and the atheist. With the ghastly notion of a young child taken over by such evil and gruesome effects by Marcel Vercoutere and Rick Baker, it is no wonder this film's presence still haunts many. The lighting, the tone and musical cues bring an eerie reaction on a subconscious level. So if you need one hell of a scare, DO NOT let the kiddies watch this one...unless you need them to devote their lives to the church. Best scared straight story then.

Hmm I sense dread and foreboding.  Could be that burrito though.