The Exorcist ★★★★

Ohhhhh man, The Exorcist. Could you even imagine a world where this wasn't created? Aside from being a bonafide horror classic (and some even say the best of all-time, but we all know how subjective that is), it's also single-handedly responsible for being the first horror film that really scared the shit out of most of us. I remember back when I was a horror-obsessed child and lived for stuff like Tales From the Crypt, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, and Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction - I couldn't get enough! My awesome mother always supported this interest and would tell me stories about the famous movie that gave her horrible nightmares as a child - yep, you guessed it - The Exorcist. Fast-forward a few years and I finally got a chance to catch it on television, I was maybe 12-years old or close to it. Anyway, even with the television editing, I pretty much watched the entire thing through my fingers and probably muted half of the film. I wasn't quite sure what I was watching, but I knew it felt fucking vile, shocking, and pure evil.

As I grew older (and still to this day), I find The Exorcist to be one of the most interesting films to revisit. How I respond to it seems to be a coin toss - on one side it makes me laugh and I find it kind of difficult to take seriously, but then on the flip-side, the pure evil still resonates and I feel like a trembling child again. What that tells me is this - first and foremost, it's objectively one of the greatest horror films ever made, even if only for its historical context in the overall history of film alone. The uproar that is caused upon its theatrical release is legendary and very seldom rivaled. Now, for the times that I find myself giggling throughout, I attribute that to one of two things - either a) I'm just in a rebellious grown-up mindset, or b) it's a natural defense mechanism because subconsciously I'm just not in the mood for that particular kind of evil. Either way, The Exorcist really kind of stands own its own, particularly because of Linda Blair's eerily-authentic and shocking performance. She truly makes the film what it is and I'm not sure it would have been as crazy had they found any other young actress. Obviously that's mere speculation, but my gut-feeling tells me otherwise. Also, Ellen Burstyn's performance shouldn’t go unmentioned. It's great! She does the perfect tightrope walk between a concerned mother and a person on the brink of losing it. That can't be an easy thing to pull off as a performer, and I'll be damned if she didn't do a flawless job.

My takeaway message from this particular viewing? The Exorcist is a seminal horror classic that simply can't be fucked with. Don't even try.

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