Saturday, October 08, 2011

The Exorcist (1973) # 5

The Exorcist was a film that showed me that horror could be filled with terror, and the unexpected.  I saw this film at a relatively late age.  I was way too young when it first came out, but I had heard stories about the film.  Whether these stories were true it didn't really matter.  It fed the myth of the film in my mind, and when I finally saw it I was amazed at the artistry of the film.  From the direction to the cinematography the film "The Exorcist" is a film that deserves mention here.  Based on the William Peter Blatty's 1971 best-selling theological-horror novel of the same name the movie remains pretty faithful to the book.

Having seen the film later in life I did become obsessed about the cinematography of the film.  Owen Roizman was the cinematographer, and from the first shot to the last shot the film is a masterpiece in cinmatography.  I'm not going to say much more about the film because it's all been said before.  The Exorcist is the only horror film to be nominated for ten academy awards.  That is until Silence of the Lambs was nominated in 1991.  The Exorcist won two of the ten in best adapted screenplay and best sound.  I think it should have won more, but that's another story.

The film is a battle between good and the ultimate evil (the devil).  Maybe the film hits some sort of primordial reaction within us that makes us turn away in horror.  After all it is about the devil possessing a young little girl, and battling a priest who is questioning his faith.  I know for some the film is blasphemy, but again I think it goes back to that very primitive emotion within us all.  Like I said about "The Evil Dead" possession movies seem to strike a chord within a audience. 

I know my own perception of the film was that it was a "forbidden film".  That all the stories were true, and that the film was garbage, or cheap exploitation, but that's the myth.  When I did see it I saw it more as a good horror film about good and evil, and that good and evil weren't so black and white.  Our hero in the film has doubts, and a troubled past.  What he does in the end is a noble sacrifice.  When you really get right into the story of the film the movie is truly a classic.  From the music, to the cinematography, and even the direction of the actors are all well done.  It's a film that plays well today and will play well into the future.  I know even today when I hear the theme of the film it brings up goosebumps in me.

Why this film isn't number one or two is purely a personal reason, but it is a film that any true horror fan should watch.  If you doubt me in thinking that it is scary I dare you to see it alone at night by yourself.  I guarantee that after watching the film you'll think twice about turning off that light when you go to sleep.

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