John's Horror Banana-nanza Episode Fourty-Two: The Exorcist

Clean up that blood and you'd make a fine edition to the circus.
Clean up that blood and you'd make a fine edition to the circus.

So is this the scariest movie of all time?

Well, there's a few things that factor into this decision. What do you believe in? When were you born? Did you see this movie without hearing about it, or were you warned? And in my opinion, most importantly, do cheesy special effects scare you?

The book was written by William Peter Blatty, and after reading it, I can see how people may have
been scared. But if you don't believe in God or the Devil or demons, this movie is well, Troma-esque.

The movie opens with Father Merrin wondering around Iraq. Eventually, he comes face to face with what appears to be an evil statue, perhaps the Devil. Off in the distance, dogs start fighting. It seems we're in for a rough battle.

Linda Blair plays Regan, who's mother hears banging in the attic. This eventually expands to Regan complaining that her bed is shaking. She goes in for a checkup and begins swearing and cursing out the doctors. They suggest Ritalin, but Regan wonders down during a party with her mother's film crew party, and pees on the floor claiming "You're gonna die up there."

Meanwhile Father Karras is having personal issues. His mother is in a bad neighborhood and heading towards the end of her life. While walking home he sees a homeless man who asks for change. Later,his uncle puts his mother in a cruddy hospital with crazies running amuck. She barely acknowledges him.

Also, someone puts a bloody penis and breasts on a statue in the church.

Ok. There's a lot more to this movie. I know everyone wants to know the plot but I'd ruin the movie for
you if I explained it. I'm going to recommend it, first of all. Secondly, I'm going to tell you, right now,why it's just not scary to me.

First of all, Regan's head-twisting scene is very visibly robotic. And very funny. The nasty words streaming out of Regan's mouth make me giggle. Maybe it's just because things have gotten far more foul in my time. The brief images of the "Devil" make him look like a pale dwarf with an overbite. Everyone knows the vomit is pea soup, not to mention that she basically vomits because she's being asked a question she can't answer, which I think is a cop out on her part.

And also, the ending is so ridiculously blah, I just can't call it satisfying, especially with the brilliant buildup and storytelling that got us there.

This movie is classic, don't get me wrong. The length they went to for realism, including putting refrigerators in the room to achieve the cold effect, is staggering, especially considering the CGI that would have been used to make such an effect nowadays. They certainly don't make movies like they used to, so to me, this movie is more entertaining than scary. It's wonderfully acted, the story is tight, and the character development is spot on.

It just doesn't scare me like it does other people.

A not-scary scene, but my favorite.

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