The Exorcist

The Exorcist ★★★★★

The Exorcist is one of the most powerfully compelling pieces of intense filmmaking. William Friedkin was in top form, & his use of every tool in the filmmaker's handbook is mind blowing. Here is a girl tied to a bed that is as intense as a great white shark, a child killer with razor bladed gloves, or an alien lifeform in the Antarctic. Regan is our little angel possessed by an evil spirit: her head spins around, she vomits green slime, she masturbates with a crucifix, & loves to levitate. So who are you gonna call? The man who once attempted to cheat death in The Seventh Seal- Max Von Sydow. The film includes one of the most evocative & memorable images in a horror film, with Max Von Sydow emerging from a taxi & standing, in silhouette, under a street lamp as he faces the house where his latest struggle with the Devil will transpire. & the spider walk scene where Linda Blair comes down the stairs, belly up, back arched on her hands & feet, is one of the most striking film images ever captured on the temporal lobes of my mind. Unforgettable. Ellen Burstyn is all emotion, you don't think for a second that she's acting. Von Sydow doesn't have much dialogue, but his character is expressed with every glance & every movement. Jason Miller reminded me of Rocky, & is wonderful as a man of God who is losing his faith. Of course, the standout is Linda Blair, who does the little girl thing perfectly & the demonic thing way too truly. The Exorcist almost feels like a documentary, very real. But the smoke machine & Max Von Sydow performing the climactic levitation reminded me I was watching a film that would change the face of horror & make no apology for it.

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