Saturday, July 23, 2011

Twenty Things I Like about "The Exorcist"

In last Sunday's SundayReview, the New York Times published a welcome sight: a photograph of Linda Blair as the possessed girl Regan in The Exorcist. The photo accompanied an interesting article by Jason Zinoman, "The Critique of Pure Horror," but the photo itself was interesting, and reminded me of how much I like this movie. Without much effort, I can think of at least twenty things I like about The Exorcist:

1. Mercedes McCambridge's gravelly yet feminine voice as the demon
2. The scarred, puffy white makeup on Blair's face, with the green-colored eyes
3. Projectile vomit
4. Masturbating with a crucifix
5. Regan's head turning completely around

6. The black and white dogs fighting in the prologue in Northern Iraq
7. The Allman Brothers "Ramblin' Man" playing in the background in a bar scene
8. Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" theme tinkling mysteriously
9. The heroic priests
10. That very brief, almost subliminal, shot of a skull-faced woman interjected in the midst of Father Karras's dream
11. An angered Father Karras resorting to punching out the possessed Regan (this always got applause in the movie theater)
12. Regan's mother getting slapped in the face by the possessed Regan, with a resulting bruise
13. The hypnotizing psychiatrist getting his testicles crushed by Regan
14. The fallen leaves blowing through Georgetown
15. Kitty Winn understated but hot as Regan's mother's secretary
16. The entire rest of the principal cast, including Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Jason Miller, Max von Sydow, and Lee J. Cobb
17. Regan summoning a statue of the demon
18. Regan floating above her bed while the priests chant "The power of Christ compels you!"
19. The coda in which Regan kisses Father Dyer because she recognizes his clerical collar, and Father Dyer looks down the stairs where Father Karras got killed
20. The up-tempo music that accompanies the start of the closing credits

George Ochoa
Deformed and Destructive Beings: The Purpose of Horror Films

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