Critiquing of “The Exorcist”
Introduction to Film
Instructor Cicely Denean-Cobb
January 7, 2013
Critiquing of “The Exorcist”
The movie “The Exorcist” is one of the most classic horror movies ever known. It invokes man’s greatest most primal instinct “Fear”. This film has created a lot of controversy between the church and producer. The church saying that it is the work of the devil and that a demon lives in the film. While the producer says it is just a scary film. Either way there is no doubt that with the special effects and storyline this movie still remains one of the greatest scary movies of all time. The horror theme is created in many ways throughout this film. Both its form and content help create the perfect horror film. The film uses both physical and physiological horror and it does not fail to scare those who watch it in many ways. This film creates horror using the oppositions of Good vs. Evil. The good would be considered all those who try and help young Regan from the possession and being killed. The mother takes Regan to tons of doctors to figure out what is wrong with her but to no avail. The priests are the main symbols of good in this film and turn out to be the true heroes. The evil is the devil or demon in this film. Regan’s role is a sweet innocent little girl that ends up being possessed. The devil or demon communicates through Regan and she cannot control her own actions. The conflict that this movie has in it between good and evil creates the horror. We sympathize with Regan because she is young, innocent, and helpless. We become scared for her, because we are unsure of what the outcome will be. The horror is created by using the helpless girl having all this bad stuff happening
to her. It was all created using the old scenario that’s been used many times, just not like this, Good vs. Evil. Another theme I noticed in the film was evil preys on the weak and innocent. Even though the people around Regan are the ones with the most sin and flaws, she ends up being the one possessed. Also there is a religious theme to it, although I’m not sure that the producer did not intend for that to happen. It could be a lesson to those that are weak in faith. Be wary those weak in faith or this could happen to you. While researching this film I found that it was based off an actual event that happened to a little boy back in 1949. The movie was then adapted from a book by William Peter Blatty released in 1971. William Peter Blatty himself became the producer of the film. The special effects that went into making “The Exorcist” were considered ground breaking at the time of the film’s production. They did not have the equipment or computer technology that we do today so they used whatever they could find. Some of the most memorable scenes from the movie are the shaking of the bed, the nasty pea soup vomiting scene, the 360 degree turning of Regan’s head, the spider walk down the stairs, the breaths being seen in the frigid air, the levitation, to the movements of objects and furniture. One of the scariest scenes was when the words “Help Me” were dug into Regan’s stomach from the inside. All these scenes helped make this a scary movie masterpiece. They achieved all of this by using different means. The shacking of the bed was created by making a bed out of steel tubing, because of all the beating it was going to get throughout the film. To get the bed to move and rock there was a beam that went from the back of the head board and through the wall behind it. It had counter weights on either side and was then lifted up and pulled back down simultaneously on either side to cause it to rock. The pea soup vomiting scene is one that most people know and it is hard to forget. Dick Smith the Special Effect Artist for the film said, “The pea soup vomit was the most difficult effect to achieve in the entire film” (Enk, 2010). Smith rigged Linda Blair’s stunt double Eileen...
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