The Exorcist (1973)

Does the Church have an official opinion on this movie?

I think one of the priest actors was actually a real-life Jesuit!

Sorry I don’t know the answer to your first question.:D:p

As a horror buff I do know the film was lauded by the Church. :)

Watch the interviews with the author on "World Over" on EWTN

Its one of Fr. Amorth's favorite movies.

Given his shining faith and scholarly approach, I hardly dare ask him whether he has seen the notorious 1973 horror film, The Exorcist. It turns out to be his favourite film. "Of course, the special effects are exaggerated. but it is a good film, and substantially exact, based on a respectable novel which mirrored a true story."

The film is held to be so disturbing it has never been shown [until recently] on British terrestrial television and until last year could not even be rented from video shops. None the less, Father Amorth recommends it. "People need to know what we do."

freerepublic.com/focus/religion/1260364/posts

Here's my opinion: If I watch it, I can't sleep for days. Scary as you-know-what.
Still the scariest film I've ever seen. Remember the rumors that ambulances would be waiting outside movie theaters in case people in the audience had heart attacks?

And now, the hilarity:
My 12-year-old niece, a self-proclaimed horror film buff, watched it a few weeks ago...and she laughed her head off.
"The special effects look* sttuuuuupidddd!*" says she.

Man, we're getting old.

The Catholic Bishops Conference:* "Directed by William Friedkin, the movie is on shaky ground theologically and its special effects are horrific but the result is an exciting horror fantasy for those with strong stomachs. Its graphic violence, obscene references and foul language make it strictly adult fare. (A-IV) ® ( 1973 )*"
Source: old.usccb.org/movies/e/exorcistthe1974.shtml

Quite frankly, however, I have never found the movie to be scary, nor exciting, nor particularly entertaining. What’s so scary about a little girl’s head spinning around and spouting obscenities? It’s ridiculous. DaddyGirl’s niece sounds like a smart kid. :slight_smile:

I do think “Poltergeist”, e.g., is a much scarier movie, or even “The Entity,” both of which were also based on true stories.

[quote="DaddyGirl, post:6, topic:266384"]
Here's my opinion: If I watch it, I can't sleep for days. Scary as you-know-what.
Still the scariest film I've ever seen. Remember the rumors that ambulances would be waiting outside movie theaters in case people in the audience had heart attacks?

And now, the hilarity:
My 12-year-old niece, a self-proclaimed horror film buff, watched it a few weeks ago...and she laughed her head off.
"The special effects look* sttuuuuupidddd!*" says she.

Man, we're getting old.

[/quote]

I'm 29, and I don't get why some people laugh at The Exorcist. Sure, the special effects have dated somewhat (the head-turning looks especially phony), but not enough to overshadow the horrible subject matter. Demonic possession, child abuse... nothing to laugh about. Plus it's simply a very well-made movie (Friedkin had a lot of potential). A bit over-the-top, but then so are most films.

[quote="Mark_David, post:8, topic:266384"]
I'm 29, and I don't get why some people laugh at The Exorcist. Sure, the special effects have dated somewhat (the head-turning looks especially phony), but not enough to overshadow the horrible subject matter. Demonic possession, child abuse... nothing to laugh about. Plus it's simply a very well-made movie (Friedkin had a lot of potential). A bit over-the-top, but then so are most films.

[/quote]

I'm in that "some people" category, and yes, I do laugh at The Exorcist not to make light of demonic obsession or child abuse but because it's difficult to take the film seriously with such shoddy special effects - all the more shoddy by today's standards - and the notion of a priest losing faith - that has become a cliche. I cannot begin to count how many movies I have seen whose protagonist is a priest who's losing faith - so, yes, I laugh at The Exorcist and don't feel guilty about it in the least. Time caught up with the movie long ago.

Edited to add: And I thought "Martha Marcy May Marlene" was absolutely suspenseful to the point of "horror movie"-level scary (very much a film about cults and spiritual warfare), and that was with no 'special effects' whatsoever.

[quote="Mark_David, post:8, topic:266384"]
I'm 29, and I don't get why some people laugh at The Exorcist. Sure, the special effects have dated somewhat (the head-turning looks especially phony), but not enough to overshadow the horrible subject matter. Demonic possession, child abuse... nothing to laugh about. Plus it's simply a very well-made movie (Friedkin had a lot of potential). A bit over-the-top, but then so are most films.

[/quote]

Agreed

I went to St. Louis University in the early 80's and the rumor there was that the Exorcism(from the Exorcist movie) had accured there in Jesuit Hall(where the Seminarians and priests live) and that they had a floor closed off!! I never researched this film or its history as that was way before the internet!! And I never believed this rumor either.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose is good and of course has more up to date special effects and is based on a true story I believe.

[quote="Mark_David, post:8, topic:266384"]
I'm 29, and I don't get why some people laugh at The Exorcist. Sure, the special effects have dated somewhat (the head-turning looks especially phony), but not enough to overshadow the horrible subject matter. Demonic possession, child abuse... nothing to laugh about. Plus it's simply a very well-made movie (Friedkin had a lot of potential). A bit over-the-top, but then so are most films.

[/quote]

I was actually relieved that she laughed!
And that the horror of the film didn't have the same effect on her as it does on me!
The actor who plays the priest is totally fantastic.

(Child abuse? Where in the film is there child abuse?)

[quote="havana1, post:7, topic:266384"]
The Catholic Bishops Conference:* "Directed by William Friedkin, the movie is on shaky ground theologically and its special effects are horrific but the result is an exciting horror fantasy for those with strong stomachs. Its graphic violence, obscene references and foul language make it strictly adult fare. (A-IV) (R) ( 1973 )*"
Source: old.usccb.org/movies/e/exorcistthe1974.shtml

Quite frankly, however, I have never found the movie to be scary, nor exciting, nor particularly entertaining. What's so scary about a little girl's head spinning around and spouting obscenities? It's ridiculous. DaddyGirl's niece sounds like a smart kid. :)

I do think "Poltergeist", e.g., is a much scarier movie, or even "The Entity," both of which were also based on true stories.

[/quote]

Poltergeist is out there right up front in your face, not subtle.
I think some of the spine tingling of Exorcist comes from the discreet aspects and the below-the-surface dark violence. Exorcist has scenes with the emotionally wracked mother in sunglasses telling the priest in hushed tones as her final pea for help, "She killed Bart Daniels." (I don't remember the name but that's not important.) I remember the chill to think of that sweet smiling girl killing that big man with his head completely twisted around - something the detective tells the priest could not have happened from the fall. The little girl nearly twisted the man's head off and then threw him out the window, in other words. Now that is a terrifying thought.

We have that thought of her snapping a man's head nearly off each time the priest is talking with her - will she jump up and kill him or snapped his head off at any moment? That suspense is there and keeps tensions high.

So the violence that is alluded to in the film is one aspect that takes it several notches higher in white-knuckle suspense than Poltergeist (I never felt I would see or learn of death in Poltergeist - no suspense for that was there for me.) And Exorcist has many other subtleties to keep one's suspense senses tingling.

The film left off one interesting detail I saw on a show about the real case - at the time when a powerful loud voice was heard commanding the demon to leave by the priests on the case (not in the film either) , some priests praying (it was late at night) in a nearby church reported the entire dome inside the chapel lit up like day and they saw St. Michael filling the entire dome area in front of them, terrifying them before St. Michael disappeared before them.
God bless you.

It would be good to see a modern remake of the film--with some updates to the script. :-)

Yeah, that flick and The Exorcist hi the subject matter pretty directly. The way “The Entity” ends is particularly spooky.

[quote="DaddyGirl, post:12, topic:266384"]

(Child abuse? Where in the film is there child abuse?)

[/quote]

Well, the victim is a child, and she's physically abused by the demon (she's thrown about, stabs herself, etc). That's child abuse, regardless of who the perpetrator is.

[quote="havana1, post:9, topic:266384"]
I'm in that "some people" category, and yes, I do laugh at The Exorcist not to make light of demonic obsession or child abuse but because it's difficult to take the film seriously with such shoddy special effects - all the more shoddy by today's standards - and the notion of a priest losing faith - that has become a cliche. I cannot begin to count how many movies I have seen whose protagonist is a priest who's losing faith - so, yes, I laugh at The Exorcist and don't feel guilty about it in the least. Time caught up with the movie long ago.

[/quote]

Fair enough. Dated or not, it still works as a fiction for me; especially considering when it was made. I think many of the effects hold up too, like the levitation. Also, modern CGI looks very animated to me most of the time, so I'd argue the old vs new special effects point anyway.

[quote="havana1, post:9, topic:266384"]

Edited to add: And I thought "Martha Marcy May Marlene" was absolutely suspenseful to the point of "horror movie"-level scary (very much a film about cults and spiritual warfare), and that was with no 'special effects' whatsoever.

[/quote]

I'm looking forward to seeing that one. If only to see an Olsen sister who may have some talent.

I can't watch any of those movies. I get spooked by them and then I'm afraid to get up an go the kitchen for a glass of water. The Sixth Sense made me afraid to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, and because of zombie movies I refuse to go out to check on the horses late at night.

The Exorcist was the one that absolutely sent me over the edge and segments of that movie still swirl around in my head all these years later.

When I was little my older cousin took me to see Psycho and let me tell ya that one was very frightening for a kid. This was before movies were rated and anyone could get in. She's 72 now and thinks it is hysterical that I still remember how she made me swear to secrecy that she took me to see that movie. She always was a wild one and actually still is. :)

I love the movie, and the book is great, too. I know some people who were so disturbed by the book they couldn't finish reading it, although I felt the movie was scarier. The book was much more subtle.

As far as complaints about the special effects go: it's nearly 40 years old; cut it a little slack! They were ground-breaking for their time and still much better than some of what comes out today. Also, even though the "priest who lost his faith" is somewhat cliche now, it wasn't back then. I think sometimes you need to be able to read Romeo and Juliet and not say, "Man, that Shakespeare guy really ripped off West Side Story!"

[quote="DaddyGirl, post:6, topic:266384"]
Here's my opinion: If I watch it, I can't sleep for days. Scary as you-know-what.
Still the scariest film I've ever seen. Remember the rumors that ambulances would be waiting outside movie theaters in case people in the audience had heart attacks?

And now, the hilarity:
My 12-year-old niece, a self-proclaimed horror film buff, watched it a few weeks ago...and she laughed her head off.
"The special effects look* sttuuuuupidddd!*" says she.

Man, we're getting old.

[/quote]

When I was 17 I went to see this movie with my cousin....her husband had been effected by the movie so deeply he had to go to counseling.....so I was a little nervous.....I hadn't yet been "convinced" a Friend....was still attending Church of the Nazarene....movies were prohibited in the Nazarene church at that time...so I was throwing "caution to the wind" anyway by going......

The movie was "over the top".....I couldn't really see what was the big deal about all the people being effected.....it was a horror movie.....but so was "Night of the Living Dead" which I had watched on "Creature Features" late Friday night....NotLD creeped me out more than the "Exorcist".

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.