by Chris Lovato
Since it is Halloween month, we thought it would be fun to have new KRL writer, Chris Lovato, share with us in our Monday Movie Reviews some movies on his Halloween Must Watch Movie list. Feel free in the comments to share some of your own!
Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us of our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, and deliver us from evil.
Evil is never crueler when it wears the guise of a child, and if the quote (or title) didn’t give it away, yes. I’m talking about…The Exorcist.
Even if you’ve never seen the film, most people are familiar with it, mainly because of one little girl, Regan MacNeil or, as you may know her, “the little girl whose head spins around, and she pukes pea soup.” Even though it’s well-known, not many are familiar with the intricate story woven by William Friedkin.
When Chris MacNeil, a famous actress, lands a role in Washington, D.C., her daughter, Regan, seems to have trouble settling in. Regan makes imaginary friends with “Captain Howdy”, but after seemingly unexplainable events, Chris starts to suspect something more sinister. She calls on the help of Father Damien Karras, a priest struggling with his faith. When signs point to demonic possession, Father Lankester Merrin, another priest with a more personal connection to the evil plaguing the MacNeil house, steps in. What happens upon the attempted exorcism of the girl is better left told by the silver screen, however.
If you’re a fan of older cinema, you might recognize some of the stars of the film. Ellen Burstyn is Chris, and she immaculately transitions from relatively happy actress and mother to someone staring the Devil in the face of her own daughter. Max von Sydow is Father Merrin, and although his acting may seem stiff at times, you’ll love his character by the end. Jason Miller plays Father Karras with rough grace, but of course, Linda Blair blows audiences out of the water with her portrayal of Regan, the star of the movie. Even if you have a high tolerance for horror, possessed Regan will creep down the stairs backward; doing a crab walk, with head spun 180º and straight into your nightmares!
Aside from the amazing makeup that turned a little girl into a host for demonic forces, the special effects really sold the movie, from the jolting bed to the exorcism finale and the actors seem to turn into objects at the demon’s mercy as things go horribly, horribly wrong. When things start to indicate–to the audience at least–that Regan is indeed possessed, keep an eye out when Chris is walking through the house in the dark. You may see something that’ll give you the heebie-jeebies.
Many “Best Horror Movies of All Time” lists place The Exorcist close to the top, if not at the top, and for a very good reason. The film gave this reviewer the willies for a couple days. If you’re faint of heart (or stomach), I might recommend not watching it, but if you think you can make it through the Extended Director’s Cut, I’d highly recommend it. Make this the star of my Halloween Must Watch List, and watch it with the lights off…if you dare.
Plot 4.5/5 (It’s a bit slow to start, but worth sticking out the beginning)
Fear Factor 5/5