RE: Driven to Father Buckman
No movie has ever come close to creating the personal terror I felt after seeing -- and becoming obsessed with -- The Exorcist.
I was only three years old when the film was released in theaters, so the first time I saw it was when it was broadcast on network television. I can't remember exactly how old I was, exactly, but I must have been around eight or ten. The memories of that first viewing are surprisingly vague, actually. The one moment I remember is when Regan sits up and growls, "Keep away! The sow is mine!" I remember it because my mom looked over at me and asked, "Are you going to be okay?" That, in itself, stunned me a bit because I'd never been prone to nightmares, nor had I scared very easily.
But that was about to change. At the time, I was a fairly devout Catholic boy, going to catechism classes every Saturday. I had night after night of nightmares, dreaming that Pazuzu had left Karras after his death and was coming after me. That is, when I could get to sleep at all, which was quite a task in itself. Every little sound, every creak in the house, became a telltale sign that the demon was there, watching, waiting for a ripe moment to attack.
After about ten days of this, waking up screaming and drenched in sweat, I called out for my mom and told her that I needed to see my favorite priest, Father Buckman. I didn't know what I'd say, or how I'd say it, but I just *had* to see him before I lost my sanity altogether. She refused to take me to see him for a special visit, but I managed to visit with him briefly one Sunday after mass. He did his best to convince me that what I'd seen was simply a Hollywood exaggeration of the reality, and that I was in no danger of becoming possessed, but it fell on deaf ears. Suddenly, it seemed to hit him that there was only one way to put me at ease, and he gave me a personal blessing. That helped immensely, and though I was still wary for years, you could say that Father Buckman exorcised my fears.
Years later, I was rummaging around in a bookshelf at home, and came across the paperback edition of William Peter Blatty's original novel. Though I was too old (and rapidly losing faith in Catholicism) to become afraid that I could actually be possessed, I read and became obsessed with the book. For those of you who haven't taken the time to read it, I strongly suggest that you do -- it's even more powerful than the film, if you can believe that. I read it many times over, simply unable to put it down.One day, I came home from school and couldn't find the book. I asked my mother about it, and she said she hadn't seen it, then asked why I'd want to read the same old thing over again. I never found the book, and my mom denies ever hiding it or throwing it away to this day. I can imagine plenty of reasons for her to tell me a "little white lie" back then if she'd finally thrown the book out, but there'd be no reason for her to keep up that pretense today. Everyone else in the family similarly denied seeing or discarding the book, and its disappearance remains a mystery to me.
So, salutations to all who have been profoundly frightened or disturbed by the book or the film. We share a common emotional experience. It's this impact, this ability to truly *involve* you, that makes The Exorcist a standout and a classic in its genre.
May the Power of Christ compel you,
RE: The Excorcist
I am 24 years old and I probably saw the movie when I was around 10 years old - at a friends house where I wasn't supposed to be. My mother knew how weak I was with horror movies, so she kept a close eye on what I watched. Needless to say the movie ruined me to this day. I had recurring nightmares for years after and could not hear the creepy "Tubular Bells" anywhere without totally freaking out. Once I was watching "Charlies Angels" and Mercedes McAmbridge was a guest star. Well I had no idea who she was - until I heard her! It was THE voice, and I could not stand it. It penetrated through me like a knife. I had to share a room with my mother up until the age of 18 and it still didn't help. I would end up in bed with her quite often because every time I closed my eyes, I would hear the music and see Regan's head going around. I could not shake it. When I was 16, we went to LA and went to the Movieland Wax Museum. It had a chamber of horrors and I reluctantly went in. It had the usual Dracula, Frankenstein and such and I was enjoying it. But then, the exhibits started to get more modern like Freddy and Jason and Tex. Chainsaw, and I started to get a very uneasy quiver in my gut. I already knew what was ahead, but could not turn back. As I turned a corner there was a shower stall with Anthony Perkins popping out at you, which made me laugh and I felt better. Then, to the next right was a bedroom scene and wind blowing and furniture moving and "Tubular bells" and there she was glaring at me with those awful eyes and then to my horror, her head turned completely around and I was never so completely and utterly terrified in all of my life. I'm suprised I didn't pee myself and "die upthere". Granted, it was a wax imitation and it didn't look EXACTLY like her, but to be in a room with the representation of everything that ever horrified you - I believed it was evil and I ran out of there. Now that I am married, I have forced my self to watch it in daylight to learn to cope with the sight of her, because I know my man will be right there beside me if my mind starts to wander. But after reading all of this info on your sight, I realize that I was not alone in the terror-filled childhood I faced for so many years. Maybe i have finally "cast her out". Thank You
RE: Feelings on The Exorcist
I have seen this incredibly tense, stomach-twisting film twice, once in the cinema, then on video. I think one its most compelling attributes is the fact that it has been hyped so much, but when you do go and see it, it IS everything you though it would be. Claustrophobic, atmospheric, uncomfortable, grimy, there are so many adjectives one could use.
The feeling which struck me the most is how religious people would react to the film. Although not religious myself, I can only begin to imagine how a deeply religious person would view the film, the way it challenges deeply-rooted beliefs and faith.
Who wins, good or evil? Well, the devil does not take Regan, but the priest doesn't banish the devil either - he only passes it onto himself, then kills himself as a last resort. So who wins? And what is to stop the devil from picking another victim and causing more death?
And what makes it such a scary film? Is it the fact that the devil could possess anyone, so no-one is safe and has control over their lives? Or is it that the film takes religion and shows how easily it can be rendered powerless?
All I do know is that The Exorcist is easily the scariest film I have ever seen, and I defy anyone to watch it straight through, alone, with the lights out! I dare you!
Thanks for listening,
RE: Who wins? Good or Evil?
As I read the posts on this site (excellent site by the way!), I came across a post that answered your question on who wins --either good or evil? Well, interestingly enough, the person answered her opinion and stating that good wins. Good answer. But, as "felt" from the movie, you can realize while watching it that both sides share the winnings. Otherwise, how can Good win without the initial catalyst of Evil? The dark, evil (demonic if you will) content of the film sparks a debate within each of us to always check on our stance on our respective faith, especially if you're Christian. In other words, how can Good exist within us without a reason? How can "B" exist without "A"? How can an apple exist without an apple tree? See the connection? Personally, "The Exorcist" is by far the best horror film to date. This film gives Christianity a more pronounced existence on this world (if your personal decicion is that Good wins overall) and that Good can exist within all of us. Sure, there's the little "trauma factor" involved, but it is good. After watching the film so many times, it feels good because I can check with my pesonal religion every few years...just to see where I stand and what I think. But for some reason, I always have a different view on the film and its meaning every time I watch it.
RE: An Exorcist newbie crumbles
Hello all! I recently had the pleasure of turning a friend of mine on to the nightmare-generator of a movie that we all know and love. Probably the best part about it was the fact that he was SOOO SURE that it was going to be a B-grade schlock of a horror film. He was saying things like, "Oh, how scary can it be. It was released in '73" and "I'm sure the special effects are gonna be lousy." Well, by the end of the movie, he was turning on lights and telling us (in no uncertain terms) "I DON'T EVER WANT TO SEE THAT AGAIN!!!" In a word, he was petrified. HA! I've seen "The Exorcist" probably 100 times. It is quite possibly my favorite movie EVER. To this day, the reverse english scene still tingles my neck hairs. I can't wait to see the "missing" scenes.I propose a toast (please raise at least a virtual glass)- Here's to the next 25 years of being scared shitless by the same movie over and over again. (clink)
Awesome website, BTW
RE: THE UK MISSING OUT ON THE EXORCIST.
T4: Well what can I say about this film? I first saw it on video back in 1984 before the UK changed its film censorship laws and decided to clear the shelves of superb original horror movies like this one. I was about nine years old when I first watched The Exorcist, and it scared the hell out of me but I couldn't stop watching it. It was the first horror film I`d seen, and I loved it. Now thanks to the UK Film Censors and The Church of England, there's a lot of disappointed fans over here who unless they own a laserdisc player or have purchased a copy of the video from the US we have to miss out on the fun.
We can watch the sequel's which are still available here on video, which is
pointless if you've never seen the first.
The only time we can get to see the film is when cinema's here decide to release it which
is rare. I read about the special edition of The Exorcist being released but will the UK
Cinemas get to see it? Mmm I doubt it. Which is a shame. The last time I saw this
masterpiece was on the cinema about five years ago, and it still sent shivers down my
spine, and on satellite tv but the only
RE: The UK and The Exorcist
Love the site, been looking for some Exorcist pictures.. thanks.
Like Matt Bland, I`m in that country that treats us all like inmates in a kindergarten. Just to say I was fortunate enough to, having seen the Exorcist over 30 times in the cinema, rent the video enough to have watched it over 60 times at home. One day, a while later, I thought I'd like to see it again... lo and behold... NOT AVAILABLE !!! This wasn't the first time this had happened. I once rented "Nightmares in a Damaged Brain", went back to the shop two weeks later...Withdrawn. "Child's Play" see it, want it again, oops.. banned.
41, moderately intelligent, reasonably well balanced of mind, I think I can safely decide
what I can see with no chance of me being influenced to hack a young woman to pieces, eat
the next door neighbors for dinner, jump out of a window, or drive through a crowd of old
people struggling to cross the road and so on....
Hi there - I am 26 and a graduate student in Texas. I was only two when the film was originally released, but I first saw it at the age of eleven, in 1982 at a friend's slumber party. There were ten of us girls there, with one of the girl's mother safely nearby in her own bedroom. However, that wasn't enough. The ten of us squashed onto their enormous pit couch to watch what we thought would be your average slasher flick. Not so. We were genuinely terrified - (being that we were all classmates at a local Catholic school) not the giddy, slightly exciting fear you might experience while watching, say, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This terror was genuine - every one of us was white as a sheet after the movie was done, and needless to say, not a one of us slept a wink. Being "good little Catholic girls", we were astounded at the blasphemy depicted in the film - and darkly fascinated. Early the next morning, some of the girls dropped off to sleep. Those of us who were still awake nervously discussed the movie in frightened, hushed voices. Could something like that really happen? The possibility that it could was very real to us. I saw the movie again about four years later, and it still terrified me the same way. I've seen the movie several times more in the past few years, and while I am much more prepared to handle it, it still awakes within me a certain terror. I recently saw a program on the Discovery channel dealing with exorcism, and it made me realize that the movie wasn't too far off track. Could this, or had this ever happened to someone in real life? This movie scared the living daylights out of me, and even though I am grown and married, I can't forget the stark, hot terror that flooded through me the first time I saw the movie. On the rare occasions it is shown on cable, I am still unable to watch it alone - I have found that even with my husband and/or friends watching it with me, there are sill parts of the movie where I put my hand over my eyes. It's that disturbing.
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