The Exorcist

“Something beyond comprehension is happening to a little girl on this street, in this house. A man has been called for as a last resort to try and save her. That man is The Exorcist.” ~The Exorcist (1973)

IMDB Summary: When a teenage girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter.

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 86%

Why I love it: It’s the fucking Exorcist.

When I was 12 years old my dad and I watched The Exorcist on Halloween night while he helped himself to all the good candy I had scored. Not the stupid raisons or the Special Bars. The Snickers. He earned it, just for being the kind of dad who would show me The Exorcist.

People threw up in the aisles in this movie. They passed out. They were sobbing. They freaked the fuck out. I imagine bibles selling out and church attendance at an all-time high. It’s just a movie, y’all! And don’t act like you’ve never seen a 12-year-old child possessed by the devil screaming the F-word while she’s doing stuff to herself with a crucifix.

Watch the audience reactions in Westwood. But turn off the music.

Father Merrin is an old priest on an archeological dig in Iraq. He finds a tiki thingie just like the one Greg Brady found in Hawaii. It’s bad. Meanwhile, Regan McNeil and her mother Chris live in Georgetown, where Chris is shooting a movie. Regan feels weird and says her bed is shaking. I wonder why…? She’s sweet but kind of annoying.

Father Karras is the hottest man to ever take the vow of chastity. What a waste. He’s also a psychologist who feels guilty about the life condition of his mother. He’s losing faith. He drinks and smokes and talks to Father Merrin about his troubles. Regan urinates on the carpet in front of her mother’s dinner party guests. She’s getting weirder every day, so Chris takes her to a doctor who smokes inside the hospital and tells her it’s all in Regan’s head. The bed is still shaking, the room is now freezing cold, there are horrible noises in the attic, Regan slugs her mother and a hideous demonic face keeps flashing on screen. It’s on.

Chris gets Father Karras. The now-possessed child speaks to him in different languages, then does the biggest no-no ever: she talks shit about his dead mother. Then she pukes on him. Still, he recommends psychiactric care. What does it take, you idiots? She killed a guy by turning his head all the way around! Her stomach is scratched with the words “help me!” Even the Ghostbusters believed in the spooky shit more than these guys. She don’t need no shock therapy, clearly she needs an exorcism, even if the situation doesn’t meet the bullshit requirements. And dude, if you’re goona be like that, quit being a priest already and go get laid. I’m sure you won’t have a problem.

Regan looks like shit. She curses at the priests and acts altogether crude and antagonistic. Like a total bitch. It occurs to you Linda Blair was 12 and her parents should have probably thought twice about letting her do this movie but hey, that’s the 70’s for you. No one’s parents cared where you were, as long as you came home in one piece by dinner.

They douse her with holy water. “The power of Christ compels you!” She sticks her purple tongue out. “The power of Christ compels you!” She throws up on herself. “The power of Christ compels you!” She levitates. Then she kills Father Merrin. The look on her face is one of the scariest parts of this entire epic battle. In the end, the devil jumps into Father Karras’ body right before he hurls himself out the window and down a flight of steps.

Regan goes back to being her normal annoying self. She doesn’t remember anything.

I met Linda Blair once. She was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I guess she was the original scream queen. And who can forget Sarah T.—Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic? Or Roller Boogie? 

Ever heard of Roland Doe? The boy who The Exorcist is based on? Read about him here. They say he was probably just “a spoiled, disturbed bully who threw deliberate tantrums to get attention or to get out of school.”

Next: Halloween


Written by Anne Clendening
Anne Clendening was born and raised in L.A. She's a yoga teacher, a writer and occasionally slings cocktails in a Hollywood bar. She could eat chocolate cake for every meal of the day. She has a huge fear of heights and flying. And fire. She wishes she could speak French, play her guitar better and make cannoli. She's probably listening to The Dark Side Of The Moon right now, kickin’ it with her boxer dog and her hot Australian husband ★