Monday, February 2, 2015


"The Exorcist" (1973)
Directed by William Friedkin

   Where were you the first time you saw possessed little Regan spit vomit on a priest and spin her head like an owl?

   When I was a kid, my father owned "The Exorcist" on VHS. I remember seeing the box in his video tape collection and being intrigued by the mysterious cover of the silhouette of a man standing next to a creepy house at night.
I could not tell from the cover art what this movie was about. All I knew, was that I was not allowed to watch that tape.
This of course led me to wanting to see this movie more than anything.
(Hey Isaac. Do you want to see "The Exorcist" or go to Disneyland? Silly adult, I think we BOTH know the answer to THAT question.)

   Whenever my dad watched "The Exorcist", he sent me to my room. I was told that this movie was too scary for me to watch with him.
Once in my bedroom, I would sit on the floor and lean against the door, listening to the sound of the television. I could hear a horrifying voice that sounded like a monster.
Every time the monster spoke, I would try to imagine what this monster looked like. With a voice like that, this must be the scariest looking monster of all time.
I absolutely could not wait to see this movie!
   One day, I was home alone. I do not remember where my parents went or why I was not with them. All I remember is what I did with this valuable moment of being unsupervised: I watched "The Exorcist".
I loved it! It shocked me that the monster voice that so intrigued me belonged to a possessed young girl. This was the beginning of my love affair with this film.
   "The Exorcist" is my favorite horror film of all time. I find it creepy as Hell.
   I adore the scenes of Father Karras visiting with Regan to gather information to decide if she is possessed or not. These exchanges between the two characters are brilliant.
   Fans gush over the scenes where Regan does extreme things: Stab her privates with a crucifix, spin her head 360, levitate off her bed, projectile vomit on Father Merrin.
These scenes are all awesome and deserve the reputation that they have. However, my favorite scene in the film is quite subtle.

Father Karras is next to the bed, when a nightstand drawer opens by itself.
Father Karras: "Did you do that?"
Regan: "Mmmm Hmmm". (First off, how freaky is the sound of her voice when she answers him? LOVE IT.)
Father Karras closes the nightstand drawer and then says: "Do it again."
Regan: (calmly) "In time."
Father Karras: "No. Do it now."
Regan: (with more authority) "IN TIME." 
(Goosebumps Moment!)

   I love this scene, because the demon is toying with Father Karras. I have always loved when it is suggested that a villain could hurt or kill a victim in a film, but chooses to play with them for awhile because scaring them is such a thrill. Father Karras is not scared in this scene. He challenges the demon's power. She does not give in, suggesting that this game will be played on her terms.
   This was Linda Blair's third film in her career. A film she would live in the shadow of for the rest of her career. I know that people feel sorry for actors that peak so early. I want to remind people that very few actors perform a role that becomes iconic and a permanent part of film history. That is the character of Regan MacNeil and 13 year old Linda Blair's perfect portrayal of her. Bravo!
   If it's been awhile since watching this classic, please check it out again. It has aged well. Everything that has made this film spooky, still works. If you know someone that has never seen it before, give the gift that keeps on giving (nightmares) and show it to them. It's ALWAYS an excellent day for an exorcism!

I do not have children, but if I had a daughter I would probably name her Regan.
Regan Pazuzu Martinez.

(Artwork by Isaac Keith Martinez)

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