The Exorcist Thread

Started by Silver Nemesis, Fri, 25 Mar 2022, 22:45

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Quote from: The Joker on Wed, 26 Jul  2023, 02:24I will try and comment more later, but I just wanted to post this short video going over the brilliance of Blatty's original 1973 film.

The dream sequence is very effective. According to literature on the subject, nightmares are one of the commonest early symptoms of the oppression stage preceding demonic possession. Pazuzu's presence in Damien's dream foreshadows the end of the film, where the demon takes control of him. The doubt, guilt, depression and general emotional negativity Damien grapples with earlier in the story weakens him spiritually and leaves him susceptible to that possession. Pazuzu's presence in the dream shows that the demon is already working on Damien before Karras himself is even aware of its existence. It's an unsettling moment.

Quote from: thecolorsblend on Wed, 26 Jul  2023, 02:36If there had been, they would've said that a possessed person entering a Catholic parish and standing in such close proximity to the Blessed Sacrament would be a source of excruciating pain and agony. That's fairly common knowledge in the Catholic world. And since the original film largely worked with the Catholic Church's understanding of demonic possession, sequels are (or ought to be) bound by the same rules. But apparently, that's not happening.

I understand that it's a creepy visual to see a demon-possessed girl interrupt Mass. But the Catholics will be happy to tell you that something like that is very unlikely, and maybe even completely impossible. Simply being in close proximity to a Catholic parish is thought to be torturous for the demon-possessed. But actually entering one? Yowch!

Bram Stoker understood this, though he was a Protestant himself. In his original Dracula novel Van Helsing is explicitly portrayed as Catholic, and his most powerful weapon is the Eucharist. Many screen versions ignore or downplay this aspect of the book, but a few get it right. Francis Ford Coppola's version, for one.

The Eucharist isn't merely a symbol of God. It is Christ's substantial physical presence. A demon, which philosophically speaking is a spiritual being that's separated itself from God, would find that presence unbearable. Accounts of actual exorcisms support this. And let's not forget whose authority modern day exorcists invoke.

Filmmakers don't need to believe in any of this, but they should at least respect it if they're intent on exploiting the subject matter. We'll have to see how they handle the issue in Believer, but I have a feeling this will not be a particularly sophisticated or well-informed treatment of the subject. The Exorcist isn't just another slasher franchise where you can make up your own rules. It's grounded in theology and philosophy stretching back millennia. Blatty did extensive research before writing his novel, and the writers of the new films should do no less.

Quote from: The Joker on Thu, 27 Jul  2023, 03:30The bit in the trailer where Chris says something along the lines of, "Every culture and religion use different methods, it's going to take all of them.", if I'm gauging this correctly, seems to imply that the Catholic faith and authority, as far as this film's storytelling is concerned, is going to be reduced to some degree. To what extent? And does this route ultimately hurt the film since this is taking place 50 years following the previously established events (as Colors mentioned above depicted largely under the lens of the Catholic Church's understanding of Exorcisms) of the 1973 original?

I can understand the desire to be more broad, but at the same time, it does come across as going against the grain. So to speak.

If that line in the trailer is anything to go by, it sounds like the new film might be taking a more diverse and inclusive approach to world religions. If so, will the protagonists invoke the name of every deity to repel Pazuzu? Will they call upon the power of polytheistic gods whose existence is incompatible with the natural theology from which the Judeo-Christian God's existence is reasoned?

I'm not saying you couldn't have a story focusing on an exorcist from another religion. A Jewish rabbi, for instance. But that's not what The Exorcist series that Blatty created is about. I can imagine Blumhouse going with a 'more spiritual than religious' ending where the demon is ultimately defeated by the power of love or female autonomy. They'll have Regan get possessed again, only this time she won't need no man to save her. She'll just scream "Get out of my body" and Pazuzu will flee in terror of her girlbossness.

Or maybe I'm reading too much into that line. The film might be ok. I'm just wary, and judging by the like/dislike ratio on the trailer a lot of other people share those doubts. Some movies should be left alone, and The Exorcist is one of them. Would people be excited if Blumhouse announced they were making a new Jaws trilogy, and that they were bringing back Richard Dreyfuss as Hooper? Or better yet, Michael Caine as the quick-drying pilot with the water-resistant shirt? My reaction to that would be the same as my reaction to this new Exorcist trilogy.

The situation reminds me of what we were saying about Insidious. Rather than just remake or reboot Poltergeist, James Wan went and created a new franchise. Similarly The Conjuring is clearly influenced by The Exorcist, but it isn't a remake or sequel. Creating a new franchise is hard work, while capitalising on the legacy of an established brand is obviously much easier. Blumhouse is taking the easy route.

If anyone's looking for some decent demonic possession films that aren't part of The Exorcist franchise, I'd give moderate recommendations to The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)...

... and The Rite (2011).

Neither of these movies is great, and they're certainly not on a par with Friedkin's film, but they're both entertaining and reasonably sound on a technical level.

"Imagination is a quality given a man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humour was provided to console him for what he is."

As expected, Believer is getting savaged by fans and critics. But director David Gordon Green has a more serious problem to worry about. According to film and theatre critic Ed Whitfield, prior to his death William Friedkin vowed to return from the grave to possess Green and make his life a living hell. :D Here's the full quote:

Quote"William Friedkin once said to me, "Ed, the guy who made these new 'Halloween' is about to make one to my movie, "The Exorcist." That's right, my signature film is about to be extended by the man who made "Pineapple Express." I don't want to be around when that happens. But if there's a spirit world, and I come back, I plan to possess David Gordon Green and make his life a living hell."

If Green suddenly starts swearing backwards, trolling Nicolas Winding Refn on social media, and directing really great car chases, then we'll know that Friedkin's spirit has slipped into the driver's seat.

I've been meaning to post my reactions to having seen "The Exorcist II: The Heretic" via the Scream Factory blu ray, and ... it's definitely something else! Similar to "The Texas chainsaw Massacre Part 2", the sequel to the original "Exorcist" noticeably takes a much different approach than it's predecessor. Honestly, I have to say that I later viewed the film again with Project Consultant Scott Bosco commentary track, and it actually made me appreciate the sequel more than I did initially. As Bosco is an unapologetic "Heretic" fan, and meticulously elaborates on his fandom, the entire production of the film, the public and critical negative reaction (to which he doesn't push back against even though he obviously loves the film), and the more recent restoration to get it officially released on blu ray. Bosco does make the statement during his commentary track, that rather than go with the tagline, "It's four years later... what does she remember?" (especially given that this question is answered pretty early in the film), the sequel really should have gone with the line used for it's first teaser trailer. Which was effectively, to take you into the beyond. Which, given the consistent  surreal imagery and atmosphere of "The Heretic", that would have been much more apt of a tagline for John Boorman's vision.

"Imagination is a quality given a man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humour was provided to console him for what he is."

Sat, 21 Oct 2023, 14:15 #24 Last Edit: Sat, 21 Oct 2023, 14:18 by Silver Nemesis
I still haven't seen The Exorcist II. I bought the DVD off Amazon last year, but shortly after acknowledging my order they sent me an email confirming that it had been cancelled and my money was being refunded. They offered no explanation why. Must've been the ghost of William Peter Blatty trying to prevent me from seeing it.

I've been watching and reading reviews of the new Exorcist movie, and it sounds like all of my fears were well founded. Many have described it as nauseatingly woke, with particular emphasis being given to a scene in which Chris MacNeil insults the men who saved her daughter by calling them a "damn patriarchy". ::) Modern Hollywood writers just can't help themselves. Their ideological outlook is so painfully predictable and insular, their work increasingly reads like a Babylon Bee parody.

Michael Knowles posted a damning twenty minute review in which he eviscerated the film for its poor quality, lack of scares and intellectual and spiritual incoherence. I won't post it here, because he gets quite political, but his analysis of the movie makes it apparent that the filmmakers didn't bother researching the subject matter and flagrantly disrespected the intent of the franchise's creator. It sounds as though The Exorcist brand has sunk to a new nadir, and I doubt if I'll waste my time watching it. Hopefully the plans for a trilogy will get scrapped so the IP can escape further violation.

Here's Mark Kermode's review of Believer. Say what you will about Kermode, but he is the preeminent expert on the original Exorcist film. He's contributed more articles, books and documentaries on the subject than anyone else. His response to Believer says it all.

He's right about there being only one true canonical sequel to The Exorcist.

That said, if the franchise had to be continued – if some Hollywood exec placed a gun to my head and forced me to come up with a workable concept that would honour Blatty's original work – then how about an occult detective TV show centred around Lieutenant William F. Kinderman?

Kinderman's a great character who features prominently in the original Exorcist novel and is the main protagonist in Blatty's sequel novel Legion. Lee J. Cobb played him in the 1973 movie, and then George C. Scott took over the role in The Exorcist III. Kinderman's a middle-aged homicide detective with a droll sense of humour and a love of classic movies. He lives in Georgetown with his wife and daughter, and is best friends with fellow film buff Father Dyer.

Prior to the events of The Exorcist Kinderman helped track down the serial killer James Venamun, otherwise known as the Gemini Killer. I haven't read Legion, but I gather that in the book Venamun is killed during a shootout with the police. I don't know if Kinderman killed him directly, but the Gemini Killer seems to blame Bill for his death. In The Exorcist III Venamun was executed after Kinderman apprehended him. In both versions of the story Bill is one of the detectives who ends the Gemini Killer's reign of terror.

Soon after working on the Gemini case, Kinderman investigates the murder of movie director Burke Dennings. Bill has a larger role in Blatty's 1971 novel than he does in the film, and there's a whole subplot about him tracking down the fugitive son of Karl and Willie Engstrom, the housekeepers at the MacNeil residence, who is hiding somewhere in Georgetown. Kinderman suspects their son might be responsible for the murder of Dennings, but accepts his innocence after confronting him. Bill's investigation brings him into contact with Pazuzu's influence, prompting him to research the subject of witchcraft, and he is present in the MacNeil residence on the night Regan's possession ends.

Fifteen years later, Bill finds himself investigating a copycat serial killer who is stalking Georgetown using the modus operandi of James Venamun. This leads him to discover the mysterious Patient X locked away in a mental hospital. Patient X appears to be the ghost of the original Gemini Killer who has somehow taken possession of the reanimated corpse of Father Damien Karras. This once again brings Kinderman into contact with Pazuzu's influence.

There's quite a lot of material there that could be mined for content. One idea would be a prequel series in the vein of Se7en focusing on the original Gemini Killer and Kinderman's struggle to stop him. Another idea would be a series set after Legion/The Exorcist III, focusing on an older Kinderman as he investigates occult crimes with vaguely supernatural connotations. The show could be set around Georgetown University, where Bill's daughter would be enrolled as a performing arts student.

To reiterate, I don't think they should make any more Exorcist films or TV shows. It was Blatty's magnum opus, and Blatty is gone. Now they should just leave it alone. But if it had to be done, then focusing on Kinderman would be a more interesting strategy than simply going the obvious route of bringing back Pazuzu, Chris MacNeil or Regan. Bill's an interesting character and his job as homicide detective would open things up to a wider range of stories.

I don't know who could play him though. Cobb and Scott were both such great actors, you'd need someone equally great to continue the role.

William Friedkin's recollections of "The Exorcist II: The Heretic" are very entertaining.  ;D

Even the Project Consultant, Scott Bosco, who provides a very insightful commentary track for Shout Factory's blu ray release of "The Exoricst II", addresses the film's obvious shortcomings, and states that he recalls that audiences who walked into the sequel with much interest, were looking for a fight. This was the sort of tone/approach that Bosco believes audiences were hoping for, and wound up getting something far more surreal and outright unconventional by Boorman. Evidently, according to Bosco's research, audiences for the sequel also did not take seriously Linda Blair as a sexual seductress when she is once-again possessed by Pazuzu (pretty much taking the opposite route as opposed to Pazuzu's more grisly approach with Regan in the original). I believe Blair was 17 at the time. Speaking of Pazuzu, you can say the sequel is notable due to Pazuzu actually getting a revealed name. As I'm pretty sure most audiences in 1973 with the original "Exorcist", assumed the demon was the Devil, or a random demon. Rather than dig into and research the significance of the Pazuzu iconography that begins the film.

Yeah, "Believer" seems to get either negative reviews, or people saying it's just mediocre at best. The most positive thing I've heard, is that some consider "Believer" to be a better installment in the franchise than "The Beginning/Dominion", but that's not exactly high praise either.

I like your ideas about extending out the franchise as a tv show with William F. Kinderman as the lead. That could be interesting. Another way to elaborate on this, is possibly taking a "Bates Motel" approach, where the franchise is essentially rebooted. By doing so, the show could really explore and further expand upon the Kinderman/Father Karras friendship that "Exorcist 3" brought to the forefront. Since this would be a revision, Father Merrin and his work could be placed into the narrative, in addition to the Gemini Killer case being developed upon, along with introducing the Macneil's at some point in the show. Eventually leading to a reimagining of the exorcism of Regan Macneil.

Personally, if the Exoricst is to continue on as a franchise, I'd rather something like Silver's ideas, or a complete reimagining ala "Bates Motel", than what we're currently getting.

BTW, yeah that "patriarchy" line is comically absurd. The help of two priests was sought after to save a young girl, and both died as a consequence. Is a modicum of reverence too much to ask for? lol

"Imagination is a quality given a man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humour was provided to console him for what he is."

I'd still like to see The Heretic at some point. It's got James Earl Jones in, so it can't be a total waste of time. John Boorman is a very hit and miss director for me. Hell in the Pacific, Deliverance and Excalibur are all good films. Zardoz on the other hand is garbage, and even Boorman himself admitted he didn't know what it about since he was high when writing it. From what I've heard about The Heretic, I suspect he might have been high while making that too.

Quote from: The Joker on Sat, 21 Oct  2023, 17:36William Friedkin's recollections of "The Exorcist II: The Heretic" are very entertaining.  ;D

Friedkin was never one to mince words. Here he is talking about Pacino.


"Imagination is a quality given a man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humour was provided to console him for what he is."

Quote from: The Joker on Tue, 25 Jul  2023, 15:45
Apparently, Blumhouse is going ahead with a sequel to Believer. They've announced that franchise-fixer Mike Flanagan has a take on this material that will hopefully revitalize the franchise in ways that Believer wasn't able to do.

I reassert my ongoing reluctance to make sequels to the original Exorcist film. However, you'd think that if anybody is capable of developing a worthwhile sequel, it would be Flanagan. But if he can't do it and if Wan is busy with other projects, then maybe these Exorcist sequels should be put to bed.

In any case, Flanagan's participation is a game-changer for me. I do intend to keep an eye on this.

Yeah, I'm on the same page.

Upon reading about this, I initially thought that whatever David Gordon Green's ideas for a follow up were would be completely disregarded, but perhaps not? The hellish fate of one particular character seemed to be a plot thread that was to be further explored (DGG said he had "ideas" on the commentary track), and we also saw a "reunion" near the conclusion came across as something that would be elaborated upon.

With Mike Flanagan now on board, I'm fairly sure he can assuredly improve on whatever DGG had in mind. His participation does make me feel a bit better about the ultimate prospect of the Blumhouse Exorcist trilogy.

"Imagination is a quality given a man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humour was provided to console him for what he is."