The Power of Christ Compells You…to Watch this Movie

I know that I already reviewed The Exorcist. I haven’t gone all crazy in the brain-meats. Well, any crazier. But this is the super special extended director’s cut. This version has eleven minutes of additional footage that was deleted from the original, including the infamous spider-walk scene.
I especially wanted to see this because the version of The Exorcist that I own was purchased around Halloween about seven years ago at Duane Reade. It was one of the VHS’s you could get for cheap around the holidays. I wanted to hear the remastered soundtrack and review the movie in the format that I felt it deserved.
So, was it worth it? Heck yeah, it was worth it! Each time I see this movie I appreciate it a little more. It still manages to scare me, even after reading the book and seeing it on t.v. I’m amazed that with all the times I’ve rewatched it I still manage to be scared and my roommate was laughing at me for gasping at the hidden faces that still scare me. I appreciate the movie even more after watching the shit-storm that was Beyond the Door.
So, here’s my extended blogger’s cut of more musings on The Exorcist.
The opening of the extended edition seems to be…well, extended. Instead of jumping right to Iraq we see the house where the MacNeils live and the Virgin Mary statue that will be desecrated later in the movie. The desecration of the statue is a bit of a red herring in the book and movie. Or, it could be a statement about the rejection of faith in modernity.
THEN they jump to Iraq with Father Merrin. Here’s one of my favorite shots from the movie. Heck, I love the way the whole movie looks. But I think this sums up the main conflict of good versus evil in the movie.

I read a theory somewhere, I can’t remember where though and a web search was useless, about a theory that stories of hauntings represent the human body and that things occurring in the attic are supposed to represent our minds. Is that why there are so many sayings about crazy people like “bats in the belfry?” I don’t know. But I was thinking of that in context with Chris complaining about the rats in the attic. Is this ghostly or spiritual activity or a sign of what’s to come with Regan losing her mind and possibly her soul?
The extended scenes also add more to the medical testing sequence. This includes more acting out by Regan and sexualized swearing. It reminded me of a ghost story I read as a teenager about the legend of the Bell Witch. This was a haunting that allegedly took place in 19th century Tennessee. The Bell family was allegedly plagued by poltergeist activity when their youngest, Betsy Bell, entered puberty. I’ve noticed that this is a theme used often in haunting stories. It makes me wonder if this story of Regan is really a very violent metaphor about entering sexual maturity.
As I said, this edition contains the spider-walk scene.

That’s the one thing added to the movie that I didn’t really like. The movie is such a slow-build and I think the scene happened too soon. Compare this with the neck-twisting scene, which happens at just the right moment to freak me out. And compare all of this with the instant-craziness with Beyond the Door. That’s why–among other reasons–that movie was so unscary. Too much weird stuff happened too quickly with too shitty of an explanation.
The penultimate scene of the actual exorcism leads to one of my favorite shots in moviedom.

Mercedes McCambridge gets praised a lot for her performance as the voice of the demon, which is what she deserves. Her voicework is awesome. But it seems like people forget the physical performance that Linda Blair gave.
In my previous post, I talked about the creepy faces that pop up throughout the movie. I’ve compiled three for your viewing pleasure. They never fail to make me squeak.

On a final The Eorcist related note, does anyone else remember those Pure Moods commercials from the nineties? You know you do. I remember them because they have the “Tubular Bells” song on it that’s used in the movie. Who thought that that was a good addition to a new age compilation? Because I get spooked every time I hear that song. Here’s the commercial for old time’s sake.

About scarina

I like scary movies a little too much. I thought I'd share my obsession with you.
This entry was posted in 1970's, possession and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to The Power of Christ Compells You…to Watch this Movie

  1. Jennifer says:

    I actually own the Pure Moods CD that Tubular Bells appears on. I made the mistake of taking a nap when that CD was playing, waking up to that song is not too fun.

    • scarina says:

      I own it too. Borrowed it from my stepdad and never returned it. I used to listen to it for meditation but then I saw The Exorcist and it ruined that song for me. It is so creepy!

  2. Sven Doehler says:

    Great article. I found this searching for the title of your article. Regarding your blog,I have to say that you have done a good job here. Thanks.

  3. FRC Ruben says:

    I’ve always thought that scary demon face looks exactly like a dude in make-up.

  4. Fear Street says:

    I too have the Pure Moods CD. But it’s scratched all to hell so I don’t have to worry about being freaked by the dread Tubular Bells.

  5. Sadako says:

    I loved Tubular Bells and Pure Moods before I even knew what an exorcist was. I just remember them saying it was the theme to the Exorcist and I had no idea what it meant. I knew it had to be wonderfully creepy, though.

    I’ve only seen this movie a couple of times. I think I’d be too scared to see it again by myself. That spiderwalk scene…holy crap. I saw it in theatres and I don’t think I could even watch it in youtube in broad daylight! I’m such a wussy. :D

    • scarina says:

      I think that must be in the longer commercial, which I remember. The one I posted makes no reference to The Exorcist. It just has a unicorn with a wonky horn.
      LoL I’ve heard lots of people say that about this movie. Sometimes, the hype adds to the sense that it’s something you’re supposed to fear.

  6. Amiee says:

    I thought the spiderwalk scene was pretty creepy too.
    I remember when my brother first saw this he had to sleep in my parents room for a few nights afterwards! But then we showed it to a friend when we were older and she thought it was lame and not scary at all. She didn’t like Shaun of the Dead either though, so no accounting for taste huh?

    • scarina says:

      It was creepy, but I think it happened too early in the movie. Maybe it would have been better during the actual exorcism.
      Aww, I’ve heard stories like that before about this movie and others. No movie really affected me like that, I guess I’m still looking.
      I can see why some people think The Exorcist is lame since it’s such a slow build. But Shaun of the Dead rocks, so there really is no accounting for taste.

  7. Darryl says:

    Have you ever heard the entire album-length Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield? Everyone knows the opening, but the piece goes off in a dozen different directions, and ends up more upbeat than spooky. (I’ve been an avid listener to Oldfield’s music ever since 1974. Yeah, I’m old.)

    Any plans to watch exorcist II: The Heretic? I dare ya. I double dog dare ya!

    • scarina says:

      I’ve never heard the whole album, just the piece that’s presented on Pure Moods You can kind of tell that it’s going to go in a different direction, though, even based on the three-minutes you get to hear.
      I’ve seen Exorcist II but only on t.v., so maybe I will watch it. If only to get to Exorcist III: The Good Sequel. And now I have to, since you dog-dared me. :P

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