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.
- Scarina--the authoress and editrix of this site. I like scary movies and have dedicated my free time to cataloging horror--the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sometimes there are books too.
There's film criticism, literary criticism, and humor here. I can be highbrow but there's lots of pop culture too. And feminism.
I fervently love "Twin Peaks" and wish it were a real place so I could move there. I can't list my favorite scary movies because they change depending on my mood, the season, and how much coffee I've had.
I'm an artist looking for ways to blend creepy with cute. I try to channel my childhood nightmares, my love of horror, and my experiences with sleepy paralysis.
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