Exorcist – Exorcist since 1973 has been one of the absolute cornerstones when it comes to the best horror films of all time, both for launching (increasingly thankless) exorcist cinema and for its undeniable artistic merit.
Exorcist – Scenario
For the few remaining cinephiles who have never seen the movie and don’t know exactly what it’s about, following is a short story (as few spoilers as possible). There wealthy McNeil family lives in Georgetown, the historic district of the US capital of Washington. Atheist mother Chris (Ellen Burstyn) is a successful actress who, when not acting, looks after the young. Regan’s daughter (Linda Blair), who is also forced to become a father after a difficult separation with heavy pulls.
In a large house cared for by two servants, life goes on without much trouble, at least until the moment when a little girl manifests what at first seems psychophysical disorders: More cruel, deep How many inexplicable for the world of medicine. desperate, Chris turns to Damien Karras (Jason Miller), Jesuit and psychiatrist, recently marked by the loss of his elderly and beloved mother, whom he begs free your daughter from a mysterious evil. Skeptical of the woman’s claims, the priest is persuaded to visit Regan, only to come face to face withentity claiming to be the devil himself. Supported by one fragile faithKarras will fight against those who have taken possession of the body and soul of a twelve-year-old boy, along with powerful exorcist: father archaeologist Lankester Merrin (Max von Sydow).
Time passes but the horror remains, unmistakably visceral and deeply unsettling every time you return to this story and these images. Unless you decide to watch with playful friends, this is not the kind of work that can be seen aloneplunged into darkness around midnight. Worse (or better, depending on your point of view) if “extended” through big screenlistening from home theater system. Only then is it possible to improve on the incredible sound mixing work of the time, which was then revised and refined when the work was resumed in 2000, reaching “director’s cut”: 132 minutes closer to Blatty’s original vision than theatrical 122 minutes.
Friedkin’s directorial debut
Until that fateful 1973, Bill Friedkin enjoyed moderate success in comedy. The Night They Invented Striptease – The Night They Raided Minsky (1968), in the same year he made an adaptation of Harold Pinter’s play, the dramatic Birthday Party – Birthday Party. Then it was the turn Dear Friend Harold’s Birthday – The Boys in the Band (1970), based on a play by Mart Crowley and the first film in which Hollywood touched on the topic of homosexuality. An artistic-commercial breakthrough came the following year with The Cruel Hand of the Law – The French Connectionmaking him famous abroad and allowing him to have much more wiggle room exorcist.
Immediately complex production
For new production Friedkin’s claims were considered insane at the time.beginning with shooting in iraq where there were fears for the safety of the film crew, but the director was adamant: he convinced Warner Bros to allow the party with elements in a smaller version. This would be enough to showcase the director’s vision: before then, “horror films” usually kept the supernatural out of the real world, but he he decided it was time to immerse the screen in the harsh reality of life, whether it’s the run-down streets of New York with noir precedent or the eerie atmosphere of stately homes in Washington DC. A commercially risky choice extremely rewarded Oscar nominations what is the best movie of the year the very first time what happened for a horror movie. Part crew For makeup department we remember a very young man Rick Baker (Videodrome, Howl, Men in Black among many).
Not just a horror movie
exorcist ranks among the most authored horror films. And think that Friedkinand at the age of 38 he told 24 frames per second, not suspecting that he was writing the history of Cinema, he was not going to arrange a horror. He did not initially see it as being relegated to the genre, as he himself stated, “Blatty and I never talked about making a horror movie, but about the mystery of faith. I felt that this story was the most powerful thing that could be done to reveal the mystery of God’s faith, love and forgiveness.” Years later he fixed the shot: “I do not belong to any religious faith, and I never wanted to Exorcist was a horror movie, now I understand that it is. Audiences have thought of it as such for 40 years, so it’s a bloody horror film, although I thought of it as a powerful story about the mystery of faith.”
Scenario it was edited by the same author of the novel William Peter Blatty. He will always take the reins with a true sequel, taking care of the writing and directing in 1990, culminating in a superb Exorcist IIIdestroying the dubious Exorcist II: Heretic John Boorman (who refused to direct the first film). Blatty’s book associated with real exorcism case dated 1949 in Silver Spring, Maryland. It was a fourteen-year-old, not a twelve-year-old: declared demonic possession according to the Catholic Church, which approved only three such cases in the 20th century United States.
Forbidden to the faint of heart
The film became a media sensationmass phenomenon with reckless reactions, above all fainting especially suggestible and sensitive public: it was placed ambulances near numbers ready to intervene. Despite the disturbing graphic violence (and more) that pervades the entire storyline, maintaining a constant climax, the film in Italy was restricted to children under 14. It received an “R” rating in the US. – Forbidden, which meant that under 17 viewing is prohibited without an adult, but there were those who insisted on a fateful “X”equivalent to our “VM 18”.
The deep unease of the darkness in the film mutates into horror in its purest form.twisting the knife in the wound ancient fears which have always choked the believer, stimulating his dark side. We are slipping more and more into an abyss in which everything contributes to the anxiety of even the most detached viewer: images, sounds, dialogues, etc. foul language bordering on blasphemyeverything contributes to the creation tragic realistic wave (among many moments, a devastating cerebral angiography at Regan) that invests and represses, shedding air. No less important was soundtrackwith the iconic excerpt from the song “tubular bells” From Mike Oldfieldstill so inextricably evocative 50 years later. And one more thing: the work involves reading youth discomfort through possession and link loss (not only religious); the gap between faith and science and a request for help from the first from the second, when she reached a dead end.
Exorcist – casting
Among the actors under consideration, we note Marlon Brando as Father Merrin; for this from father Karras we thought of Stacey Keach, Al Pacino, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Warren Beatty, Burt Reynolds, Ryan O’Neal, Peter Fonda, John Voight, Robert Blake, Christopher Walken, Alain Delaunay, James Caan, Paul Newman, Elliott Gould, Roy Scheider and George Hamilton. Same Blatty he immediately tried to get Friedkin to think about it.
Jamie Lee Curtis auditioned as Regan MacNeil, but her mother Janet Leigh objected. Sharon Stone, Laura Dern and Kim Basinger were also considered for the same character. Chris McNeil the list included Audrey Hepburn, Anne Bancroft, Shirley MacLaine, Jane Fonda, Barbra Streisand, Lee Remick, Carol Burnett and Raquel Welch. The hypothesis of writing also did not materialize. Carrie Fisher for Regan and her real mother Debbie Reynolds for Chris.
Disturbing facts about the film
Some actual elements helped create an absolute myth: the film was edited in number 666 Fifth Avenue, where Friedkin had an office; Fire set/McNeil’s home, where only the possessed Regan’s room survived. And yet tragic events, like some deaths when the film was still in production, including that of Vasiliki Maliaros, an 89-year-old woman who played Karras’ mother in her first and only acting performance.
Premiere night at the Metropolitan in Rome a storm broke out and lightning apparently struck the cross on top of the church next to the hall, falling into the square. While filming in Iraq false and tendentious news spread that the troupe devil worshiperswho erected a statue of the ancient god Pazuzu in honor of human sacrifice. Complete idiocy that eventually fired the imagination of the local Kurdish Yezidi tribe, proselytes for the demon Shaitan, who persuaded Friedkin to meet with their sheikh. The latter was disappointed when he discovered that the statue was there for stage purposes only.
Friedkin still took advantage filming a local tribal ritual, terrifying a ceremony during which young people, stoned with hashish, pierced themselves with an extremely thin blade, trying not to touch the internal organs. As a result live footage of suicide some of them, as a result of which the operator fell ill and lost consciousness Owen Roizman. Despite the cruelty of the frame, the director wanted to use part of it in the prologue to the story, but the negative was lost.
Shortly after his first take, Max von Sydow heard of his brother’s death while returning to Stockholm for the funeral. While in Iraq temperatures in excess of 50 °C, sandstorms, fever and dysentery brought the cast and crew to their knees. On the same day it happened coup attempt cousin’s hand Saddam Husseinand the production was halted by the authorities, which led to fear among the members of the film crew that they were found to be part of the conspiracy.
Between pirates and maniacs
After the release in the USA Friedkin demanded as much control as possible over the quality of forecasts.: he personally interfered with the brightness of the projector lamp (for economic reasons, left it low) and the volume of the sound, otherwise threatening to seize the copy.
Among several nice color notes associated with production and launch in North America, there is a story porn cinema in long beach, in Southern California. Given the success Exorcistthe exhibitor decided to design pirated copy 16 mmless expensive but poor quality compared to the standard 35mm, unfortunately lackingsound is out of sync.
More than the loss of receipts, Friedkin was angry at the poor technical condition of the material to the limit. ask a friend from the local underworld for help: appearing with a gun, he achieved the delivery of commercials, but the director risked being accused. Still further illegal copies began to circulate for other movie theaters in the suburbs without being able to prevent their circulation.