I’ll tell you what’s still scary after all these years: Follow That Bird.
Haha. That is a special video, to say the least.
My friend’s teenage boys thought that “The Exorcist” and “Rosemary’s Baby” were silly. In fact, they were a little miffed that I had promised they would get a good scare. On the other hand, their mom tells me that the younger of the two had nightmares after watching “Hostel”. So the horror of those classics may hold up for the generation that grew up with it, but it doesn’t seem to work for today’s kids.
scary? i never thought friedkin was a good enough manipulator of emotions for me to genuinely feel anything for this film. i just didn’t believe a second of it. each of the characters (save, perhaps, for jason miller’s) was so utterly undistinguished that i wasn’t sure why i had to feel at all for any of them. the escalation of the situation’s horror was so stale and rote-like in its conception that the film becomes an exercise in gimmickry. and what did friedkin really have to say about humanity’s capacity for, as ebert overstates, suffering or the weathering of the human soul?
when i talk about true manipulation of emotion in horror, i am, of course, referring to de palma’s carrie – a film i think is a masterpiece in every sense of the word, one in which you are always acutely aware of de palma’s presence as a director but so enraptured in the film’s emotion, its rhythm, and its passion that it works. the film’s slow, gradual, yet inevitable progression into a world of terror is so well-executed by de palma, and spacek is the kind of actress who walks that fine line between camp and genuine emotion that’s just perfect for this kind of role. it’s an iconic performance (and a brilliant one, too). that this film isn’t more widely acclaimed in some circles has always baffled me – perhaps this has something to do with some people’s conceptions of de palma as a sort of copycat rather than a true, legitimate visionary. carrie is silly, but it knows that – it’s well aware. the exorcist feels self-important, not truly self-conscious enough to realize it’s just that silly.
sorry for that novel up there
Please, more “novels” are welcomed, if they’re going to be thoughtful ones like that. Unfortunately, I disagree with you. :)
Seriously, I think The Exorcist isn’t great because of its insights into evil or humanity. I think its great (at least in part) for the way it taps into fears that every parent experiences—not demon possession for their child, but this sense not having control over your child’s well-being. Plus, I think the mystical element is something we fear, too. The film taps into the limits of science, which also taps into another modern fear.
The film doesn’t develop the priests very well (but they both bring an eerie presence to the film), but Burstyn creates a vivid and real character. We experience the emotion and fear through her.
Carrie was good, too, but, imo, it’s not nearly as scary. That’s another thing: I think that The Exorcist feels more real and plausible. Besides the fact that the film creates a realistic tone (I didn’t care for Piper Laurie’s over-the-top performance in Carrie; and it sort of took away from the tone), I also think that people who believe in God, also believe in the devil, so there’s this plausibility factor with The Exorcist as well.
A true test of an older horror film’s greatness is if it can scare teenagers and twenty-somethings. For me, it’s hard to judge the effectiveness of The Exorcist because I saw it when I was a child.
I think its great (at least in part) for the way it taps into fears that every parent experiences—not demon possession for their child, but this sense not having control over your child’s well-being.
I agree, jazz. Rosemary’s Baby also worked very well in this regard, but Polanski chose to play his movie more for ironic effect than for horror. In that sense, it kept pretty close to Ira Levin’s book. Friedkin very much worked on deep seated parental fears.
Mugino, I can see how teenage boys today wouldn’t be particularly frightened by the movie, as inured as they are to violence. My son wasn’t particularly taken aback by it either.
The Exorcist’s fear doesn’t come out of the cheap thrills like the pea soup scene or the head turning one. What actually causes some tension is the shock between the modern world and arcane religious tradition. Western society in general has forgotten what the devil and hell are (the decay of Christianity is also a theme in this film), but what if suddenly those seemingly ridiculous folkloric concepts came into your house and led you to reevaluate your faith and perception of reality? I guess those concepts are too far ahead for most teenagers… :)
right said Carlos, Friedkin, presents The Exorcist without unnecessary flash or spectacle. Regan’s rotating head and projectile vomit may stick in audiences’ minds, but the film’s gory details are in short supply compared to its study of Miller and Burstyn’s authentic reactions to the girl’s torment. his camera lingers on their faces far more than it does on Regan’s physical torment; his eye is drawn to the quaint conversations and meaningful bonds that connect Blatty’s characters to the real world rather than the pulpy nature of the horrors that await them, his actors are given leave to dig as deep as they can and serve up their souls for all to see.
Agree with the general concensus. I would add that one of the reasons the film works so well is the main reason any horror works well, the old apothegm: it’s what you don’t see that scares you.
Now I am aware that we see a lot in The Exorcist, but the actual demon is cleverly hidden within the body of a young girl. We can only speculate and cogitate on its physcial form and the film is the scarier for it. So, in some respects, you could taxonomise The Exorcist as a haunted house movie: the ghost/monster/alien hides in shadows and corners as genre-conventions dictate; they’re just not your traditional ones.
“carrie is silly, but it knows that – it’s well aware”
it’s a little too aware of its own ridiculousness imo. good film, but i don’t agree it’s superior to The Exorcist.
As for Friedkin, after Bogdanovich, his career probably fell the hardest out of those 70’s guys. I"m honestly surprised that Friedkin even had a career after The Sorcerer. when was the last time he had a hit?
I keep harping on it, but The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is still effective today for one simple reason, and it’s this.
It invites you to laugh at its fairly amateurish performances, it invites you to think you know what’s coming next, and it also welcomes a healthy sense of skepticism over what could possibly come next.
But then all the crazy crap happens, the meat hook, Leatherface’s entrance, the freezer, the dinner, the “eyeball” montage, the opening sequence with the corpse display, the “betrayal” which really surprised me the first time I ever watched it back in ’98.
Living in a rural community would probably help ground a viewer with a sense of isolation that benefits the experience when you’re watching the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre as well. ‘Cause then you’re thinking “Uh, I really don’t know what the world’s going on a little ways down the road……” And as a newspaper writer who actually had to write about a case where a kid died after being tied to a tree, only one of the three neighbors on that road even KNEW the deceased child lived at the residence….that point is driven home with me making that analogy.
It’s glib on my part, equating a real horror like that child’s unnecessary death with this movie, but it kind of illustrates my point how anywhere at any time, especially in rural communities it seems, there’s bizarre and unjustifiable criminality lurking beneath the surface. You don’t know where, you don’t know the who or the why hardly at all, but it’s there, and it’s that scab that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre picks at so well, and continues to do so.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre is good for what it is, but it is nothing more than camp, right down to its pretense of having been based on a “true story.” It really is hard to watch this movie today and not end up laughing at Leatherface and his inbred family brood. The Exorcist forces the viewer to look deeper into darkness, and plays much more successfully on emotions, rather than just shock value. But, I don’t think Tobe Hooper ever meant TCM as anymore than a B movie.
“Night of the Living Dead” is a curiosity. Important for historical reasons but not a great film on the level of some of the others we’re talking about."
Night of the Living Dead alone is miles ahead of Exorcist and half of Friedkin’s general oeuvre.
^^if it’s miles ahead of Exorcist than it’s probably better than anything in his ‘general oeuvre’.
Friedkin didn’t make that many truly great films imo.
I can’t say that Night of the Living Dead is “miles ahead” of The Exorcist. These are very different movies and only loosely fall together in the horror genrel. You may not like Friedkin in general, Dimitris, but The Exorcist is a damn good movie.
Oh, I never said anything “bad” about Friedkin Dzimas, check out my first comment about the film and my self-question about Friedkin’s major decline after To Live and Die in L.A., he may not be the best Hollywood director but it’s quite surprising to see such a large leap from great films to poorly made ones (Jade???)
Totally agree though on the different horror traits and the social output of both films and in addition, they both belong in sub-genres.
“Oh, I never said anything “bad” about Friedkin Dzimas, check out my first comment about the film and my self-question about Friedkin’s major decline after To Live and Die in L.A., he may not be the best Hollywood director but it’s quite surprising to see such a large leap from great films to poorly made ones (Jade???)”
Friedkin apologists love Jade. Den probably does too.
nobody else does though.
Friedkin started to lose the plot around ‘Cruising’ i think.
“It really is hard to watch this movie today and not end up laughing at Leatherface and his inbred family brood.”
Personally, the inbred murdering family still freaks me out to this day, just the concept and implications it brings. Wonderful, humanity at its lowest, the last feeble act to exist. TCM is, in my mind, a masterpiece of horror, some wonderful cinematography as well.
I expect to like Bug what with all the drama qualities and Shannon’s involvement but Jade and Rules of Engagement (particularly the latter) have put me off of Friedkin so far.
(and I’m one of the first to defend Cruising too)
^^^Cruising is pure exploitation, but it does have its moments. i still think the seeds of his destruction were planted firmly in that one though.
As for Bug, it’s an interesting mess, and i’ll give him points for trying to do something ambitious. doesn’t completely work though.
I mostly agee with Joks about Bug. It has its moments, and it’s not bad, but it’s not great, either.
I think Dimitris arguments about the Exorcist and it’s authenticity have validation. I don’t know about the subject so I can’t argue cause Dimitris from time to time gets possessed by Pazuzu.
^ Micky Ward, it’s Friedkin and Exorcist we’re discussing, please don’t change the subject by insulting me out of the blue. By the way, your usage of “it’s” should be “its”. Learn your grammar.
Moreover Micky Ward, learn your mythology as well. Pazuzu (an Assyrian god if you want to know) may well be an evil deity but it also drives away other malevolent deities thus protecting people from storms and catastrophes.
Don’t use google to translate what I said: read carefully and steadily, do NOT twist my words again and do not attack me again by hijacking threads, use my wall on my profile for that matter.
still bothered about grammar, you are too much :))))
I’m still on topic and I’m not insulting you, I think you’re an expert on this matter and should know how much this film succeeds in its intentions.
whatever man, doesn’t matter what demon is inside of you. my knowledge is about beauty, sensuality, elegance, provocation and all what exites. none of the things that interest you.
Most movies fall short of the book that they are derived from, The Exorcist, in my opinion was just as scary as the book. The first time I saw it I was on peyote. And then I saw it high on some good dope, but eseentially this movie cured me of the horror genre permanantly.
“I’m still on topic and I’m not insulting you, I think you’re an expert on this matter and should know how much this film succeeds in its intentions.”
“whatever man, doesn’t matter what demon is inside of you.”
You’re still insulting me by being sarcastic and using the film’s demonic content towards me. Very mature Micky Ward, as I said…don’t hijack the thread. Post on my wall if you want to further insult me. Yes, learn your grammar or stop discussing about things you don’t even know. You do happen to know when to use “too much” but you can’t use a simple apostrophe when you have to. Illiterates, what a pity.
“my knowledge is about beauty, sensuality, elegance, provocation and all what exites. none of the things that interest you.”
I’m flagging your comment because you’ve been constantly insulting my personal life with no right to do so. Comment on my beliefs but don’t ever speculate again about my life you fucking militarist pig.
omg, what am I writing a novel? no Americans or British complain but I have to be punctional for some Greek boy. unbelievable :)))) and I’m not insulting your personal life, it’s not like you have one.
let’s stay on topic, film’s central theme is faith. Regan and her mother are non believers, yet she gets saved in the end. as an atheist, do you think you can be saved?