Hello Geeks and Ghouls, Famous Monster here. Well, it’s finally October and you know what that means? Breast Cancer Awareness 5Ks? Good guess. Pumpkin Spice Lattes? Delicious, but no. Halloween? YES. Horror movies? DOUBLE YES!
Welcome to 31 Days of Horror, where I’ll cover at least two noteworthy horror films a day for the entirety of the month. That’s 31 Days of Horror and 62+ scary movies perfect for a cold, dark October night. Be sure to visit Geeks of Doom every day this month for a double-shot of chills and thrills!
“What an excellent day for an exorcism!” Today’s one-two punch of demonic terror features William Friedkin‘s 1973 classic, The Exorcist, and Richard Donner‘s 1976 film, The Omen. The power of Christ compels you… to read!
Based on William Peter Blatty‘s best-seller and directed by William Friedkin (The French Connection), The Exorcist is based on a true story of the last known Catholic-sanctioned exorcism in the United States.
While shooting a film near her temporary residence in Georgetown, actress Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) notices dramatic and alarming changes in the behavior of her 12-year-old daughter, Regan (Linda Blair). While Chris initially believes Regan’s erratic symptoms are related to puberty, doctors suspect a lesion on her temporal lobe.
After a series of strange and unexplained supernatural occurrences, Chris calls in Father Karras (Jason Miller), who suspects the girl is possessed by a demonic entity and that they must bring in an exorcist: Father Merrin (Max von Sydow). Turns out Merrin’s opponent isn’t just some run-of-the-mill demon, but Satan himself. Now, the battle for Regan’s soul will be fought in an upstairs bedroom – an old priest and a young priest versus the ultimate evil.
That Creepy Scene:
Deep in the clutches of Satan, Regan violently rapes herself with a crucifix, spraying blood all over her nightgown and screaming, “LET JESUS FUCK YOU! LET JESUS FUCK YOU! LET HIM FUCK YOU!” at the top of her lungs.
Under the possession of the demon, Regan grabs her mother by the hair and jams her face into the bloody mess, screaming “LICK ME! LICK ME!” before bitch-slapping Chris across the room. Chris struggles to get up as her daughter’s head spins around backward. “Do you know what she did? Your cunting daughter? asks the demon.
William Friedkin’s 1973 film, The Exorcist, was nominated for a total of ten Academy Awards, winning two for Best Sound and Best Adapted Screenplay. It is the first horror film to be nominated for Best Picture by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Almost 40 years later, The Exorcist remains one of the best and most effective horror films in the history of cinema. In 2010, the Library of Congress selected Friedkin’s film to be preserved as part of its National Film Registry – alongside other influential horror films like Night of the Living Dead, Alien, and Halloween.
The Devil Inside. The Last Exorcism. The Rite. The Exorcism of Emily Rose. The Possession. There have been countless demonic possession flicks in the spirit of Friedkin’s 1973 film, and not a single one of them has come close to capturing the unsettling, unthinkable danger of The Exorcist.
These films tend to focus on the supernatural elements instead of the human condition, which is ultimately why they fail. In The Exorcist, an innocent young girl is held hostage by the ultimate evil – and you truly feel for Regan and her mother, Chris. Linda Blair and Ellen Burstyn deliver memorable, painfully realistic performances. As her daughter’s condition worsens, you sympathize for Chris and identify with her struggle.
When his mother dies, Father Damien Karras confesses to have lost his faith in God. He suffers greatly – and we feel the conflict inside him between science and religion. The quiet and patient Father Lankester Merrin, however, is resolute in his faith – an ultimate good in the face of unyielding evil. The Exorcist forces us to question – and possibly return to – our faith. In an age of science and information, Friedkin’s film asks us to consider the possibility of a spiritual, mystical explanation for the events in our lives.
With remarkable special effects and make-up by the legendary Dick Smith, and an eerie atmosphere created by Friedkin and cinematographer Owen Roizman, The Exorcist is the scariest film of all time – and one of few horror films to transcend its genre trappings to be considered one of the greatest films ever made.
“Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast; for it is the number of a man; and his number is 666.” – Book of Revelation: Chapter 13, Verse 18
When his wife Katherine’s (Lee Remick) pregnancy ends in a stillbirth in a Rome hospital, U.S. diplomat Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck) is coerced by Father Spiletto (Martin Benson) into substituting the dead child for a newborn whose mother died at the same moment, without telling his wife.
Fast-forward five years, where little Damien’s (Harvey Stephens) nanny commits suicide in front of his entire birthday party. Father Brennan (Patrick G. Troughton) warns Thorn that he has adopted Lucifer’s son – the Antichrist.
Thorn seeks out Bugenhagen (Leo McKern), an exorcist who confirms Damien’s identity as Satan’s son and tells Thorn that the only solution is to kill his adopted son – or else the world will be consumed by Armageddon.
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