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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Bangers n' Mash 60: The Exorcist Series

I've been recording, editing, and posting episodes of the Bangers n' Mash Show for over three years now. For the first time in the show's history, I think we've finally reached the right balance between irrelevant goofiness, thoughtful film criticism, and proper reading of the text. And all it took was a demonic possession.

Yes, while discussing "The Exorcist" and its frequently misbegotten collection of sequels and spin-offs, I think we made my favorite episode of the show. That was unexpected.

I will just say that the original "The Exorcist" is a pretty great horror movie, though it's hard to know if it lives up to its reputation as "the scariest film ever made." As for it's sequels, they range in quality from "Interesting" to "What the hell am I watching?" It makes for a solid 49 minutes worth of audio, at the very least.

The James Bond Report Card will continue later tonight. I haven't given up, I swear. See you again soon.


whitsbrain said...

I've been working like a dog lately so I haven't had a chance to play catch up with your blog.

Your "Exorcist" podcast was fantastic. Your best ever and Bangers and Mash is already one of my favorites. I am looking forward to your James Bond report cards and I am planning to use your Gamera reviews as extras since the damned Blu-Rays have nothing additional on them. As a completist and kaiju nut, I feel compelled to watch all of them. And speaking of compelled, I wrote this back in 2011. My thoughts on "The Exorcist"...

There's no reason for me to try and explain this movie to anyone who hasn't already seen it. Instead, it would be best to mention the effect this movie had on me over the years. I first saw "The Exorcist" as a 10-year old. Me and a friend weren't entirely truthful when we told our parents what movie we were seeing and the person who sold us tickets didn't care that we weren't old enough to see it, either. I remember hearing stories of how someone had died watching the movie and that others had gotten sick. I didn't know if those stories were true, but I think I remember believing them at the time.

Over the years, my mind could only recall flashes of my initial viewing. The green vomit, the "Help Me" scarring on little Regan's stomach, the bed rising and falling. I'm sure I spent 90% of the movie with my eyes covered, but the horrible sounds were enough to make the experience the most frightening thing I can ever recall. This movie really hit me hard and as a kid and as a person of faith, it tweaked my nerves even more. I remember not being able to sleep through the night for months after I saw it. This had such an effect on my little kid brain, I had never re-watched it until last year.

That's when I decided that I was grown up enough to finally watch it again. And you know what? It's still damned scary. This time though, I was amazed at the disturbingly grainy look of the film, the desperation of Chris MacNeil and the decline of her daughter, Regan. Friedkin's direction during the exorcism scenes is suffocating and the battle that Father Merrin and Father Karras have with the demon is incredibly intense. It's nearly overwhelming in its horror.

This is one of the rare occasions when I'll state that my opinion is the correct one. "The Exorcist" is the best and scariest Horror film of all time. (10/10)

whitsbrain said...

I own "Exorcist II" but I've never had the fortitude to watch it. Maybe someday I will. Anyway, here's my 2011 thoughts on "The Exorcist III"...

The way that this film ties into the original "Exorcist" just never quite worked for me. George C. Scott's tormented cop certainly goes through his own private Hell, as the long-thought dead Gemini-killer played by Brad Dourif, returns to kill again.

This is certainly a slow movie but that doesn't mean it's not entertaining. There are a fair number of shocks along with a wealth of some pretty heavy dialogue. The scenes of Scott's Hinderman and Dourif's killer in his asylum cell are bleak and depressing but not really scary. These scenes are also very long and could have been trimmed down and still not lost their effectiveness.

There is one shocking scene when a nurse is attacked that really catches you by surprise and it leaves you wishing there was more of this kind of jump scare in the movie. I'm not a big fan of the jump scare, but this movie could have used more of them. Overall,this seems like more of a heavy crime drama. It gets supernatural at the end, but even that doesn't have the impact that it should given it's "Exorcist" bloodline.(6/10)

Bonehead XL said...

Thanks for the great feedback, Whit, as always. I really enjoyed your recollection on seeing "The Exorcist" for the first time.