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The Exorcist: a terrifying classic celebrates 50 years


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"But what about the rest of us? Most of us aren't priests. Most aren't even Catholic."

I mean, clearly.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The most terrifying part is the medical sequences - that x-Ray machine in particular 

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I suspect I am the only person who didn't find the Exorcist scary.  I also hate the fact that it uses the lovely "tubular bells" for its theme, as it is completely inappropriate music imo.  This so-called horror classic is completely over-rated. 

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On 10/26/2023 at 6:19 AM, Alchopwn said:

I suspect I am the only person who didn't find the Exorcist scary.  I also hate the fact that it uses the lovely "tubular bells" for its theme, as it is completely inappropriate music imo.  This so-called horror classic is completely over-rated. 

Most film critics think it is probably the finest example of the horror genre, and I agree with them (along with Roger Ebert ( The Exorcist movie review & film summary (1973) | Roger Ebert).

I also agree with @Sir Wearer of Hats that the medical sequence brought an extra dimension to an exorcism which is mostly about medieval superstition. 

And the use of Tubular Bells was perfect: there is an unusual change of beat in that excerpt of the music which makes it so catchy and unnerving, and the street scenes with the nuns walking in the wind while it plays - perfect!

I watched it when I was 18 years old, what made it most scary for me was that there were religious people outside the cinema warning us not to go in as we may be inviting the devil into us. It has been the only film where I was scared to turn the light off and go to sleep afterwards. The Christian backlash must have done wonders, publicity wise.

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13 hours ago, pellinore said:

Most film critics think it is probably the finest example of the horror genre, and I agree with them (along with Roger Ebert ( The Exorcist movie review & film summary (1973) | Roger Ebert).

I also agree with @Sir Wearer of Hats that the medical sequence brought an extra dimension to an exorcism which is mostly about medieval superstition. 

And the use of Tubular Bells was perfect: there is an unusual change of beat in that excerpt of the music which makes it so catchy and unnerving, and the street scenes with the nuns walking in the wind while it plays - perfect!

I watched it when I was 18 years old, what made it most scary for me was that there were religious people outside the cinema warning us not to go in as we may be inviting the devil into us. It has been the only film where I was scared to turn the light off and go to sleep afterwards. The Christian backlash must have done wonders, publicity wise.

You are perfectly entitled to your opinion, but I must disagree.  I would certainly agree that The Exorcist is a very popular movie, but it just didn't scare me. It also broke my immersion by using Tubular Bells, as I had been listening to the track by Mike Oldfield prior to seeing the movie and it held no aura of menace to it at all.  After that  the make-up began to look ridiculous and I sat there being bored.

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  • 6 months later...
On 10/24/2023 at 6:22 AM, Sir Wearer of Hats said:

The most terrifying part is the medical sequences - that x-Ray machine in particular 

The scariest part of it is that a guy who later became a murderer was doing the scans. Look up Paul Bateson. 

 

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On 10/26/2023 at 1:19 AM, Alchopwn said:

I suspect I am the only person who didn't find the Exorcist scary.  I also hate the fact that it uses the lovely "tubular bells" for its theme, as it is completely inappropriate music imo.  This so-called horror classic is completely over-rated. 

You're not the only person. I wasn't around when it first came out, but after reading an article about how much it terrified people, I decided to watch it. I found it more comical than scary and ended up skipping through most of it. As for Tubular Bells, it wasn't until I saw the movie that I finally understood why when I played it on my harp, people would ask me to stop because it creeped them out. Shame such lovely music was tainted through association.

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1 hour ago, Indigo888 said:

The scariest part of it is that a guy who later became a murderer was doing the scans. Look up Paul Bateson.

His story is more terrifying than the movies. What a creep.

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On 5/13/2024 at 10:03 PM, Kittens Are Jerks said:

You're not the only person. I wasn't around when it first came out, but after reading an article about how much it terrified people, I decided to watch it. I found it more comical than scary and ended up skipping through most of it. As for Tubular Bells, it wasn't until I saw the movie that I finally understood why when I played it on my harp, people would ask me to stop because it creeped them out. Shame such lovely music was tainted through association.

To be fair, I'm pretty sure that Tubular Bells is played for only a very short amount of time in the movie, and only a very small portion of the whole piece.  I can understand that you and @Alchopwn don't find it scary but I wonder when you saw it and if it was quite a while after it was released.  I remember seeing Halloween for example probably within a year or two of it being released and it was pretty scary, but watching it now after it has been copied and repeated to absolute death by tons of other movies and shows, as well as a stack of not-awesome sequels, I wouldn't guess that people today are that scared by it.  But if all you had watched were movies before 1978 before seeing Halloween, or before 1973 for the Exorcist, I'd suspect it'd have a different impact.

As a side note one thing I like about both these movies is that they don't try to decrease or buffer the horror by randomly throwing in something funny or goofy.  I'm not a giant fan of them but I do like some horror comedies, but it bugs me when a horror movie has something funny or dumb happen after something that could/should be scary, as if they don't want you to 'be too scared' or something.  It's difficult enough to be scary or creepy in a horror movie nowadays so I prefer it unfiltered.

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

To be fair, I'm pretty sure that Tubular Bells is played for only a very short amount of time in the movie, and only a very small portion of the whole piece.

Even though just the intro to Tubular Bells was played, the music gained iconic status thanks to the popularity of the film and many to this day continue to associate the two. It's a very atmospheric piece and I can understand why it might still creep people who've seen the Exorcist.

2 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

I can understand that you and @Alchopwn don't find it scary but I wonder when you saw it and if it was quite a while after it was released. 

The film came out about 25 years before I was born, so yes I saw it long after its release. I was around 9-10 years old when I got around to watching it and laughed through most of it. I loved the devil's twisted sense of humour. But I imagine its special effects were impressive 50 years ago, and audiences not as desensitized as they perhaps are today.

I found a clip of audience reactions when the film first came out. Some were quite extreme.

 

Edited by Kittens Are Jerks
Minor correction.
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15 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

To be fair, I'm pretty sure that Tubular Bells is played for only a very short amount of time in the movie, and only a very small portion of the whole piece.  I can understand that you and @Alchopwn don't find it scary but I wonder when you saw it and if it was quite a while after it was released. 

I first saw it in 1981 when I was 13, on VHS.  It never immersed me enough to make me scared.

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