Taking Sides: William Friedkin's "The Exorcist" vs. Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining"

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This may belong on ILF, but it strkes me that no one really reads ILF, so screw ILF.

While it may seem needlessly pretentious to cite the names of the directors of these two films in the title of this thread, let's remember that "The Shining" was recently re-made as an abortive mini-series, and rumour has it that the same treatment might grace William Peter Blatty's original novel of "The Exorcist". Pardon the pun, but heaven forbid, as I find Friedkin's rendering of it untouchable.

That all said, I find these two films to be the pinacle of "intelligent" cinematic horror, and both still chill me to the bone as much as they did when I first saw them. But the question remains: which is better?

I recently breezed through Mark Kermode's film study of "The Exorcist" (2nd Revised Edition), which goes into slavish detail about the film (how it was made, what took place, what they left out, what various things signify, the controversy/fallout following its release, etc. etc.) If you get obsessed with films like I do, books like these (from the BFI Film Classics series) make for really compelling reading. If only they'd cover more of the films I obsess over. Anyway, that's what revived my interest, prompting this question.

So which is it, campers? Captain Howdy or Delbert Grady? And why do you this so?


Alex in NYC (vassifer), Friday, 16 July 2004 23:48 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Captain Howdy, fer shure.

The Shining is a great movie, but the finale of it, though tense and scary, is basically just another crazy-guy-chases-woman scenerio. The reason that The Exorcist was so great for me was because I had never been scared like that before. And not since, either.

That all said, I can't look down long hallways in old hotels anymore without thinking of the two girls, blood coming out of the elevator, or Bob Geldof sitting in the next room.

Pleasant Plains (Pleasant Plains), Friday, 16 July 2004 23:55 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Bob Geldof?

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Friday, 16 July 2004 23:56 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Of the two, I'd say "The Exorcist" scares me more (having been raised a Catholic -- complete with all the baggage that comes with it -- and having attended a Jesuit high school). For some reason, the film seems more plausible than "The Shining", which is ultimately just a ghost story (albeit a sincerely freaky one).

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Friday, 16 July 2004 23:57 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The Exorcist did nothing for me when I finally saw it. Maybe it's my hostility to religion in general, but the Devil doesn't put the phear into me.

miloauckerman (miloauckerman), Friday, 16 July 2004 23:58 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

See, we're just the opposite on that point. I have nothing but disdain for organized religion today, but the notion of the supernatural scares me considerably more than idiots in hockey masks with machetes (and Freddy Krueger simply makes me laugh derisively).

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Friday, 16 July 2004 23:59 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Bob Geldof

Yeah, The Wall starts out with a long hotel hallway shot, complete with maid turning off her vaccuum cleaner from the pedal's POV.

Pleasant Plains (Pleasant Plains), Saturday, 17 July 2004 00:03 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

That doesn't scare me either.

The supernatural can spook me - I saw The Eye last week and parts of that were terrifying - but religious, specifically Christian, themes don't. The evils and horrors are too specific.

miloauckerman (miloauckerman), Saturday, 17 July 2004 00:04 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I really need to see the Exorcist again to be fair, but the Kubrick fanboy in me is gonna make me go with The Shining for the time being. The Exorcist just made me sleepy the last time I watched it.

AaronHz (AaronHz), Saturday, 17 July 2004 00:17 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Neither is worth much. The Exorcist is exploitation schlock dressed up with a big budget and capable actors. The Shining is dirge for those who "normally wouldn't watch a horror film" to look at and not feel too guilty afterwards (see also - "The Silence of the Lambs").

"The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" or "Night of the Living Dead" poos on either from a very high height.

C-Man (C-Man), Saturday, 17 July 2004 00:20 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

They're entirely different films, though, C-man.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Saturday, 17 July 2004 00:25 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"Texas. .." and "Night of the Living..." both revel in their low-budget shock tactics (and are both wildly effective) but neither claim to be anything more than that.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Saturday, 17 July 2004 00:26 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

So "Night" doesn't actually acknowledge topics as diverse as The Cold War, Civil Rights and Vietnam?

"The Exorcist" and "The Shining" pretend to be superior, intelligent horror films when they are nothing of the sort. I would argue - as would many critics - that "The Exorcist" revels in the sort of low budget shock tactics that would make HG Lewis proud. There's none of that sort of thing in either "Chainsaw" or "Night".

Alex - they are only entirely different films if you're using budget as a way to measure their seperation. "Chainsaw" was released within a year of "The Exorcist" and the two films were grouped together in the UK and the US as examples of the widening gap in screen violence. I would say the main difference between the two is that "Chainsaw" is umpteen times better made ("The Exorcist" has some of the most appalling editing ever seen in an Oscar nominated film, especially during the ending) and features superior set ups and shocks.

C-Man (C-Man), Saturday, 17 July 2004 00:39 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

So "Night" doesn't actually acknowledge topics as diverse as The Cold War, Civil Rights and Vietnam?

Very good point, actually.

"The Exorcist" and "The Shining" pretend to be superior, intelligent horror films...

I don't think they pretend to be anything,....Blame critics and fans who make them out to be possibly more than they're worth, but don't blame the films.

they are only entirely different films if you're using budget as a way to measure their seperation

Well, you say 'budget', I say 'production value'. Despite still being very scary, both of your two films still look fairly cheap.

I would say the main difference between the two is that "Chainsaw" is umpteen times better made

Well here's where we'll disagree. While I love both of your choices, I'd still suggest that both "the Exorcist" and "the Shining" are better WRITTEN than "Night" and "Texas". But hey, that's just my opinion.


Alex in NYC (vassifer), Saturday, 17 July 2004 00:49 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

In terms of what is actually on screen, I think "Chainsaw" is a far better made film than "The Exorcist" - and I would argue that both "Night" and "Chainsaw" are better written films. "The Exorcist" leaves so many gaps - not the least of which is WHO possesses Reagan (in the book it is Captain Howdy, in the film Friedkin never explains) and WHY he has done so. Also - considering the spirits all encompassing power (managing to transform into Jason Miller's mother in a terrible bit of sudden, choppy editing) then it does do a pretty good job of staying tied to a bed and washed away by fake holy water.

"The Shining" is very well made, but it is visually bland. In terms of which films do more for me, visually, I would say "Night" and "Chainsaw" by far, but I was picking just two random examples. "Halloween" is better made - on a skid row budget - than "The Shining" and "The Exorcist" put together. Other much better/ more effective and topical 70s horrors ("The Shining" is 1980 I know);

Martin/ Dawn of the Dead/ Suspiria/ Deep Red/ Alien/ The Hills Have Eyes/ The Last House on the Left...

C-Man (C-Man), Saturday, 17 July 2004 01:05 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"The Shining" 'visually bland'? WTF?

St. Nicholas (Nick A.), Saturday, 17 July 2004 01:07 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Oh - to acknowledge a comment from up above, "The Eye" is indeed a modern masterpiece. Has anyone seen the sequel? You can buy it for peanuts in a nice special ed at my fave Asian importer (www.dddhouse.com) and it's really, really good as well.

C-Man (C-Man), Saturday, 17 July 2004 01:08 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"The Shining" 'visually bland'? WTF?
ah, you beat me to it. WTF indeed!
better elaborate C-man, the hotel, the twins, the blood flood, the hedge maze, room 237, HEEEERE'S JOHNNY! you didn't find any of that striking? Not to mention the cinematography....

AaronHz (AaronHz), Saturday, 17 July 2004 01:14 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The Eye was great up until the last, uh, episode (I don't want to spoil the end for anybody). Everything after they solved her problem was k-lame.

miloauckerman (miloauckerman), Saturday, 17 July 2004 01:27 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

the thai eye film is good but you haev to see it in cinema bcuase at one point a ghost goes oooooh RIGHT BEHIND YOU thanks to dolby suround or wahtever. my cheap ass home dvd setup just doesnt do that.

to get back on topic: i voet for the exorcist. has been some time since i last saw it but from waht i remember the exorcism scenes had a very surehanded cold and bleak strung-out-on-lsd-at-4-in-the-mornign feel to it that i havent seen in any other film realy. shining looks nice and all but it tries too hard and is not scary.

:|, Saturday, 17 July 2004 01:38 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The Exorcist" leaves so many gaps - not the least of which is WHO possesses Reagan (in the book it is Captain Howdy, in the film Friedkin never explains) and WHY he has done so.

If you give a damn, I suggest renting The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen which fills in your "gaps".

Also - considering the spirits all encompassing power (managing to transform into Jason Miller's mother in a terrible bit of sudden, choppy editing) then it does do a pretty good job of staying tied to a bed and washed away by fake holy water.

You're such a literalist.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Saturday, 17 July 2004 01:39 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

To needlessly expound on this further, there is a segment excised from the original version of "The Exorcist" wherein Father Karras and Father Merrin are scene sitting quiety on the stairs, taking a breather from the proceedings. In the book (and in a scene removed from that initial version), Karras ponders aloud why Regan is being targetted. Merrin corrects Karras, suggesting that Regan is not the target at all, but rather her behavior is meant as a means of inspiring despair -- a means of displaying all that is unlovable about mankind (obsenity, violence, vulgarity, etc.) as to suggest that there is no way that God could possibly love us. Friedkin though it was either too preachy or too slow and jettisoned it, whereas writer Blatty felt it was the central core message of the film (many has criticized the film for being Christian propaganda -- which is rather odd, considering Billy Graham practically declared a fatwa on it for being the work of the devil).

And Captain Howdy is the Devil, by the way (how you missed that is beyond fathoming).

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Saturday, 17 July 2004 02:14 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Actually I hate to say this but C-Man is partially right. For their budgets, TCM and NOTLD are incredibly well-made movies, and the effort put into them in some ways exceed that put into The Excorcist and the Shining.

But as far as big-budget hollywood horror films go, The Shining and The Exorcist are about as good as it gets. C-man also forgets that those films have socio-cultural as well. The Exorcist is from a time when religion had faded largely from public conciousness, and when church attendance was lower than it had been before. The religious themes and the priest's struggle with faith in the film reflect this. In some ways I think the Shining might be Kubrick's oblique comment on TV and media saturated culture. There's a lot of references to movies and television in the film ("here's Johnny," "i know all about cannibalism, i saw it on tv" "my wife is quite the horror movie fan"). Notice also that the horror scenes are very subjective and hallucinatory, the line between fantasy and real supernatural events blurred (especially the bartender scene). danny torrance may truly be psychic, but who's to say that he isn't seeing his father's drunken hallucinations and his mother's horror movie- inspired ones?

(BTW that dog-man in the Shining is a remant from the book version. In the novel the man is the ghost of the hotel owner's lover. He's wearing a dog costume because the party in the ballroom is a costume party. In the movie they left out all that and the inclusion of the dog-man is made inexplicable, which i think actually makes it creepier than the novel.)

latebloomer (latebloomer), Saturday, 17 July 2004 04:18 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Was I talking out my ass there or what?

latebloomer (latebloomer), Saturday, 17 July 2004 04:34 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

In the movie they left out all that and the inclusion of the dog-man is made inexplicable, which i think actually makes it creepier than the novel.

Oh SO OTM. That one particular scene more than scared the bejesus out of me -- I suppose just because of the sheer incongruity of it all. I always thought Wendy must be thinking: "WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?" when she gazes down that hall. Still, in terms of single images that STILL give me the fear, nothing compares to.....

http://images.google.com/images?q=tbn:17XuHEhL5SgJ:http://www.qtf.info/captainhowdy/wallpaper/EXORCIST_Howdy_800x600.jpg

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Saturday, 17 July 2004 04:44 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

...flashed fleetingly on the screen.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Saturday, 17 July 2004 04:45 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Little Danny today....

http://www.texaschainsawmassacre.net/DannyLloyd.jpg

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Saturday, 17 July 2004 04:48 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Interesting comparison. It's often said that Kubrick is cold, or that his films "fail on the human level," and in a way they do. Certainly The Shining is a film that all but totally throws away its actors, turning Jack Nicholson into more of a caricature than he already was, and turning Shelly Duvall into irritating hysteria personified. Kubrick can afford to do this. He knew from the beginning that his movie would work without characters and without performances. You could plug, say, Vince Vaughn into Nicholson's role and, say, Andie MacDowell into Duvall's role, and The Shining would still be pretty much the same movie.

The Exorcist may be an even more extreme example of this syndrome -- all of its performances, considered without the central, extreme horror that powers the movie, are ham-fests. Watch it a scene at a time, or twice in a row, and it's laughable. Oh! the tortured mother and oh! the tortured priest and oh! the other *really* tortured priest... if it weren't so scary, it would be the most lampooned movie in history.

But it's not; neither of them are. Both of them depend so purely on an indefinable psychological element -- call it "horror," call it "style," call it whatever you like -- that they both work in spite of their clear drawbacks.

I pick The Exorcist as the scarier of the two because it preys more on my religious upbringing. I know people who are far more scared by The Shining, and I can't explain why any more than they can. "Scared" is a really complex and person emotion.

Kenan Hebert (kenan), Saturday, 17 July 2004 05:52 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Maybe it's because the events depicted in The Shining are more isolated and circumstantially specific (i.e. if you don't live in or around The Overlook Hotel, chances are you'll be just fine), whereas the problems and afflictions depicted in The Exorcist could happen anywhere/anytime/to anyone, etc.....maybe even YOU!

Muahahahahaha!

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Saturday, 17 July 2004 06:03 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Maybe, but it's probably more to do with the devil. The devil isn't really in The Shining -- ghosts, maybe, but they never talked about ghosts in church when I was a kid. It was all about the devil.

Kenan Hebert (kenan), Saturday, 17 July 2004 06:06 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Well, that's kinda my point upthread. As scary as The Shining is (and it is, haterz!), it's still ultimately just a ghost story, whereas the Devil is (arguably) everywhere.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Saturday, 17 July 2004 06:07 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Haha -- that's it! You're either the type of person who's afraid of ghosts (more secular upbringing, possibly non-commital but vaguely paranoid protestant), or a person who's afraid of the devil (more religious upbringing, either more fundamentalist Protestant or Catholic of any flavor).

Kenan Hebert (kenan), Saturday, 17 July 2004 06:08 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I wonder -- do American horror movies scare other cultures at all? Would a Muslim be freaked out by The Exorcist -- not offended, but genuinely freaked out? I somehow doubt it.

Kenan Hebert (kenan), Saturday, 17 July 2004 06:16 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Maybe it's because the events depicted in The Shining are more isolated and circumstantially specific (i.e. if you don't live in or around The Overlook Hotel, chances are you'll be just fine), whereas the problems and afflictions depicted in The Exorcist could happen anywhere/anytime/to anyone, etc.....maybe even YOU!

On the surface though, it seems to me that (haunted hotel aside, the end result is the same) someone being holed up in the wintertime and getting cabin fever, going completely insane and trying to kill his/her family is more likely to happen than actually being possessed by the devil. But I've never been religious so Kenan's probably right about that one. I guess it depends on how you look at it.

AaronHz (AaronHz), Saturday, 17 July 2004 06:17 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I wonder -- do American horror movies scare other cultures at all? Would a Muslim be freaked out by The Exorcist -- not offended, but genuinely freaked out? I somehow doubt it.

Kermode alludes to several signifiers in the film that make use of the islamic call-to-prayer popping up at seamingly incongruous points in the film (most prominently in the very beginning scene, at the Iraqi archaelogical dig, and at the very tail end of the film), allegedly meant to imply the universality/cross-faith struggle between 'good' and 'evil'.....y'know, if ya buy that sorta stuff. But would someone of a different faith be as affected? Probably by the imagery and horror aspects of the film (a demonic little girl stabbing a bloody crucifix into her vagina while speaking in a scary voice is pretty jarring, regardless of your particular faith, I'd reckon), but possibly not by the much-debated moral/ethical/theological message of the film.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Saturday, 17 July 2004 06:24 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"...someone being holed up in the wintertime and getting cabin fever, going completely insane and trying to kill his/her family is more likely to happen than actually being possessed by the devil."

The Exorcist was partially based on an (alledgedly) true case from the forties surrounding the "posession" of an adolescent boy.

latebloomer (latebloomer), Saturday, 17 July 2004 06:31 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The MT.Ranier case.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Saturday, 17 July 2004 06:32 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

...allegedly meant to imply the universality/cross-faith struggle between 'good' and 'evil'...

Hmmm... that's an excellent thought, and it makes me rethink my question. The horror of The Exorcist is rooted in religion, for sure. The Catholic Church endorsed the movie when it came out, and encouraged people to see it to witness the horrors the devil can bring. Sadistic? Of course. Catholic? Sincerely. But good and evil does cut across cultures, doesn't it?

Kenan Hebert (kenan), Saturday, 17 July 2004 06:33 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"...someone being holed up in the wintertime and getting cabin fever, going completely insane and trying to kill his/her family is more likely to happen than actually being possessed by the devil."
The Exorcist was partially based on an (alledgedly) true case from the forties surrounding the "posession" of an adolescent boy.

-- latebloomer (posercore24...), July 17th, 2004.

The MT.Ranier case.
-- Alex in NYC (vassife...), July 17th, 2004."

indeed:

ihttp://www.rameysrealm.com/exorcist.htm

latebloomer (latebloomer), Saturday, 17 July 2004 06:44 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

But good and evil does cut across cultures, doesn't it?

That's certainly the implication. After all, the demon Pazuzu (seen in the form of a grinning, priapic stone idol in the beginning scene) is in Iraq and is of Sumarian origin, I believe (side note: I wonder if that location is still there? Or was it bombed into infernal smithereenies?)

http://www.qtf.info/captainhowdy/wallpaper/EXORCIST_pazuzu800x600.jpg

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Saturday, 17 July 2004 06:56 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I thought that was Cthulu. I guess I was getting my demons confused.

Anyhoo... be extra sure to put your headohnes in for this site.

http://theexorcist.warnerbros.com/cmp/thefilm-fr.html

Kenan Hebert (kenan), Saturday, 17 July 2004 07:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The Exorcist was partially based on an (alledgedly) true case from the forties surrounding the "posession" of an adolescent boy.

Even so. Isn't a cabin fever scenario still more likely to happen, or am I being obtuse?

AaronHz (AaronHz), Saturday, 17 July 2004 07:04 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The so-called cabin fever in the movie was brought on by ghosts, so yes, you're bineg obtuse. It's hoodoo either way.

Kenan Hebert (kenan), Saturday, 17 July 2004 07:10 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Cripes....even those trailers give me the fuckin' heebeejeebies.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Saturday, 17 July 2004 07:12 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The sound in the movie is genius... very deserving of the Oscar it won. And, I suspect, inspired by demons from hell. But like I said, I had that religious upbringing.

Kenan Hebert (kenan), Saturday, 17 July 2004 07:17 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Did the ghosts bring on the cabin fever or did the cabin fever bring on the ghosts? I'm trying to argue a pointless point because I'm bored- listen to me.

blah blah. Obviously I know the hotel was haunted etc. Did the ghosts pose as much of a threat (or any at all) compared to the Jack Nicholson character once he lost it? People going crazy and killing people happens ALL THE TIME. I'm not just talking in the context of The Shining, here. Possession, well maybe it happened sometime in the 40's...humor me here, I'm only being half serious!

AaronHz (AaronHz), Saturday, 17 July 2004 07:18 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

No, I get you 100%... I've seen the damn thing 50 times, and I like it quite a lot, and yes the hotel is haunted, and the very end of the movie -- that zoom-in on the old picture -- makes it pretty clear that some force from the past was inhabiting our poor, alcoholic, abusive Jack.

Kenan Hebert (kenan), Saturday, 17 July 2004 07:23 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Wasn't it built on an Indian burial ground? Am I remembering that right?

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Saturday, 17 July 2004 07:25 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

it also includes a short track from one of the weirdest album of the 70's, Wind Harp's "Songs from the Hill".

wow thanks -- some quick googling makes this record sound totally fascinating

les yeux sans aerosmith (underrated aerosmith albums I have loved), Friday, 16 July 2010 13:43 (eight years ago) Permalink

I find the exorcist pretty hilarious. Impossible for me to conceive of it scaring anyone. I'm catholic btw.

Humbert Humberto Suazo (jim in glasgow), Friday, 16 July 2010 13:48 (eight years ago) Permalink

do you find any movies scary and if so which ones

les yeux sans aerosmith (underrated aerosmith albums I have loved), Friday, 16 July 2010 14:01 (eight years ago) Permalink

wld love to front but exorcist scared shit out of me, and prob still would.

shining doesn't tho.

Everytime I hit 'submit post' the internet gets dumber (darraghmac), Friday, 16 July 2010 14:02 (eight years ago) Permalink

i love the exorcist so much it hurts

janice (surm), Friday, 16 July 2010 14:03 (eight years ago) Permalink

best thing about the exorcist is the old cop tho.

Everytime I hit 'submit post' the internet gets dumber (darraghmac), Friday, 16 July 2010 14:04 (eight years ago) Permalink

shld have been him and von sydow in the bucket list for ultimate win

Everytime I hit 'submit post' the internet gets dumber (darraghmac), Friday, 16 July 2010 14:05 (eight years ago) Permalink

I occasionally find films scary. More usual for me to find a film a little creepy. The shining has its moments in that respect.

Humbert Humberto Suazo (jim in glasgow), Friday, 16 July 2010 14:09 (eight years ago) Permalink

Holy crap that page with the looped sound effects. DISTURBING.

Official Cheese-Filled Snack of NASCAR since 2002 (B.L.A.M.), Friday, 16 July 2010 15:39 (eight years ago) Permalink

I enjoy the Exorcist, it's a great movie, but I've never found it particularly frightening/scary, even as a kid. I dunno if this is just because I don't identify at all with all the Catholic/Satan silliness (I'm Jewish) or what. The Shining, on the other hand, is truly menacing and seems to resonate on a deeper, more profound psychological level. Like, there's nothing in the Exorcist for me to be afraid of - this is the worst the Devil can do? Make a little girl levitate and vomit guacamole? what's so threatening about that? Satan's kinda a pussy if that's all he can manage... by contrast, the Shining is about a building that basically eats people, about family members becoming murderous nutjobs etc.

Agree that the music in both of these is really key to their effectiveness tho.

Major Lolzer (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 16 July 2010 16:19 (eight years ago) Permalink

Hey I've never seen the Exorcist. I know there are a number of different versions out there. Which would you recommend watching first?

Beach Pomade (Adam Bruneau), Saturday, 17 July 2010 14:52 (eight years ago) Permalink

They're both kind of shit, The Shining isn't a patch on the novel, I quite liked the song at the end though. The Exorcist is hilariously dated to watch now. If you want a horror film that is dated and still has the capacity to fuck with you long after you've watched it, check out Brian Yuzna's Society.

Darramouss, Sunday, 18 July 2010 02:00 (eight years ago) Permalink

xpost to Shakey:
The theological stuff doesn't really get me either (or seem terribly important to the movie as much more than a plot device), but not being a Catholic or religious I can't really say anything about it. I'd love to hear/read more from a Catholic perspective though. But what does work for me is the psychological angle- seeing someone you know and love become a totally different person is some seriously frightening shit. Anyone who's ever lost a loved one to mental illness or Alzheimer's can tell you that. And it works on a lot of parental anxieties as well; even though I'm just as far from those as for the religious stuff, the hospital scenes are heartbreaking, and the bit at the dinner party ("You're going to die up there") is somehow way more upsetting than the overtly Satanic stuff (mother, cocks, hell etc).

Plus, Friedkin's way less patient than Kubrick and more willing to OH HOLY SHIT BEHIND YOU IN THE THEATER BLARGH

a black white asian pine ghost who is fake (Telephone thing), Sunday, 18 July 2010 03:29 (eight years ago) Permalink

note to self: thesaurus. "stuff" three times, jesus H

a black white asian pine ghost who is fake (Telephone thing), Sunday, 18 July 2010 03:31 (eight years ago) Permalink

Oh and Society! Yes! Nice to see someone else remembers that movie, it deserves way more attention than it ever got.

a black white asian pine ghost who is fake (Telephone thing), Sunday, 18 July 2010 03:33 (eight years ago) Permalink

Hell yes! Seriously couldn't eat anything wet looking for days after I saw that.

Darramouss, Sunday, 18 July 2010 03:36 (eight years ago) Permalink

by contrast, the Shining is about a building that basically eats people, about family members becoming murderous nutjobs etc.

Exorcist is also about family members becoming murderous nutjobs tbqf. Little girl straight-up murders Burke (director of mom's movie) by throwing him out a window.

Phil D., Sunday, 18 July 2010 22:55 (eight years ago) Permalink

I'm completely a-religious, but you don't have to believe in the devil to find some kinds of evil scary, and to me the movie is just incredible in the way it shows a personification of pure, distilled, absolute and absolutely terrifying evil. And Shakey if one of your family started levitating and vomiting guacamole i'm willing to bet you'd be pretty terrified. The things that happen are not just a bit weird or unnatural, they are an absolute violation of the natural order of things. Ya cannae break the laws of physics - but this entity can. Admittedly for it to just focus on a suburban family rather than fucking up the whole world seems a bit odd - but even that oddness, that unpredictability, is disturding in itself.

Damn it's bedtime now and i've got this film in my head ;_;

ledge, Sunday, 18 July 2010 23:15 (eight years ago) Permalink

"Do you know," he said, "you interest me immensely? You think, then, that we do not understand the real nature of evil?"

"No, I don't think we do. We over-estimate it and we under-estimate it. We take the very numerous infractions of our social 'bye-laws'--the very necessary and very proper regulations which keep the human company together--and we get frightened at the prevalence of 'sin' and 'evil.' But this is really nonsense. Take theft, for example. Have you any horror at the thought of Robin Hood, of the Highland caterans of the seventeenth century, of the moss-troopers, of the company promoters of our day?

"Then, on the other hand, we underrate evil. We attach such an enormous importance to the 'sin' of meddling with our pockets (and our wives) that we have quite forgotten the awfulness of real sin."

"And what is sin?" said Cotgrave.

"I think I must reply to your question by another. What would your feelings be, seriously, if your cat or your dog began to talk to you, and to dispute with you in human accents? You would be overwhelmed with horror. I am sure of it. And if the roses in your garden sang a weird song, you would go mad. And suppose the stones in the road began to swell and grow before your eyes, and if the pebble that you noticed at night had shot out stony blossoms in the morning?

"Well, these examples may give you some notion of what sin really is."

(Arthur Machen, The White People)

ledge, Sunday, 18 July 2010 23:19 (eight years ago) Permalink

GODDAMNIT I just had to clean my teeth turned away from the sink 'cause I was too scared to have the door of the bathroom behind me! I saw this movie once! When I was 21! 15 years ago!

ledge, Sunday, 18 July 2010 23:28 (eight years ago) Permalink

despite a background of a kind of piecemeal protestantism / agnosticism, The Exorcist hits me right in the fear core like The Shining doesn't. I thank an obsession with books on 'true life' paranormal activities from age ~10-13. The tale of the possessed guy who had to stop his car in the middle of nowhere because his personal demon was urging him to kill himself by crashing it gives me a funny little tingle still.

Merdeyeux, Sunday, 18 July 2010 23:34 (eight years ago) Permalink

The Overlook Hotel is not really populated by humans. Everyone in the movie feels a bit spectral. There's no one to latch on to.

kenan, Monday, 19 July 2010 00:42 (eight years ago) Permalink

I know, I know... rote criticism of Kubrick. He's too cold, he disregards the actors in favor of his screenplays, and yada and yada. But The Shining is probably the best argument for this POV that is so often blanketed over all of his films.

kenan, Monday, 19 July 2010 00:45 (eight years ago) Permalink

OTOH, seen from a detached POV, The Exorcist is hilarious. The acting is so hammy, it should be glazed in honey and served at Christmas.

kenan, Monday, 19 July 2010 00:50 (eight years ago) Permalink

that, and the fact that we're secretly all crossing our fingers that shelley long gets the axe before the movie's even half done

Everytime I hit 'submit post' the internet gets dumber (darraghmac), Monday, 19 July 2010 00:52 (eight years ago) Permalink

The Shining is great. Always found The Exorcist sorta boring.

is breads of india still tite (admrl), Monday, 19 July 2010 00:54 (eight years ago) Permalink

They're both kind of shit

I mostly agree with this :/

RIP la petite mort (acoleuthic), Monday, 19 July 2010 00:57 (eight years ago) Permalink

burstyn's over-acting grates a little, but all in all the performances in the exorcist are pretty good imo.

Everytime I hit 'submit post' the internet gets dumber (darraghmac), Monday, 19 July 2010 00:58 (eight years ago) Permalink

I suppose it's hard to fuck with Max von Sydow. Agreed.

kenan, Monday, 19 July 2010 01:00 (eight years ago) Permalink

Then again, putting him in it in the first place seems like a cheesy move. Like Friedkin assumed (correctly) that he would be automatic gravitas.

kenan, Monday, 19 July 2010 01:01 (eight years ago) Permalink

Hey I've never seen the Exorcist. I know there are a number of different versions out there. Which would you recommend watching first?

The original theatrical release. There's also "The Version You've Never Seen", which came out in 2001 I think, but don't see that first. It adds a couple of good scenes, like Megan in the Drs office and a theological conversation on the stairs between the two priests. But it really blows the ending.

kenan, Monday, 19 July 2010 01:05 (eight years ago) Permalink

Friedkin assumed (correctly) that he would be automatic gravitas.

well, y'know- casting is casting is casting

Everytime I hit 'submit post' the internet gets dumber (darraghmac), Monday, 19 July 2010 01:17 (eight years ago) Permalink

Casting Hackman as Popeye Doyle took a lot more stones.

kenan, Monday, 19 July 2010 01:22 (eight years ago) Permalink

casting popeye's girlfriend in the shining bringing us back full circle.

Everytime I hit 'submit post' the internet gets dumber (darraghmac), Monday, 19 July 2010 01:25 (eight years ago) Permalink

HA!

kenan, Monday, 19 July 2010 01:25 (eight years ago) Permalink

just wanted to echo the love for Society - amazing movie

Major Lolzer (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 19 July 2010 15:31 (eight years ago) Permalink

The Overlook Hotel is not really populated by humans. Everyone in the movie feels a bit spectral. There's no one to latch on to.

This is the key to the real horror of this movie, something overlooked by people that just see a relative lack of gore and murders. The scary part of this movie is the atmosphere it creates; it's otherworldly, it's surreal, it's kind of displaced from time and space. The Physical Cosmologies write up painstakingly details all the visual themes - subtle and infamous - that come together to create an atmosphere that is truly supernatural.

http://www.mstrmnd.com/log/802

http://www.mstrmnd.com/files/PDVD_076.jpg
http://www.mstrmnd.com/files/PDVD_102.jpg

Beach Pomade (Adam Bruneau), Monday, 19 July 2010 16:34 (eight years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

Saw The Exorcist in a theatre tonight. Thirty-eight years after first seeing it, I still have to cover my eyes a lot of the time. What I like more and more is the between-scare-scenes stuff; Ellen Burstyn walking around Georgetown while Mike Oldfield plays is excellent. It was Friedkin's recut tonight, which I don't like as much as the orignal, spider-walk excepted. The extra inserts are clumsy, and I seem to remember a quiet, atmospheric ending--more Oldfield--instead of the title coming up right away, underneath thunderous music.

clemenza, Tuesday, 1 November 2011 01:52 (six years ago) Permalink

two years pass...
four months pass...

The Shining is the great film of the two, but I can think of few other horror film performances that pin me down as much as Ellen Burstyn's in Exorcist.

Eric H., Saturday, 7 March 2015 02:53 (three years ago) Permalink

She's great. I love her awkwardness and embarrassment, and the way she phrases the question, when she asks "How do you go about getting an exorcism?"

clemenza, Saturday, 7 March 2015 14:29 (three years ago) Permalink

otm re burstyn but all the performances far better in exorcist, but as stated upthread Kubrick wasn't making a human movie

post you had fecund thoughts about (darraghmac), Saturday, 7 March 2015 16:07 (three years ago) Permalink

nobody needs more of me on this, but duvall hugely underrated by boys with a narrow frequency tolerance. kid good too.

difficult listening hour, Saturday, 7 March 2015 16:23 (three years ago) Permalink

(i've never seen the exorcist, but that last perlstein book practically had a shot-by-shot)

difficult listening hour, Saturday, 7 March 2015 16:24 (three years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

I was trying to figure out what tacky-looking ripoff of The Exorcist the gay bar was showing with the sound off last night.

After about 10 minutes I realized it was The Exorcist.

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Friday, 9 February 2018 15:51 (eight months ago) Permalink

lmao

I prefer it to The Shining tbh but that's probably cuz catholic

Simon H., Friday, 9 February 2018 15:55 (eight months ago) Permalink

I lol'd a couple times, esp at BVM statue w/ monster bosom

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Friday, 9 February 2018 15:56 (eight months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

"la plume de ma tante"

velko, Saturday, 24 February 2018 06:44 (seven months ago) Permalink

Still used as an epithet amongst the bros mac

Planck Blather (darraghmac), Saturday, 24 February 2018 19:21 (seven months ago) Permalink


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