The Reviewing God Named Vern looks at the EXORCIST: The Version You’ve Never Seen Before!!!

Hey folks, Harry here with a look at THE EXORCIST: THE VERSION YOU’VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE that has opened up in over 600 screens across the country…. Now, some of you good folks are concerned that it will never play in your little neck of the woods… Well, this rerelease is being handled in a ‘platform’ manner. What this means is this… between now and the middle of October, you will see THE EXORCIST open on more and more screens nationwide… the word has it, that it’ll be on around 2000 screens when all is said and done. Meanwhile, the reports I’m getting from this release thus far is that all nighttime screenings in San Diego have already sold out (according to ‘surfbrat’) I just got back in Austin from the World Premiere of this version… Which is actually a bit different than the test marketed film that played in Austin. But more on that later… Here’s Vern… now be really afraid… he’s scary…


Dear Harry and friends. Last night I went to a promotional screening of the big movie for this coming weekend. Now it is not often that ol’ Vern is allowed to see a picture before its official release, so I decided to throw you boys a review and see if it sticks. I hope you are willing and able to share it with all your fine readers.

Now, alot of motherfuckers are familiar with the 1973 William Friedkin directed Catholicsploitation picture known as THE EXORCIST. But are you familiar with THE EXORCIST: THE VERSION YOU’VE NEVER SEEN?

The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen BeforeWell, yeah, I guess you are, if you have TV or know how to read. But as for you illiterates and hippies out there, here is my review of the picture. By the way if you are an illiterate please have somebody read this to you out loud otherwise it’s not gonna make any fucking sense, just a bunch of Xs and Os as far as you’re concerned. And if you’re a hippie please stop wearing the patchouli, that shit reeks in my opinion. Just my two cents.

Now to The Exorcist. What this is, is a special new theatrical type version of the original picture. They took some of the good parts out, added a bunch of new parts, spruced up the soundtrack and all that type of garbage. Same deal they did with the star warses back in about ’95 or ’97 or who knows when. The special editions.

What the twist is here, is that this is not called a special edition. Nor is it an anniversary edition, because who the fuck wants to see the 17th anniversary edition of The Exorcist. Also it is not a director’s cut, because why in fuck’s name would William Friedkin want to brag about directing a version that is not necessarily any better or worse than the original. Instead it is called The Exorcist: The Version You’ve Never Seen Before, because I guess maybe the title department over at Warner Brothers is on strike or something I don’t really know how to explain it. Maybe ask harry knowles about that one he has the inside scoop on alot of stuff.

If you’re not familiar with The Exorcist let me tell you what it is about. You see there is a big time archaeological dig going down in Iraq. Meanwhile back in the states there is this famous actress who is filming a movie in washington dc. And you can imagine where it goes from there. There is an exorcist who comes in, for example.

Well maybe I am not explaining it that well but here’s the point. Alot of individuals seem to think that this is one of the scariest movies of all time. In fact back in 1973 when it came out, in the Version You Have Seen Several Times At Least, there were individuals screaming their lungs out and fainting in the theater left and right. People had never seen a horror film like this before, one with big production values and slick direction and acting, but also a little girl ramming a crucifix into herself and saying nasty shit that would make a motherfucker like me blush. America wasn’t prepared for that, but they sure enjoyed it. The shock scenes are still pretty effective today so you can imagine what it was like back then. I will never forget the first time I saw The Exorcist at the historic Cinerama theater in Seattle Washington. As the story unfolded, you could feel the audience winding up like a spring, getting tenser and tenser. When Reagan’s head spun around, there were!
so many gasps and shrieks you could feel the walls shake. When the movie ended, no one moved a muscle. Everyone sat still and silent for the entire credits. I had never seen a whole audience stay until the end of the credits. Then when the lights went on it was still silent, you could hear a pin drop. I got up and I realized that every single person in the theater besides me had fainted. They were all unconscious, so I went around and checked a few pockets, and back then popcorn didn’t cost so damn much so that score went a long way at the snack bar.

Well okay, that story may be exaggerated a little bit, I can’t remember for sure I have had some rough times since then so, you know, sometimes when you’re remembering something, you start to change things around a little, as far as — well, the whole story is bullshit. But here’s my point. Only Catholics think this movie is really that scary. But it is pretty good.

Anyway there are alot of reasons to go see The Exorcist The Version You’ve Never Seen Before. If you are a big fan of the original you will have fun loudly pointing out to the other people in the theater which parts you think are new. One hint: be careful in the Iraq section, boys. Alot of people seem to think that is new but I don’t think so. Every time I watch it at home I think, “That’s right, I forgot this part was this long.”

The main addition that people will be talking about is one having to do with Reagan coming down the stairs. This was included on the documentary on the dvd but it has been all computered up here in a very effective way that you will enjoy. I mean I don’t want to guarantee it or anything but unless you hate quality, yes I think you will like this added scene. There are also a few “scary” frames digitally added into the picture, little scary faces and statues and what not. This is basically overkill but I liked it anyway. One of the most famous things about the movie is the “subliminal” creepy images that go by real fast. Alot of morons think these are subliminal, but if they really were then you wouldn’t notice them. That is the whole point of subliminal, pal. I got news for you. I saw it. You saw it. We all saw it. It is not subliminal. It’s just editing.

Still it is fun because people can pretend they are the only ones who noticed it. I am willing to bet that you will hear someone in the theater say out loud, “Did you see that?” or “Look!” It is a similar phenomenon to when they had the 3-D michael jackson picture over there in disneyland. The little fuzzy butterfly man flies up and since it’s in 3-D, it’s like he flies right directly up to you and looks in your face. And then every jackass in the theater turns to his buddy and says, “It just flew right up directly in front of me and looked in my face!”

There are other newly added scenes that are not as horror oriented but are interesting to see, including an earlier visit to the doctor. But this kind of screws with the picture a little bit, because now I really have no clue why they bring Reagan to the hospital. It’s like one minute she’s this bubbly little girl, next minute they think she has brain damage.

I think there were bits cut out, too. I gotta be honest, I am not some freako who watches the movie every day and has it memorized. So I don’t know for sure which parts were changed. But I am pretty sure these individuals shortened what was previously the creepiest scene in the movie. I remember the cat scan scene being some real nightmarish shit. It puts you in the point of view of Reagan sitting inside this alien machine going cha chung cha chung cha chung and you’re thinking holy jesus, get me out of here. That’s the way I remember it anyway, but now it is very short and less unpleasant. I think this is a mistake because, to me, horror movies are supposed to be scary. In my opinion. So the creepy parts should be left in. Remember that next time Friedkin. This is your last warning.

Anyway, whatever good or bad they may have done with all this fiddling and shenanigans, there is only one difference to this new version that really matters. And that is that you can see it in a theater, on the big screen. Or “silver screen” as I like to call it. Because in the old days there was a different kind of screen, it was more expensive than what they use in the multiplexes, but it actually had a certain amount of silver in the surface, and this was a more reflective type of surface that works much better especially for 3-D films and what not, well it is a long story but anyway point is I call it the silver screen. On the silver screen it is a very different experience to see the movie because it’s not only big, not only loud, not only with good sound. But also with an audience.

Seeing it with an audience really changed the whole tone of the movie for me. Not really in a good way, but in an interesting way. You see, now everybody laughs whenever Reagan says something really obscene. Which takes away some of the creepiness. Also, there are alot of comments in the movie about ritalin, and to the audience I saw the movie with, that was the funniest thing they ever saw. Ha ha ha. Har har har. It was the ’70s it was a more innocent time, get over it people jesus. Anyway to me, watching the movie alone is a more solemn experience. With a theater you are able to laugh at the absurdity of some of the situations they set up, like the doctors using every bit of science to explain away what we in the audience know is supernatural (well, catholic).

Also if you are a straight guy who is hard up for some affection, I recommend bringing a young catholic girl to the picture. This is a good opportunity for her to grab onto your arm real tight, or what not. I heard some people who were getting a little too upset by the movie. They were laughing at the dated parts and trying to be above it but you could tell they were just trying to talk themselves out of pissing their pants. Because they kept saying shit like, “Stupid doctors! It’s not a lesion!” and “What is he doing? HE’S GETTING TOO CLOSE!”

Anyway if it’s a movie you like, this is a worthwhile experience, at least to a true film enjoyer such as myself, harry, moriarty, or you. Motherfuckers like us, we know the deal. It is like sometimes you want to see shakespeare straight up, sometimes you want to see it on motorcycles (Titus). Sometimes you want the exorcist to be scary as all fuck, sometimes you want it to be a fun time at the movies.

So if you are ready for the halloween season to officially begin, you might want to go see this one on friday. I mean you could do worse, in my opinion. for example, Repossessed starring Linda Blair, Leslie Nielson and Jesse the Body Ventura. It is not very funny or scary, don’t rent it. Also this Carrie Anne Moss picture red planet which has an ad at the beginning of exorcist. From the looks if it it’s not gonna be pretty. I don’t know about you guys but I don’t trust that robot. Just call it a hunch man I think the robot is gonna figure in pretty big in that one there.

thanks guys.


Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/7009

View the archived Ain’t-It-Cool-News Talkback

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 7:53 a.m. CST

    “Did IQs Drop Sharply While I was posessed?”

    by Jed

    i’d like to sleep but i’m jumping after every unexpected bit of ambient noise finds it’s way into my ears. little fuckin’ grimmacing mime… in my field of vision… sounds of a leathery wallet being bent… cracking … duh…

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 8:07 a.m. CST

    Ida know, there was some new stuff with these things and then…

    by geekzapoppin

    This is one of the worst written “reviews” I’ve ever read on this site. When people try to be cool and use “fuck” every other word, it only serves to make them look unintelligent. So did he like it or not? I couldn’t tell. There was too much of “well, there were these new fuckin things and they were good, but not that good, and they added that other shit too.” I think Harry should stop letting Keanu write reviews.

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 8:26 a.m. CST

    Exorcist 2000: The Group Hug Version

    by Veidt

    The more I hear Blatty talk about this “version I’ve never seen before”, the more I want to bypass it altogether. Specifically I hate the fact that he felt so obliged to reinstate the original, upbeat ending for the sake of anyone out there maybe thinking that the film wasn’t totally on the side of good. To me, it’s always been very obvious that the forces of good do triumph at the end of The Exorcist. In the closing moments when Reagan reacts to the sight of Father Dyer’s priest collar with a spontaneous kiss on the cheek, it’s a touching moment that was a clear statement of hope and said everything that needed to said on the behalf that Father Karras’ sacrifice was not at all in vain. I don’t need to see Dyer and Kinderman walking away arm in arm to feel “good” about The Exorcist. Hell, I’m surprised that Blatty didn’t insist that the spirits of Karras and Merrin be brought back a la Return of the Jedi to look on smiling as Dyer and Kinderman walk away. I guess if enough people don’t “get” that The Exorcist is really a positive, upbeat experience this time around, that ending will be the calling card of the next “version you’ve never seen”. I’ll check out this version eventually, but for me the definitive version will always be the original – the one that saw fit to respect the intelligence of the audience and not spell out and underline every point that was already implicit in the material. And better yet was content to let viewers have their own individual take on the film.

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 8:31 a.m. CST

    Your Mother sucks cocks in hell!

    by SnifflesQ

    Words to live by, baby. Words to live by.

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 8:49 a.m. CST

    The Exorcist-TVYNS

    by MovieBuff

    First of all, I’d like to point out that “The Exorcist” came out in 1973 (27 years ago) not 17 like your reviewer states.

    I also don’t appreciate his bad language (is he trying to compete with Linda Blair?). I’m sure there are some younger readers here who could do without it.

    A friend of mine is a writer and he had the opportunity to interview both Linda Blair and William Peter Blatty in New York last week. Your reviewer says he thinks some parts were cut out of the new version, but in the interviews Blatty and Blair say that William Friedkin’s main concern was to show the ORIGINAL version of the film (which was trimmed to keep it under 2 hours by the studio). Friedkin has only expanded the film and tweeked the soundtrack to show audiences what he has always wanted them to see. Perhaps it should be titled “The Exorcist-The Unabridged Version”.

    By the way, true Exorcist fans know that the true “sequel” is “The Exorcist III: Legion”, written, produced, and directed by the original author William Peter Blatty in 1990. (You can forget about “The Exorcist II: The Heretic” because it was never meant to be a part of the original story.)

    Anyway, it’s impressive to see a film almost 30 years old still getting such horrific reactions from today’s jaded audiences. Hopefully it will lead to the rerelease of other great films that tend to be overlooked by today’s movie audiences.

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 10:03 a.m. CST

    Great Review!!

    by Kenevil

    Lighten up people!!!

    Love the review – please have this guy do more!!!

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 10:37 a.m. CST


    by Yo’ Daddy

    hey that was a good review cheers to Vern on some much needed jive talkin for the sake of enteraining his readers….and i hate patchouli too

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 10:42 a.m. CST


    by Lil_Timmy

    Hi, my name is Timmy. I am 6 and a 1/2. I have been a fan of Unkle Hairy for a long time. But this revuu by Mr. Vern has tot me words I had never hurd of befor. They sownd neeto. I wil bee yousing them. I cawl my self a “motherfukker” every time I blush. Also, Unkle Hairy is Scary up in the corner with that cross. Wawt is Unkle Hairy doing with it. It kind of lookz like he is having funn, but iz that blud or kool-aid?

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 10:48 a.m. CST

    Can’t wait to see it

    by Spoons

    I was not quite two years old when the original came out, so I’m really looking forward to seeing this one on the big…er, silver screen. The only problem is that my Catholic girlfriend refuses to see it with me. I’m trying to convince her it’s not THAT scary, but so far no dice.

    Oh, and I hate to get into the whole “review of the review” thing, but I thought this was a great review. Okay, there was not a lot of substance, but we’ve all pretty much seen this movie before, so who cares? Anyway, this guy’s a pretty good and very humorous writer, so keep up the good work.

    Oh, and to those of you who are upset about the language on this site… puh-lease. Normal people shouldn’t read here–they’d be happier someplace else.

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 10:50 a.m. CST

    20% Exorcist 80% Vern

    by fanboy1

    Ok Vern, You, Harry and Moriarty rule and everyone else sucks. You’re so cool man, I love how you say Fuck a lot (notice how “a lot” is two words, not one–I learned that in 5th grade). By the way, here is a hint, when you review a flic, talk a little bit more about the film. It helps. Just a bit. God knows I would’nt want to miss any of your mind-blowing trivia about silver screens, but I would’ve learned more about the movie you were suppose to review. “You’re smart, I’m dumb, You’re good looking, I’m not that attractive.” That’s what I learned the most from Vern’s review.

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 11:06 a.m. CST

    We’ll see…

    by Grimjack99

    Review notwithstanding, I plan on catching a matinee (Harry’s right about the night shows being sold out…bastards…)this weekend. I remember my sister getting freaked out after watching the original version and not being able to sleep without a bible being under her pillow for a few weeks afterwards, so I finally caught it on HBO the first time it showed and you know what? I remember thinking “What the…?” Granted, demonic possessions aren’t anything new in my family, but I thought at least something that could make my sister get the wiggins would have an effect on me. Well, we’ll see if “the version you have never seen” can do anything for me. If not, I may have to wait for the sequel to Battlefield Earth to see something truly frightening.

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 12:25 p.m. CST

    Exorcist may kick Urban Legends’ ass

    by cds

    Numbers for friday were $2.8 million for Urban Legends on over 2000 screens and $2.7 million for Exorcist on 650. If the kids decide to see something really scary tonight, then Exorcist may well be number one at the box office for the weekend.

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 12:53 p.m. CST

    That was NOT a CAT Scan….

    by Obee Juan

    I would actually have to see the movie again to be sure what it was, but it most assuredly was not a CAT Scan. They were either doing something known as an Angiogram or performing a “conventional” tomography exam. An angiogram involves injecting iodine contrast (“dye” for you lay people :P ) and then taking a series of x-rays from various angles to show the blood vessels in the brain from various perspectives. A “conventional” tomogram uses motion of the x-ray tube (what you saw moving around Reagan’s head) along with motion of the x-ray cassette below the patient (you wouldn’t have seen this) to blur out the anatomy above and below a focal point to create images with more detail at a specific level in the body. This is a far cry from Computed Axial Tomography (CAT Scan), which relies on a computer to analyze the x-ray data and create a series of images that basically chop up the anatomy like a loaf of bread. The entire equipment array for a CT scanner is far different from the other methods and clearly was NOT what used used in the movie. The movie predated my entry into the field of radiologic technology by… ohhh… 20 years! By the time I got started in the field… conventional tomography was in very limited use, having been replaced by CAT Scan (now just CT Scan) since it’s far superior in almost every respect, so I’m unsure of how they would have used conventional tomography for the brain back then. My specialty is CT Scans… for which you can thank or curse me for this brief overview… depending on how bored/confused you are now. ;)

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 1:16 p.m. CST


    by gryphon

    I’ve had a big problem with people laughing at things on the screen that are really kinda disturbing….. I don’t know, these are probably the same idiots that go to rotten.com or rent “faces of death” or some sick shit like that. For instance…. in Nurse Betty, the scalping and murder got a lot of laughs in the theater I was in. All I could think was : “huh?” Oh and nice Pee wee’s big adventure harry head. That used to scare the shit out of me when I was a kid!

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 1:21 p.m. CST

    So you didn’t like my review is what your saying

    by Vern

    So let me get this straight. I did the math wrong. I was wrong about it being a cat scan. I was wrong about parts being cut out. I say fuck too much. I spell alot wrong. I didn’t talk about the movie enough. I wrote the worst written review ever on this sight. I am not funny. etc. Okay, but what did you think of the review. I think other than those few errors I did a PRETTY fucking good job if I do say so myself. If you disagree well that is your opinion but let’s face it bud those are like assholes etc. etc. Can’t remember how the saying goes exactly but you get the basic drift of it. thanks guys, Vern

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 1:35 p.m. CST

    Why Dimmie?

    by Hotspur

    Or should I just say why? I really don’t need to see this and I’m sure a lot of people feel the same way. The Exorcist is one of the creepiest movies ever made and I doubt that seeing the spiderwalk or whatever they have put in it will make it better. I promised myself when I saw the “new” Star Wars versions that it was the first and only time I would see something like that. I like the real and original thing! It’s like day old pizza. It’s still pretty good but it doesn’t taste the same…

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 1:40 p.m. CST

    Vern = Greatest reviewer ever?

    by Redwood

    Ha ha… “unless you don’t like quality, or something…”. Good stuff. read Into the Wild.

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 1:57 p.m. CST

    Great review? Was this guy on dope?

    by keeper

    I hope this Vern fellow WAS on some sort of drug because there can be no other excuse to have written such a horribly profane, infantile, rambling, incoherent piece of garbage. Nitpicking on the critics at AICN is something of a vogue on the talkbacks that I have usually chosen to ignore. The complaints about bad grammar, bad spelling, and bad language never seemed all that serious to me. I’m pretty lenient on all those points, but this just goes too far! What was THAT all about anyhow? It couldn’t have been anything about the Exorcist – more like a poor attempt to look like a “bad ass.” His review and his idiotic response just shows he obviously has no class, no restraint and his rabid cynicism is a transparent veil to hide his own insecurities. I don’t mind in your face reviews or cynicism but when it goes as far as getting in the way of the purpose of the review then it goes too far. Harry, this is your place and you can do whatever you want, but in my opinion, you really don’t need this kind of refuse stinking up your place. Keep him around, and it’s just going to be one person a lot of people will just have to ignore.

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 3:10 p.m. CST

    this review…

    by Skytalker

    was a motherfucker.

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 3:14 p.m. CST

    Vern… take a pill

    by Obee Juan

    For the record… I wasn’t criticising you for not knowing what a CT scan is. Heck… I woulda likely made the same error if I wasn’t in the field. I was just doing my little bit of enlightenment. :) However… I may as well go on to say that anyone who refers to themselves as a “Reviewing God” had best write a review that fits the title… or else be prepared to get laughed out of town. Your free use of profanity and up-front abusive slander directed at anyone who hasn’t see The Exorcist before was uncalled for and totally lacking in class. The way I see it… everyone is on-target for their opinions on your review, or at least the way you presented it. The presentation is at least as important as the content. That’s how life works, bub.

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 3:27 p.m. CST

    Only Catholics will truly be scared of this movie?

    by All Thumbs

    Wow, I didn’t know I was Catholic! Damn, I’m late for Mass.

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 3:48 p.m. CST

    Damn pencil neck geeks

    by Mr. Sartre

    I saw “The Exorcist” last night here in San Diego. As always, the movie was eerie and chilling and everytime I blinked for the next few hours after I was able to see either Captain Howdy or a crusty faced Regan without pupils. The spider walk scene was creepy as hell and the use of sound on this re-release was excellent, lending to the eerie quality that permeated throught the entire film. Yes, some of those additions like faint the statues in the shadows or suggested Captain Howdy faces seemed a tad cheesy, but it was forgiveable. My only problem was with the folks talking and laughing at stuff, making comments at the screen and such. Call me crazy, but I like to watch my movies in theaters, get that lovely surround sound and not so lovely popcorn, and not have to listen to stupid people trying to impress their idiot friends by making dumb comments. For anyone in the San Diego area, do NOT ever see a serious movie at the AMC Palm Promenade in Chula Vista. Sure, the theater looks really nice, but most of the people there are the scum of the earth. I figured a majority of the people in the theater grew up on the entire “Scream” and slasher genre (i.e. the stuff that makes horror look self-mocking and idiotic) and don’t think horror should be taken seriously. Horror should be a serious genre, though. To each their own, I guess, but it just seems unjust to me that there were people, like myself, who wanted to see this unseen version of “The Exorcist” Friday night without listening to a bunch of @$$#oles. Additionally, I caught a free screening of “Urban Legands: Final Cut” at school last Wednesday and I must say that if “Urban Legends” piece of $#!te is at the top of the box office this weekend, there is no hope for humanity. The only good thing about “Urban Legends” was the first killing which paid mild hommage to Dario Argento. The rest was utter drivel. Take care all, and remember to check out “The Exorcist” or “Almost Famous” this weekend instead of “The Watcher” or “Urban Legends”…

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 3:56 p.m. CST

    Gotta love that

    by khazm

    So I’m trying to find everything that says Exorcist this weekend and all I’m finding is Urban Legend crap. Argh. Anyway, Vern I think the saying you were looking for is “Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one and they all stink!” Anyway, someone also said something about alot or a lot whatever but unless you are refering to a lot of land you know like “lot” it’s incorrect. Boy, am I just mr. information. Just kidding. I can’t wait to see this movie as I have only seen the TBS version and it scared the crap out of me. Freaky stuff! Peace, love the site.

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 4:01 p.m. CST

    This movie DOES NOT HOLD UP WELL in the 2000s!!

    by darius25

    Sorry folks but this was my first time seeing this movie. When Harry raved about this in March, I decided I should wait to watch it on the big screen b4 renting it on video. Now, after seeing it, I have to ask – WHAT WAS SO SPECIAL ?? I didn’t find it scary, nor particularly violent or offensive. Come on, have you guys never heard the word “cunt” or “fuck me” before this film ?? I think there were many movies that had swearing b4. Ok, the movie is not a family film, but still, I found nothing particularly good about it. It wasn’t a drama nor a horror film. Perhaps I didn’t “get” it, but for what its worth, it does not hold up well at all, especially in this day and age. For movies that still hold up well even after all this time, watch Carrie, The Shining (fucking freaky!), Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th and of course, Halloween. Finally to Vern, the film is 27 years old NOT 17!!!

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 4:05 p.m. CST

    The new ending…other stuff

    by Lazarus Long

    I enjoyed the re-release thoroughly, but I do have to also take issue with that ending. I understand what Blatty was trying to go for there, but I think Friedkin’s original instincts were correct there. Since Friedkin is a director and Blatty (at that time) was a writer, you’d trust Billy knew what was right for the FILM. I don’t think this new version is without merit: the early testing scenes with Reagan, the Father Karras listening to a tape of pre-possessed Reagan, the Spider Walk…very good stuff. But why did Friedkin give into Blatty’s wishes and tack that cheesy ending back on? This is the guy who, in search of realism for one scene, jerked Ellen Burstyn to the floor so hard she still has back problems. The original ending, with Father Dyer standing at the top of the stairs, with Tubular Bells coming in, is such a powerful moment, I can’t believe it was altered…couldn’t they have comprimised, and just showed Dyer giving the necklace back to Chris? Wasn’t that nice touch enough? All I know is that I’m not replacing my VHS version from a year or so ago with this, because it just doesn’t give me that Barton Fink feeling.

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 5:28 p.m. CST


    by mccloud_69

    I’d like to go ahead and thank Harry for printing this review despite the fact that it seems to be a bit too hard for some of the newsies to understand. Lester Bangs and Richard Meltzer used more F-words than you can shake my 11 inches of limp dick at and you all slobber about “Almost Famous” meanwhile we got a real cinematic theorist of a new breed coming in here and spicing up this relatively geek-filled web site and you all think he is low class: read closer lads. Vern is one of the top critical theorists writing today and of course his ideas and approach are going to scare off the dummies (look at how people reacted to Lacan and Derrida for heavens sake).

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 6 p.m. CST

    Listen up, punks.

    by AbeScott

    Vern’s the real deal. Unlike a lot of film critics, he actually cares about film. He actually LIKES film. And he actually happens to use a non-traditional reviewing style that dosen’t give you a delicious chocholate milk ennema every time you sit down to write a movie review. You folks might bust Vern’s ass for writing in a slightly-less-than-perfect technical style, but that tiny, unimportant bit of technical skill that may waver in his work sometimes is more than made up for in soul, depth and character. Vern’s a distinctive voice in a sea of critics trying to impress each other. Vern’s also an extremley admirable human being, as he overcame the odds and became a positive indivdual after a life of negativity, which is a pretty big acomplishment, a thousand times more important than spelling a word right or writing in the grand scheme of things. I bet half you people even like Kevin Smith, what the hell do you know.

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 8:25 p.m. CST

    To Obee Juan

    by Vern

    I knew you weren’t really attacking me for the CAT scan deal… I just mentioned it because it was one of the mistakes I made. You should know though bud I have never once called myself a “Reviewing God”, that is what Harry god bless his soul decided to call me there. I prefer to be called a Writer on the films of Cinema or an Outlaw of Cinema. I don’t know when I slandered individuals who have not seen The Exorcist so I don’t know where that came from. Hope this clears things up bud. As for the other gentleman, in my opinion he should check out my sight at http://www.geocities.com/outlawvern. I know you hated this review but maybe if you read about 200 more my Writing style will start to grow on you in my opinion. –Vern

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 8:37 p.m. CST

    It was a good day for an exorcism…..

    by XTheCrovvX

    Welp, i just got back from The Exorcist, and i got some issues, guys…now, those of you who’ve actually paid some attention to my Talkbacks(yes, thats right, the both of you) know that i am one of those weird people who never saw the flick before today….sorta…i saw the “chopped up like liver” version on cable once, and didnt remember a lick of what i saw…well, i saw it, and i have to admit…i loved what i saw….and yes, i was scared….so, let’s get to the issues….number one, the movie is very dated….the profanity coming out of Regan’s mouth produced more laughter than shock value from the audience…and i happened to join them a few times…..heh…”keep your goddamn fingers off my cunt…”….i dont blame her…the doctor looked sleazy as hell….BUT, that isnt to say there wasnt shock value…the ever so hyped crucifix masturbation scene, no matter how many times i heard people on this site talk about it, still managed to raise my eyebrows…and making her mother…::shudder:: fucking sick….by the time the actual exorcism began, there wasnt a word spoken in the entire theater…well, except for the ghetto as fuck assholes who i had the misfortune of sitting next to the whole time…meaning, like the first time i saw X-Men, some loud retard who doesnt know how to whisper, with a penchant for explaining EVERYTHING, has fucked with my movie experience…oh well…next, the additions…like i said, i never saw the flick before today…i didnt know what was new or old, except for the spider walking scene, which freaked me the hell out…but, addition or not, i thought the last 2-3 minutes of the movie was dead space…i DO happen to remember the end of the flick from cable, where Fr. Dyer stands at the stairs, cries, Tubular Bells comes on, and the credits roll…that wouldve worked better, not that fat, Vincent Gardenia-lookin’ jackass asking “do ya like movies?”…third….returning to my comment about the audience….please…i beg of you…if you go to see this flick, and there are idiots talking or laughing where its unnecessary, please3 straight out tell em to shut the fuck up….i had to deal with Mr. and Mrs. Ghetto Fabulous the entire movie, and almost MISSED the crucifix scene because of em….so please, save the snctity of this flick…i know theres more i wanna say, but god, im fucking tired….i need sleep…i’ll come back tomorrow…:-P ….OH last thing– Verns review skills are ok…nothing great, but ok….but Reposessed was cool, you ass!! Revolution is my name…..Urban Legends sucks cocks in hell!!!

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 9:02 p.m. CST

    my review

    by the golbe

    read this please. and make comments. id like opinions

    Head-Twisting Fun

    Jon Golbe

    A few minutes into the movie, my friend next to me in the theater put out his hand like he was scared and need me to comfort him. He was joking, of course. 40 minutes later, after 12-year-old Linda Blair has revolved her head around 360 degrees, spit pints of pea soup, and deflowered herself with a crucifix, he needed to hold my hand again . My friend, who shall remain anonymous, looked pretty serious. His face was pale. I think he was almost about to pee his pants. His reaction: “Holy living f

  • Sept. 23, 2000, 9:53 p.m. CST

    Exorcist Re-Release

    by phantom73

    Saw the Exorcist re-release today, and overall was a great experience seeing one of the BEST horror films ever made on the big screen, and MANY of the additions were good for the film, however, there were a handful of additions that fall into the “The Greedo Scene Ain’t Broken, Don’t Fix It” category.

    First, the positive: the spider-walk was a really big surprise. The DVD edition contains the footage, but…nice work in the new version.

    The scene of Regan going to the first doctor’s visit was good. It made for a slower build-up to her possession, and it cleared up some dialogue flubs from the original.

    The scene with Karras listening to Regan’s recording to her father was nice, being a creepy scene (lighting, visual layout) and it showed a bit more deliberate research into Regan’s case.

    Two other brief, but great dialogue scenes were the Merrin coffee and brandy joke and the great speech that Blatty considered overbearing about the demon’s purpose. Great additions.

    Now the bad. The addition of more shots of the pasty white demon face really takes a way a lot of power from the image. Placing it on the stove exhaust and within the doctor’s room scene, etc. really cheapens what I feel is a very horrific visual. In the original, it had organic placement being in Karras’ dream sequence and in the exorcism scene, but where they inserted it (and the image of the Pazuzu statue on the wall for that matter) were just silly modern horror-film making overkill. On a similar note, the digital alteration of Regan’s face during the “doctor getting his crotch manhandled scene” was really silly and a waste of programming time as well.

    Finally, one of the brilliant things about the original film is its soundtrack. The use of great stretches of silence punctuated by aural scene bridges and good plain “sound scares” was unbeatable. Again, they went for the overkill in the new edition. Friedkin inserted the kind of music he supposedly chucked out the window originally (from the unused Shriffin score) to build terror in scenes that were already terrifying with very little sound on the track 27 years ago! Why change it? Does he feel modern audiences need to manipulated so drastically to make a point? Also, the sweetening of the sound into a modern mix was nice overall, but listen to the demon voices during the exorcism scenes. Many of the sound effects (I’d be very sure to bet) aren’t part of the original track (the overbearing children voices) or were and were mixed better (the all too obvious cow bellows). What sounds were once mixed down into a very frightening mish-mash are now just layed one on top of the other where you can pick them apart.

    Also, the opening scene showing the McNeal brownstone and Georgetown at night and then cutting to Iraq was unncessary (probably put in to appease the people who were confused by the original beginning) and the ending, as we all knew before, was very unneccesary (but thank God they spared us from the Casablanca quote from the original extended ending footage).

    As for the encephlogram (sp) scene being cut back, any fact to that? I thought it played out as normal.

    These opinions may all sound rather negative, but overall, it really was a satisfying experience. The original cut is still the best, but it would be great to see some of the positive changes incorporated into it and the rest of the wrong moves jettisoned.

  • Sept. 24, 2000, 12:54 a.m. CST

    Did You Know If You Click On The Exorcist Ad At the Top of the P

    by Buzz Maverik

    …I’ve got a splitting headache, my wife is mad at me and the dog won’t come out from under the bed. Thanks, William Blatty Friedkin!

  • Sept. 24, 2000, 5:30 a.m. CST


    by GEEKBASHER 3.0

    All week I was looking foward to this re-release! My chance finally to watch the pe soup and the cunty language on the big screen! So I dragged all my friends got the VIP seats in the front for the Sat night 7 p show!

    Well I should have known better! I mean it’s cool to work the ghetto fabu-lous look but to actually act like a bunch of fucking retards on the first day of kindergarten, Well It just plained SUCKED! First off, the minute the Exorcist title flashed on screen, the idiot behind me had to be MR.COOL and say out loud “OOOH I AM SCARED!” well by the looks of his Aqua Netted white trash Bitch, I would have been scared too, but I kept my cool….


    But what is a SAT night at the fucking muti-plex without the CLEVER FUNNY HECKLERS who think they rule the auditorium by talking back to the screen every five seconds? WHERE WERE THEY FOR SHOWGIRLS BEFORE IT BECAME A MIDNIGHT CAMP CLASSIC?

    MY EXORCIST EXPERIENCE WAS RUINED BY A BUCH OF DE-SENSITIZED BASTARDS Who brought there 11 month year old babies and the chicks who were so scared they had to talk throughout the whole movie, GRANTED SOME PARTS WERE SLOW! THE SPIDER WALK SCENE MADE EVERY SHUT UP FOR THE MOMENT! But man How I hate going to the movies now-days, TOO BAD AND WHAT A SHAME! Thank god, we are going to be hit with some serious movies this fall (aside from Charlies Angels and that awful awful LITTLE NICKY!) I cannot wait to go to the movies and watch a film in peace…

    aside from the babies that cry!

    BUT MAN the last time I have seen lines that long for a horror movie was the BLAIR WITCH!

    NO wonder comedy horror movies like Scary Movie make so much money! PEOPLE ARE TOO BUSY TALKING and laughing now-days to enjoy the EXPERIENCE!

    and that my friends is a crying (baby) shame!

  • Sept. 24, 2000, 7:15 a.m. CST

    The best reason not to see any movie these days – the audience

    by Veidt

    One big reason I’m not too apt to check out The Exorcist on the big screen is just because I have no interest in sharing the experience with even one dick in the crowd that can’t shut up, that feels obliged to heckle the movie at every turn, and to prove to everyone how cool they are. Whenever you get someone like that at a horror film, it’s always someone who’s scared to be scared (or just a total idiot). They’re so afraid of not looking tough that they have to shoot their mouth off through as much of the movie as possible – proving to everyone that it didn’t “get” to them. But for anyone who thinks reactions like these to The Exorcist now are just because the movie’s dated, you’re wrong. These are the same type of reactions that you would’ve heard back in ’73. Sure plenty of people were freaked, as there will be today but plenty of people were loud-mouthed jerks even then who were just as ready to talk shit at any movie – whether it be Exorcist, Texas Chainsaw, Halloween, or Alien. I’m lucky that in my area, I usually get off easy with the local crowds but with a classic that I’m used to enjoying on my own terms, I’d rather not take any chances.

  • Sept. 24, 2000, 7:21 a.m. CST

    Here’s the real deal…children and cell phones. This is Nordli

    by Nordling

    Okay. So Vegas and I check out THE EXORCIST yesterday. I’ll break it down to its essentials. ***GOOD*** – The Spider Walk scene. Hands down scary as hell. The additional scenes with Merrin, especially the one on the stairway with Karras asking why this girl…that scene should never have left. Although it was laughed at (I’ll get to that later) the Ritalin scene…because it may be dated, but damn if the aud didn’t get it, for the most part. The scene which Karras listens to a pre-possessed Regan. The new subliminals…sure, they were totally exploitative, but I liked them. Father Dyer giving the medallion to Chris. It was moving. And most of all…man, the SOUND kicked my ass. The sound was so damn good…when that phone rings (when you see it you’ll know which one) you jump. The creepy factor is raised exponentially.***BAD*** The Dyer/Kinderman thing was not necessary and Friedkin was right to cut it. It felt like dead weight. Okay..the heart of it…CHILDREN at the EXORCIST. The fucking EXORCIST, man! Who in their right minds brings a six-year old child to the EXORCIST? What kind of pathetic excuse for a parent takes their children to this? As a parent, it pissed me off tremendously. There is no need for any child to see a crucifix violently inserted into a little girl’s genitals, or to hear “Your mother sucks cocks in hell”. I mean, as a film fan, it’s rough seeing that, but I would never consider it to not be part of the film..it’s damn near essential to the plot and how degrading and evil the demon is. But for a child to see that…it’s deeply deeply wrong. I came out ranting, pointing at people and calling them bad parents…which they ARE. If the child is 12, maybe, MAYBE, becuase at least the parent is there to explain and comfort. But how are you going to explain that to a six-year old? THE EXORCIST deals with complicated issues of faith and evil…no six-year old will understand. I’m gonna buy the DVD but I’ll probably never watch it when my daughter’s awake…or even in the house. Okay, next. Cell phones. How simple can I put this. I don’t care if you have the nuclear codes ina briefcase next to you. TURN OFF YOUR FUCKING PHONES. Turn them off, and if you’re too stupid to do that, don’t fucking TALK to someone on them! What the fuck is that? THE EXORCIST builds in its terror…and cell phones just pull you right back out. Some asshole began talking on one and Vegas next to me (who never yells out in movies) yelled, “TURN THE FUCKING PHONE OFF.” Some card-carrying moron above us said, “Dude, watch your mouth,” to which Vegas replied, “Dude, we’re in THE EXORCIST, man.” When I rule, I’m gonna shoot all you assholes with cell phones in movies. Really. Believe me, life can wait…we all paid to see this goddamn thing and you ARE RUINING MOVIES! Lastly, Laughing at THE EXORCIST. This one’s not so much a bitch, because “Your mother sucks cocks in hell” IS funny. But laughing at the crucifix scene? At the Spider Walk? What the hell is that about? The more I think about it, the more I’m starting to believe that a genuine HORROR film is hard as fuck to pull off. The SCREAM sequels aren’t horror, nor is all that teen bullshit slasher movies stuff now (although less teen is better). Horror is NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, THE EXORCIST…those movies that get under your skin and tweak that part of you that, once many millennia ago, threw rocks at the moon at night. THE EXORCIST is well worth seeing…the movie moved me far moe than I remembered, and I always thought it was overrated, but I was wrong. As a complete film, not just shock, THE EXORCIST makes you care about its characters, unlike the horror films of today, which are just about grindage. The scene when Chris begs Father Karras to help her daughter…that got me. When Karras’s mother was in the hospital…that got me. this movie will get you too, if you let it. The perfect way to see this is in a state-of-the-art movie theater with surround sound, some genuine film fans, no cell phones, and no kids. Will that happen? Who knows…but Harry, I’ve got my pick for this year’s Buttnumbathon…and this one is it. Nordling. OUT.

  • Sept. 24, 2000, 8:17 a.m. CST

    The real trick is not to be first.

    by Nordling

    The real trick is to be LAST! I’m last! Whoo hoo! Not just anyone can be last!

  • Sept. 24, 2000, 10:27 a.m. CST

    “Why you do this to me, Demi? Why you do this to me?”

    by Lance Rock

    God, that was so creepy when Regan starts speaking in the priest’s mother’s voice. Classic stuff. Great movie!!!!

  • Sept. 25, 2000, 12:22 a.m. CST


    by ricka

    this movie is worth seeing just for ellen burstyns performance. its unbeleivable what she goes through and how physically and mentally it drains her and how she makes it so damn beleivable.i dont beleive she won an oscar for this but she deserved it.

  • Sept. 25, 2000, 3:18 a.m. CST

    Lightstormer’s verdict: Vern, you rule. Don’t take any shit fr


    People, seriously. Ease the sphincters. Relax. If you want reviews without swearing, or for that matter, without any irony or humor whatsoever, go check out Mr. Showbiz.com, or whatever. Maybe Pauline Kael’s even got her own web site by now. But lay off of Vern. In my opinion, this was the funniest review I have ever read on this site. And no, I don’t drool all over myself, I don’t listen to Eminem CDs, I never rode the short bus to school, and I wouldn’t watch wrestling if you fucking paid me. I do have a brain, and moreso, I have an endlessly sardonic sense of humor. This is probably why Vern’s review was entertaining to me. And it’s obvious Vern’s not an idiot. If you think he is, you either can’t see past the irony in his writing, or you’re not the sharpest knife in the swiss army, yourself. Case in point: “You’re so cool man, I love how you say Fuck a lot (notice how “a lot” is two words, not one–I learned that in 5th grade). By the way, here is a hint, when you review a flic, talk a little bit more about the film. It helps. Just a bit. God knows I would’nt want to miss any of your mind-blowing trivia about silver screens, but I would’ve learned more about the movie you were suppose to review.” Okay, genius. You wanna split hairs? (1) You should’ve ended “here’s a hint” with a colon, not a comma. (2) “Flick” is not French. There is a K at the end. (3) The apostrophe goes between n and t; in other words, it replaces the letter you are subtracting from the word. I learned that in FIRST grade. (And for that matter, you didn’t learn “a lot” is 2 words until fifth grade??) (4) SUPPOSED to review; not “suppose” to review. Wrong tense. OK. I’m done with that. Sorry I showed myself for the antagonistic, petty dickhead that I am, but come on… when you give somebody grief for incorrect spelling, you’d better make sure yours is impeccable. ANYWAY… to Vern, I say thank you for a thoroughly enjoyable review and plenty of laughs. To me, it sounds like you liked the film, even if you didn’t love every minute detail of it, and you’ve at least got me interested enough to take my girlfriend out to see it this weekend. (And thanks to whomever suggested AGAINST the AMC Palm Promenade 24. Hopefully, they’ll have it at at the Fascist Valley 18. Why go to the Promenade anyway? The crowds in National City would heckle Schindler’s List, fer Chrissakes!) LIGHTSTORMER OUT.

  • Sept. 25, 2000, 10:12 a.m. CST


    by Darth Grego

    Fucking nice fucking review fucking Vern. You are a terrific writer and mathematician. Anyway, I saw “Exorcist” this weekend too, and, as always, my reaction was eh. It never blew me away before, and while it is still a very well-made film, it doesn’t strike me as “scariest of all time” (that title belongs to, of course, “Beware! the Blob”). Maybe familiarity breeds contempt, but I didn’t feel consciousness slipping away. The Spider Walk looked good, the new ending did not strike me either way, and the sound, as always, was terrific (Mercedes McCambridge RULES!). The so-called “subliminal” demons were absurd, tho, and WAY overkill. My main problem, as with every movie I see (and like a lot of you already said) was the goddamned audience. I have to shell out $9.50 to sit with a group of mouth-breathing, late-coming, beeper-wearing, popcorn-crunching DOLTS for 2 hours, trying to enjoy a film the way it was meant to be seen, and everyone wonders why I root for the asteroid in movies like “Armageddon” and “Deep Impact”. I had my share of giggling throughout too, but to the movie’s credit, the exorcism scene itself played out with DEAD SILENCE from the hairless apes in the seats. As far as excised scenes, wasn’t there a few shots of Regan & mom sightseeing in DC towards the beginning that were missing this time around?

  • Sept. 25, 2000, 2:23 p.m. CST

    Vern, I Have a suggestion for you.


    I think it’s time for you to stop submitting your reviews until you can write them in a way that involves the reader into the deeper aspects of the films you review. If you are passionate about movies, that’s fine. However, you have to have a talent for the written word to avoid all of the negative reactions you are getting here.

    Remember this: Just because you may like WATCHING a sport doesn’t mean you can PLAY the sport. Therefore, just because you LIKE movies, doesn’t mean you are qualified to WRITE about them, at least in an entertaining way. I got less information about “The Exorcist” from your review than I’d get by simply watching the TV commercial.

    Oh, and one final point. When I was in college, my English professors consistently mentioned that profanity is “lazy writing.” It can be used to heighten the impact of a sentence, but only if used wisely. With your reviews, the profanity is more like a diversion to mask your difficulty with finding a better, more fluid form of speech. If you submit anything again, cut out the unnecessary profanity, or you will continue to sound like an immature 10th grader with a computer.

  • Sept. 25, 2000, 7:51 p.m. CST

    Anyone else find it ironic . . .

    by Bobodude

    . . . that although The Exorcist was roundly and soundly attacked by the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations upon its release, it became one of the most important factors in the rise of the new ecumenicalism of the 1970s/1980s/1990s? After all, the film presented for the masses in a way that has never since been captured an interpretation of the “wages of sin” (whatever they are in this case — the arrogance of the archeologist? The backsliding faith of the priests? The misfortune of a poor young girl being raised by a single parent), and commodified and packaged the idea of demonic possession for a consumer-oriented society. Call me whatever you like, _this_ is the most interesting thing about the film and its re-release.

    A quick note on the review. Sure, Vern’s penchant for third grade vulgarity detracts from the review — I won’t even try to defend that. But why is everyone so hopped up on the idea that “he didn’t tell us about the movie?” First, he did reveal enough to pique interest without resorting to spoilers. Second, the movie itself is a historical artifact in some regards — witness his noting of the way some of the more atmospheric comments (e.g.: Ritalin) or even Reagan’s base vulgarity was received by today’s jaded audience. Finally, the movie is twenty seven years old. Do we really need to recieve it as though it was a fresh, never before seen product?

  • Nov. 13, 2000, 6:35 a.m. CST

    verns obscene review

    by Aimon

    been reading verns reviews, poems and what not for a while and i reckon that they fucken rock, and to all the people who wrote in saying that it was obscene, rude, crude etc. i don’t see any of you writing reviews.

    Keep on writing and entertaining people like me Vern

  • Oct. 18, 2008, 12:14 a.m. CST


    by loodabagel

    Vern, you’ve come a long way…

This entry was posted on Saturday, September 23rd, 2000 at 7:42 am and is filed under AICN, Horror, Reviews, Thriller. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

30 Responses to “The Reviewing God Named Vern looks at the EXORCIST: The Version You’ve Never Seen Before!!!”

  1. I love reading the talkbacks on these old reviews to see all the condescending Newsies giving Vern some real earnest advice on how he needs to change his style if he wants to have any success in the reviewing game.

  2. Well I managed to avoid watching this movie for 40 years of my life and deciding to finally watch it, albeit while stoned. Pro tip: Don’t do that. I don’t care about “it’s not scary anymore!” “it’s tame by today’s standards!” “it’s unintentionally funny!”. Fuck that. This movie is a nightmare, pure and simple – the rare big Hollywood movie that feels dangerous and nasty, like you’re watching something you shouldn’t be watching, but also classy and Oscar-worthy. I don’t get why people don’t speak of William Friedkin in the same breath as Hooper, Craven, Carpenter – this is a directorial tour de force that also brings to mind De Palma and Spielberg – there’s mind-blowing, confident filmatism here – combined with an incredible script, performances, sound design, makeup – my God, this whole movie is like evil lightning in a bottle. It’s not fun like Poltergeist, it doesn’t have an enjoyable mega-star performance at the center of it like The Shining. It’s in a league all its own and I hope no other movie ever joins it. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like watching this in a theater in the 70s – I can fully believe stories of people fainting in the aisles because I almost wanted to turn this off in my own house.

    Random notes:
    1) How the hell did Linda Blair NOT win Best Supporting Actress? This is a jaw-dropping performance. I’ve literally never seen clips of her out of the makeup, so imagine my surprise at how good she is in the opening moments when she’s still a normal girl! And btw, i thought Carrie Henn’s performance in Aliens was the benchmark for “this is great but i’m kinda worried you traumatised this kid”. Blair takes that to the 10000th degree – I literally do not know what her parents were thinking or how she was able to live a normal life after this (maybe she didn’t – the fact that Blair and Miller didn’t really go on to bigger things kinda adds to the mystique of the movie)

    2) Speaking of which, the bad mojo surrounding this movie (Burstyn getting hurt during filming, weird accidents, the serial killer in real life playing the doctor, etc…) just makes it more disturbing. I’m a grown-ass man and I was scared as fuck after it was over- made worse by the fact that my TV turned itself off after the credits and I couldn’t turn it back on again.

    3) I kinda like how the film is structured like a Rocky movie – it’s mostly a slow-burn with an emphasis on character development and flashes of excitement – things escalate and build brilliantly, all leading up to the final 20 minute showdown. The exorcism scene is long and methodically paced, almost in real-time, almost filmed like a stage play. The ending/solution kinda comes out of nowhere but it’s still powerful and satsifying.

    4) Weirdly the scene I can’t get out of my head is when Burstyn comes in to close the open window – you only see Regan sleeping face down, and you have no idea what’s going on and of course expect her to pop up at any moment for a jump scare. When you find out later she had just thrown a guy out the window- i don’t know, something about it sent chills up my spine.

    Anyways, I’m looking forward to finishing this damn franchise now; I hear there’s quite a few stinkers in there which will hopefully help me get over this awful feeling I’ve been having since I saw this movie. Never has a movie this good bothered me so much.

  3. In terms of Linda Blair’s Oscar: If I remember right during the campaign it came out that her posessed voice was done by another uncredited actress, which definitely hurt her chances, no matter how brillant the physical part of her performance was.

    And no, she wasn’t really able to live a normal life after that. Until, and tbh this is a fun plot twist, she starred in the Leslie Nielsen parody REPOSESSED, which according to her, really helped her to deal with some of the shit that stuck with her from THE EXORCIST and was one of the best professional experiences of her life. (Carrie Henn however was fine and she said one that the worst thing about the whole experience is when her friends keep quoting the movie at the most random times. (Like: “Hey, wanna go out and have pizza tonight?” “They mostly come at night and have pizza. Mostly.”)

    Can’t wait till you get to part 3, which is definitely the 2nd best of the series, although it was more supposed to be a spin-off and was then turned into a sequel by the studio (by putting a subplot about an exorcist into the movie and have him exorcise someone at the end.)

  4. This is not a hot take but my genuine experience: I still think it’s mostly boring, but all of the demon’s lines are comedy gold.

    For my money, the third one is the more entertaining, scary, and interesting movie. Don’t fall for that director’s cut stuff. It’s great that it has more Brad Dourif but it’s a film with no ending. The theatrical version is choppy and muddled but at least it goes somewhere.

  5. How great is THE EXORCIST? I watched the theatrical edition on Blu-Ray a few years back and then IMMEDIATELY got my hands on the extended edition and then watched THAT. There’s so many mysterious little details that I feel like every time I see it I find something new and fascinating.

    I also don’t think it’s possible to overstate what an enormous cultural phenomenon it was at the time. It was the highest-grossing horror movie in history for decades. Says wikipedia: “After several reissues, the film eventually grossed $232,671,011 in North America,[66] which if adjusted for inflation, would be the ninth highest-grossing film of all time and the top-grossing R-rated film of all time. To date, it has a total gross of $441,071,011 worldwide. Adjusted to 2014 prices, The Exorcist has grossed $1.794 billion.”

    It was also the first ever horror film in history to be nominated for Best Picture, and remained the only one until (and I had forgotten this) the fuckin SIXTH SENSE was nominated in 1999.* It absolutely took America by storm. I don’t think there’s another horror movie in history that has had such enormous popular appeal. And certainly it has to be one of the strangest, darkest films ever so widely embraced.

    *Unless you want to count JAWS or SILENCE OF THE LAMBS as horror films, which I am not inclined to.

  6. Subtlety – I do think it’s weird that the movie is so huge yet kinda undervalued at the same time – it’s undoubtedly a phenomenon and everyone knows the scenes and catchphrases and iconic images, but i still feel like it’s not talked about and dissected as much as The Shining or Alien or Texas Chainsaw. (Maybe because it’s been diluted by four sequels that I think were all flops, and in fact I completely forgot there was JUST a TV show based off of this!) The original is still honestly kind of talked about in hushed tones – I know several people who refuse to watch it and it’s taken me 40 years on Earth to finally watch it (and I’m kinda regretting it to be honest).

    Majestyk – the one line of the demon’s that did make me laugh out loud was “Shove it up your ass!” because it seemed like such a modern phrase. I feel like people might be bothered by this, but I was really creeped out and intrigued by how the demon seemed to act different and speak differently in every scene. Like one scene she sounds almost classy and dignified (“What an excellent day for an exorcism!”) and others she’s like a feral monster. The scene where Father Karras comes back in the room and finds Father Merrin dead, and she’s grinning in the corner with a Lolita-esque “I did something naughty!” grin – it’s horrifying not just because of what we imagine happened but also because we’ve never seen her act like that before; it takes you completely off guard.

    CJ – That’s funny, I was also considering watching Repossessed solely to un-freak me out; if it helped Linda Blair get over the trauma of being in the first one, that’s actually a pretty powerful statement on the healing power of art and confronting your fears and traumas head-on (It actually seems like a Brigsby Bear-style feel-good comedy could be made about that process).

  7. neal: I’m not trying to take away anybody’s legit experience with the film nor its impact on the genre. The parts that work work like gangbusters. But for me, those parts have been diluted by familiarity, imitation, and parody, so they’re poor recompense for the solid 90 minutes of dull mumbling it takes to get to them. I would love to hear anybody defend the Iraq sequence (somewhere, Mr. S senses a great disturbance), not merely as an allegedly vital building block of the story, but as a piece of entertaining film in its own right. I get that it ties some shit together or whatever but I seriously don’t see why it needs to be so tedious, especially right at the beginning when the movie should be hooking you. It’s like kicking off the Indy 500 with a live reading of the manual from an exhaust manifold. Applicable to the subject matter, sure, but fuckin’ A, man, I don’t have all day.

    I’m not proud of myself for feeling this way but I have to be honest. I watch the movie and 20 minutes in I’m begging it to get to the goddamn pea soup already.

  8. But since I got some superfans here, can anybody tell me what the verdict on THE VERSION MOTHERFUCKERS AIN’T EVEN SEEN ONCE all these years later? Has it usurped the original version like BLADE RUNNER: NOW WITH UNICORNS OR WHATEVER or has it gone the way of the walkie talkies in E.T.? I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen the movie since the theatrical re-release in 2000, so if I was to give it another chance, which version should I watch?

    Thanks, fellas. Your mothers sew socks in hell.

  9. I don’t know what exactly the differences are (other than the “spider walk”), but by my understanding the “new” version is now more or less the official version that constantly gets released on home video and I never heard anybody complain about that.

  10. Well, all I’ll say is that I find every bit of it fascinating. There is no scene which is not filled with a million tiny inexplicable details for you to wonder at. It is not, in any way, a streamlined or even structurally defensible narrative; it’s full of weird digressions, like the Iraq sequence, that insist upon themselves but never resolve in any kind of explicit way. One good example is the Detective character played by Lee Cobb. He actually has a pretty fair amount of screen time, during which he just seems really strange and unsympathetic and insinuating, and it seems like they must be setting up that Chris is going to get arrested or blamed for the whole thing somehow. But it never happens, he just does nothing, vanishes, and is never mentioned again. Robert McKee would simply call this bad screenwriting, but something about the way Friedkin presents the character makes it something more nebulous and interesting. He does nothing narratively, but it feels like there’s a noxious hidden logic which you can feel, but can’t consciously explain. It’s absolutely not a movie which is about getting down to business, it’s a movie which is dedicated to frustrating your best attempts to ever completely get a handle on it. Which is part of what makes its enormous widespread appeal so baffling to me.

  11. I think Lt. Kinderman is in there for comic relief and some exposition, but don’t quote me on it. He does show up at the house during the finale, I believe, and the extended cut has a little button with him at the end that feels unneccessary.

    They delve more into his backstory in the book, but the subplot still doesn’t go anywhere.

  12. My wife shares Majestyk’s opinion that this movie is 45 minutes of good stuff and a whole bunch of filler. That’s hard to argue with, so thank you Mr. Subtlety for putting in words what i couldn’t – the movie invisibly builds so much tension and unease through sound, editing, and good old-fashioned filmatism, that stuff that ends up being extraneous still feels exciting and dreadful. (I was actually pretty riveted while watching the Iraq sequence, even though since absolutely nothing ends up happening I will totally admit I’ll probably hate it if I ever have the guts to watch this movie again).

    I’m with Subtlety that I find alot of the movie inexplicable and curious – what was up w/ that crazy rock-concert shot of someone reaching up from the bed from Karras’ POV during the exorcism? What’s up with the demon getting burned by the Holy Water that turned out to be tap water? Did she know Karras’ mother or not? Was “Captain Howdy” (the imaginary friend) also the demon? I also assumed the Detective was going to blame Chris and Regan for the murders at the end (he literally walks in the room at the worst possible time), but nope, nothing happens. I also read the obnoxious director who gets thrown out the window was molesting Regan – that kinda makes his death awesome but where was this established? Chief among the mysteries – how was Max Von Sydow only 42 or something when this was shot? Ryan Reynolds and Anna Faris are that age now, for crying out loud.

    One more thing I forgot to mention – I always thought there was going to be some big elaborate Ouija board sequence because I had heard about one being in this movie, and I know people who won’t mess around with one “because of The Exorcist”. So imagine my surprise when it’s in a kind of throw-away scene with a blink-and-you-miss-it special effect. That and the attic sequence make this into more of a Haunted House Movie than I expected, which again, may feel like pointless filler but is also the reason I’m kinda freaked out by the dark in my own house now like a giant pansy.

  13. That crazy rock concert shot is easily my favorite thing in the movie.

  14. I’ve always wondered about that shot too. The figure seems to be an iconic image of suffering. Is it Regan’s soul? Is it the Demon? In a movie that is so straightforward, that scene and the face in the shadows are so abstract.

  15. Been too long since I’ve seen it to make a comment but my opinion fluctuates on this one.

    As for the VERSION YOU NEVER SEEN TILL YOU SEE IT, they still offer the Theatrical Cut and now push that one as the Director’s Cut (with some differences from the Version you haven’t seen yet) as the main version but I have yet to meet anyone who prefers it.

  16. Conspiracy theory time: Some time in the mid-70s, a George Soros-esque puppet-master billionaire came to Warner Bros and said “Guys, my kids are STILL scared of The Exorcist. They’re acting like pansies and I can’t deal with it anymore. I will give you as much money as you want and creative freedom to make a sequel – however my only terms will be that it must un-scare anyone traumatized by the first one. Every mysterious thing from the first one must be explained in the dumbest possible way. There will be zero scares. Also, you must use leftover Tatooine sets from Star Wars and a couple thousand locusts that I got stuck with. Oh and my kid made a broken lamp in shop class that only does strobe lights and I want it featured heavily in the movie. But other than that, do whatever you want.” And the Exorcist II was born. This is my only explanation for this nutty, nutty movie that is one of the few “worst movies of all time” that is actually one of the worst movies of all time. But I will forever be in its debt for un-scaring me from The Exorcist about 10 minutes in.

    Note: I will have to say, Linda Blair is really bubbly and likable in this – she’s not exactly “good” but she definitely has charisma (and is a dead ringer for Amy Schumer). I like how the movie ends like X-Men or Man of Steel, with her I guess going off to help people with her superpowers before showing herself off to the world. I wonder if there’s tie-in novels or comic books or something about Regan going around helping people with that magical lasso dance she uses at the end. I know it helped me. Thank you, Regan, and thank you mysterious billionaire.

  17. Say what you want about 2 EX 2 CORCIST, but the trailer is great!

  18. Here’s a phrase you don’t expect to encounter in a review of the sequel to one of the most iconic horror movies of all time: “Tap-dance sequence”

    The Exorcist II: The Heretic

    The Exorcist 2: The Heretic (1977) Dir. John Boorman Written by William Goodhard (with John Boorman and Rospo Pallenberg, uncredited) Starri...

  19. CJ – That trailer really does make the movie seem way more exciting than it is! Plus I like they show that crazy rock concert shot from the first one, I had no idea it was so iconic!

    Mr. S – How did I not know you had a blog? Or did I know and forget in my old age? Either way, your review is fair and spot on – it’s extremely hard to put into words JUST HOW BAD part 2 is, but you’ve done a damn good job of it. It really is disconnected and discombobulated – a random assortment of scenes and ideas with no connective tissue – it kinda reminded me of Batman v. Superman – scenes intercut with no rhyme or reason, dealing w/ minor characters and plot points we have no desire to see. Wait, Batman v. Superman had a shout-out to Boorman’s Excalibur, no to mention strange future-dreams/psychic visions and a whole bunch of African Village nonsense as well! I think Snyder might be an Exorcist II fan (like Quentin Tarantino, apparently).

    But at least BvS had some spectacular, memorable setpieces. The only memorable sequence from Exorcist 2 is the Evil Dead 2-esque camera scaring a guy off a cliff and then his body falling and bouncing off things for the next 5 minutes. The last 20 minutes, when the horror should be amping up, is instead spent detailing minutiae like our heroes getting stuck in traffic and trying to avoid the conductor on a train because they didn’t buy a ticket. It feels like an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, not the sequel to the biggest horror film of all time. It’s anti-cinema on a mind-boggling scale and it makes me wonder if I should now avoid Zardoz at all costs or watch it immediately.

  20. And the weird thing is, there’s a ton of talent in EXORCIST II, much of it on ready display (the production design, for example, which is consistently amazing, and Morricone’s crazy ass score) and somehow the film manages to make NOTHING of any of it.

    However, you should see ZARDOZ immediately. It’s not good, but it feels like a spectacular misfire fueled by hubris and cocaine, as opposed to EXORCIST II’s dispiriting misfire fueled by ambivalence and incoherence.

  21. Well you sealed the deal, Mr. S – I figured what the heck and finally saw Zardoz. You can see alot of the same DNA from Exorcist II, but Zardoz (despite being infinitely more difficult and arty) also has a semblance of coherence and style – beautifully composed shots, clever edits, a smart script that consistently reveals new information but also keeps you guessing throughout. It’s the obtuseness of Exorcist II done right, even though it goes way overboard into self-indulgence. I’d be lying if I said I understood it all, but what little I understood was entertaining and thought-provoking. Watched in 2018, it actually feels like an inspired cross between mother!, Idiocracy, Demolition Man, and an episode of Black Mirror. It’s also scarier and more unsettling than anything in The Exorcist II – Boorman can definitely create shocking scenes and a mood of dread – it’s just a mystery why he chose not to in a sequel to The Exorcist.

  22. I found Exorcist II to be deeply moving and wildly profound… I was also on some really good acid, at a packed midnight screening, and didn’t know what movie I was about to see.

    If you ever get a chance to see Exorcist 2 in this context, I highly recommend it.

  23. I’m team EXORCIST 2 is too weird to call bad.

    My opinion fluctuates on the first one. I’ve always been a fan of 3.

    I remember liking DOMINION but it is unfinished. THE BEGINNING is exactly what you’d think a Renny Harlin EXORCIST would be like.

  24. If ever I have to justify my life before Saint Peter, I’m going to start by mentioning all the people I got to watch ZARDOZ. Glad you liked it, neal!

    geoffreyjar — it’s definitely too weird to call bad. That’s why we invented the word “catastrophic.”

  25. I never thought I’d call an Exorcist movie “delightful”, but I had an ear-to-ear grin on my face the entire time while watching Exorcist III. It’s my kind of horror movie – thrilling but not particularly creepy or disturbing, intense yet incredibly fun and playful. Full of De Palma / Park Chan-wook- esque stylish setpieces and best of all – it’s packed with incredible monologues. This is the Glengarry Glen Ross of horror movies, and I’m surprised film nerds aren’t running around quoting Brad Dourif’s NEXT LEVEL performance. He is easily the best thing in an excellent film, and HOT TAKE – I totally prefer him to Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter or Heath Ledger’s Joker, both of which I think borrow quite a bit from Dourif here. (The Joker HIMSELF also makes a surprise cameo here, along with Patrick Ewing, Samuel L. Jackson, C. Everett Koop, Larry King, and FABIO. Have I mentioned this movie is incredible?)

    Side note: Has there ever been another sequel whose entire plot and central mystery is “wait, how is this a sequel to the other movie?” I actually don’t mind the reshoots and think the tacked-on exorcism is powerful and inventively realized – but wow, if this was just billed as “George C. Scott in Legion” and then revealed itself to be a stealth sequel to The Exorcist, I think that would be an all-timer “you had to be there” movie experience on par with Psycho. As is, it’s a great shared universe/reboot and proof that William Peter Blatty is a better director than most directors. I think it’s time to finally watch The Ninth Configuration now.

  26. I know, the movie is incredible fun and well made!

  27. I suppose at first the idea of using the cop Kinderman (recast at that) as the lynchpin of a sequel seems a stretch. But once Jason Miller shows up, shit gets real!

  28. Finally finished the Exorcist series, and I’ll be perfectly honest – I kinda liked both 4 and 5. I think word on the street is Harlin’s version was absolutely terrible and Schrader’s version was not quite as bad, but bad in a different way. I’m here to say I find Harlin’s charmingly schlocky and Schrader’s legit good.

    I don’t want to get into spoilers too much since hopefully Vern will review the rest of the series, but I highly recommend watching 4 and 5 back to back. There’s no fatigue since they’re almost entirely different movies despite sharing Skarsgard and the sets and props. Most of the actors are recast, most of the characters are different or serve different purposes. A child who’s maybe the 3rd lead character in one will have like 2 lines in the other. Binge-watching the two movies is a surreal, unique experience (and really makes me wish they put out Snyder’s Justice League or Lord and Miller’s Solo one day). Btw, as this is a retelling of Merrin’s flashbacks from Part II, this means 3 of the 5 Exorcist movies involve Merrin’s African Adventures (and the story is completely different all three times, Rashomon-style)

    Harlin’s has a big twist that a) I didn’t see coming and b) makes zero sense. It also has a shower scene, in case you were still thinking this was going to be classy, along with outrageous gore and atrocious CGI. It’s the Iraq sequence in Exorcist as directed by Stephen Sommers – there’s no reason I should like it, but I was always entertained. One criticism – if you’re going to end your prequel with someone calling Merrin “Mr. Merrin” and he goes, “Call me…FATHER Merrin” and struts off into the fog with his hat and briefcase to recreate the iconic image from Part One, you kinda need to play Tubular Bells as you go to credits, right? Right???

    Schrader’s version starts with a scene that’s also in Harlin’s (one of few) – except you notice right off the bat this version of the scene is better – there’s more tension, more dread – Skarsgard seems more engaged (he’s much better in Schrader’s). The movie honestly doesn’t feel incomplete and it’s certainly not “unreleasable” as I’ve heard – it’s no less slow-burn or draggy than most of today’s A24-ish indie horror – there’s still some gore and scares (and those awful CGI effects are back). The runtime is almost identical to Harlin’s but it feels more fleshed out and thoughtful. The plotting gets a little messy towards the end and the final exorcism ends anticlimactically, but it’s still an involving and dare I say powerful experience.

    Final ranking: 1, 3, 5, 4, 2. (There’s a big gap between 1 and the still-excellent 3, and a bigger gap between 4 and 2). I still recommend all of ’em and will probably start watching the show as I’ve heard good things.

  29. Broddie pointed this out in the Lethal Weapon 4 thread and I finally finished it so I can agree- The Exorcist TV show is surprisingly great. It’s definitely the best Exorcist-related thing behind III; in fact if someone said they preferred this to III or even the original I wouldn’t really argue with them (I think Mr. Majestyk in particular would find it more entertaining and better-paced than the first movie).

    Season 1 is believe it or not, an intriguing mix of The Exorcist and The Wire; sure it’s yet another white upper-class teenage girl in need of exorcising (it kinda has to be, right?), but it somehow manages to incorporate city politics, corruption, class, and race in the proceedings in a surprisingly organic way. The two new hero priests are enormously likable and better developed than any of the priests in the film series. And there’s a twist that was unfortunately spoiled for me but is an absolute jaw-dropper if you don’t see it coming.

    Season 2 is even better. After this and “Searching”, John Cho cements himself as one of our best everyman dramatic actors, and Briana Hildebrand (Deadpool’s Negasonic Teenage Warhead) is nothing short of incredible. (People should really be all up her ass and not Ruby Rose, since only one of them has the acting chops to go along with their striking look). I can’t give away too much since you don’t even know who needs Exorcising until about halfway through the season, but I’ll say the scare scenes are well done (Ti West directed an episode) and the emotional drama stuff is really involving. The final episode gave me “all the feels” or whatever the phrase is.

    It’s too bad the series got canceled but it doesn’t leave you hanging in a frustrating way. Each season is only 10 episodes and has a fairly self-contained story arc. I’d say if you’ve got a Hulu subscription and like the movies you should give it a shot.

  30. Good to hear. It’S available on Amazon Prime here and I heard some good things, but also pushed it aside because I didn’t want to invest time in another cancelled story arc show.

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