Written by: Scotty
Although the month of scares is behind us now, it never hurts to look at how some horror movies have changed the world that we live in. Back in 1973 a film called The Exorcist hit the big screen. Being based off of the 1971 novel of the same name, William Peter Blatty wrote the screenplay as well. Not looking to make the scariest movie, but trying to add some terror into a story, Blatty was successful in both points.
Taking his novel and putting his view on the screen is one feat that very few writers actually get a chance to do. Encompassing the main parts of his story, and maintaing the self sacrifice that is to important to the story in the film made the screen version just that more terrifying. Having real people battling with real problems keeps the story much closer to home. Following Father Damian Karras as he is challenged by his own faith as his mother is dying and blaming him for the treatment she receives, along with not believing that God could really put good people through so much pain.
The position of young Regan takes second fiddle to the other tricks that are played on you in the film. The addition of frames being added into the film was not entirely legal at the time. Advertisers had tried that trick and been fined for it. Being a type of subliminal advertising for the normal air stations of the day, The Exorcist was able to get away with the trick because people had already paid their money to see the show.
A truly religious piece of the film was the barrier that The Exorcist was able to take down next. Before this film, you never had a movie depict so many religious acts, or deface any religious items. Being placed with an ‘R’ rating back in 1973 meant that you would not be able to be a success in any type of movie and that is what the critics thought as well. Showing a defaced statue or a priest dying could have been enough for the audience, but a usage of the cross that leaves many shaking their heads, was certainly groundbreaking.
But it doesn't end there, let's take a look at a few more examples. A single actress having an affair with her director. Although these things would have happened in real life back in the 70’s, nobody would have put that in a story without being chastised. Public perception of the acting industry was much too high for anyone to take a shot at what may be happening behind the cameras. A priest that has lost his faith was also uncouth, a man of God would never question the all mighty in a film with fear that one of my religious groups would boycott seeing their movies ever again. But let's not leave out the biggest shocker, having a child as the vocal point of all that is evil would never have been done without someone taking the first step, The Exorcist took that step.
Even if you are not a lover of the horror movies like myself, I would recommend that you give this movie a look. One of the few movies that actually changed the rules of the game would be one that anyone that loves movies should watch. Looking at where we are now with the ratings systems and where we came from can give you a great respect for the past. Even though with use of the internet these days, things get done a heck of a lot faster, but with world of mouth back in the 70’s and 80’s, a movement could be created for much less.