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November 25, 2008

South Park "The Ungroundable": Twilight in Review

I just wanted to give a short reasoning behind why I completely agreed with what this episode had to say about vampire kids, Twilight, and Hot Topic.  Lately I think the boys from South Park have been stalking my sister and finding out what she loves most in life, so that they can make fun of it.  She loves Twilight, she loves High School Musical, she loves Guitar Hero, she loves Hot Topic.  I think it's funny, personally, when the show she's loved for years has turned on her and started destroying everything she loves in life.  It's not quite that dramatic, but it's still pretty funny.

The funny thing about an episode like this is that it's making fun of people who follow these trends while at the same time realizing that most things are a trend and there's no stopping that.  We just seem to be living during a particularly stupid and annoying trend.  My favorite quote from the episode was probably where they said that anyone who believes he or she is actually a real vampire is an idiot, something like that.  And then the one Goth kid flips everyone off.

I've been saying for months (two posts, but who's counting?) that Twilight is light but trashy, heavy on the sappy love, syrupy sweet, and mostly annoying.  I'm glad this view has come to light through one of my favorite shows.  Let me clarify though, of course I'm happy that kids are reading, but why can't they read something better? If a 12 year old is introduced to Twilight and the book series ends, what does she go on to read? Romance novels, most likely, Nora Roberts and Linda Howard and Jo Beverley and Cassie Edwards.  Or even worse, vampire romance: see Christine Feehan.  (Don't judge me, I used to work in a book store, I know what romance is popular.)  Then where will this girl be?  She'll be knee-deep in trashy non-literature, not knowing who Jane Austen is or what people mean by feminism.  She'll just be dreaming of her very own Edward, who will sweep her off her feet into a teen marriage and teen pregnancy, name her child the stupidest thing she can think of, and only really live when faux-Edward is around to berate her for being a human.  It's the future that every little girl dreams of, really.

I've said so much on the topic of this series that I almost feel bad even mentioning it again. I know I'll review it once again when I read the last book next summer (oh goody) and when I see the movie with my sister.  And of course I have friends who read the books and that's totally cool with me, as long as they understand the difference between reality and trashy fiction and don't expect a real man to abuse them in the way Edward does to Bella.  Oh, and I hope they realize also that being whiny and annoying like Bella will not get you anywhere in life and a relationship is not the most important thing to have in life.  Just because you are 15 doesn't mean you need a boyfriend.  Just because you just broke up with a guy doesn't mean you have to hook up with several more in order to feel good about yourself.  You don't need a romantic partner in order to be a real person.  That shouldn't be the thing that gives you self-confidence.

I apologize for going off on several random tangents, I just have a lot to say about a lot of different things, none of which are that interesting.  I might return to this topic again someday.  I'm not looking forward to it.

November 24, 2008

La Moustache (France)

Continuing with my current theme of foreign horror, I add this weirdly frustrating French hors d'oeuvre to the menu. (That was pretty clever.  But also a little pretentious.  I'm sorry, it won't happen again.  I detest when people speak French when not in France or possibly Quebec.  They just do it to brag about how cultured they may or may not actually be.  Especially when they take six week online courses and deem themselves ready to teach school-children in France how to speak English.  I once met a guy who pronounced France how the French do (Frahhhh-nce). I wanted to slap him and tell him not to be such a dick. And he was a first year, first semester French student.  C'est la vie.  See? That's what I'm talking about.  Isn't that annoying? I could go on and on for days about how much that bugs me.  You are not French. You never will be.  How many French lessons have you actually had?  Not enough.  Even with seven years of French under my belt, I don't pull that kind of shit.)  And yes, that is how you spell hors d'oeuvre. I didn't even have to look it up.

From what I could interpret, which decidedly was not much, this French guy, who's name was probably Jacques or Pierre or Jean, (edit: It was Vincent. Sorry for my blatant stereotypes. I should probably cross-reference things more often, rather than relying on my faulty memory) decides one day to shave off the moustache he's had for like thirty years.  He shows his wife, who I remember was named Agnes, and her two friends, but they don't understand why he thinks he used to have a moustache.  They deny the whole thing and tell him he's just being silly; he's never had a moustache and he's crazy, etc.  It's a little jarring because you don't really realize whether the others are crazy or just Vincent. But it's also a little annoying because you start to think, "Who cares? It's just a moustache.  Grow a new one."  It wasn't even a horror movie really, because it wasn't like the moustache attacked anyone or haunted anyone.  It was more of a weak thriller that just kind of mildly amused the audience of pretentious (there's that word again) college students pretending to be progressive and avant-garde.  So a French film, basically.  (Another stereotype, I'm not a good person.)

I guess it wasn't that bad, besides the bizarre moustache-themed plot.  Vincent ends up going to Hong Kong for some weird reason, maybe to track down his lost moustache or something.  But I saw the movie for free, which is always nice in the end.  And I do like to experience French cinema because I'm a seventh year French student and I like to be assured that I do know some amount of the French language.  I'm better at listening and writing in French than I am at speaking it, so I probably should practice that more. But I would much rather just go see a movie.  The one thing about most of the French horror that I've seen is that it seems to focus more on the bizarre everyday things that may happen to a person, and I've heard of a lot of French directors of thrillers and horror who try to imitate a Hitchcockian style of direction and plot.  Which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't.  I don't understand the appeal of copying another director. I get that people love Hithcock, I do too, but wouldn't you rather carve out your own little niche than try to copy someone else? (I'm talking to you here, Shyamalan.)  I just think it would be a lot more creative to come up with your own ideas.  A lot more satisfying and rewarding, at least.  But what do I know?

November 23, 2008

The Host (Korea)

I bought this Korean horror gem this weekend at Target for $15.  How could I pass that up?  I saw it on Netflix last year after hearing a lot about it, and I'm just going to say that it's probably in my top 10 monster movies of all time. I loved it. I know a lot of people who hate subtitles (which is ridiculous), but I think even without the subtitles and not knowing Korean, the message comes across clear enough: Monster attacks city, steals little girl, takes her back to his lair to eat her, she hides from him, the girl's dad will stop at nothing to get her back.  I just realized I used male pronouns for the monster the entire time.  Does that make me a monster sexist?  Maybe.

I just watched half of the movie again tonight. I forgot how funny and endearing it was.  And how good the cinematography is.  I guess I don't really think of Korea as a great producer of films, but this one is very well-made.  All the actors do a great job, the monster is a great use of special effects, the humor translates well.  The man character, the dad with blond hair, is especially compelling.  He's funny but clumsy and always well-meaning.  I would like to see that actor in another role, to see if he keeps up that bumbling oaf complex or switches it up.  The little girl is cute too. (I'm avoiding writing the names because I know I won't spell them right.)  The way she's able to evade the monster, even when all the adults around her get killed is awesome.

So basically I have only praise for this one, which makes the review probably a lot more boring than the normal reviews.  But I really recommend it to anyone, even casual fans of Asian horror.  It's not scary, but that's not really what it's going for.  It's a monster movie, and let's face it, monsters in this vein of cinema haven't been scary since maybe the Creature from the Black Lagoon.  The only "monsters" that people are still honestly fascinated by are the Universal monsters, Dracula and possibly the wolfman.  Vampires have really come into fashion lately, so that's what everyone finds to be scary or sexy or romantic or whatever.  But why does it have to be that way?  I'm not saying that the weird fish/lizard/frog monster in The Host is sexy and romantic, but I would say he (or she) is at least interesting and different.  Why can't that be scary to us anymore?  Remember in the 50s when giant fake lizards and Godzilla and giant spiders and stuff were scary?  I admit I wasn't around in the 50s so I guess I don't know for certain whether people were actually frightened by these things, but if they weren't, then why did this become a subgenre in horror?  I'm just saying that someone needs to bring back the monster movie, and if anyone is taking any forward steps in that direction, it's definitely The Host.  It's such an old story, the whole kidnapped-by-a-monster thing (Beauty and the Beast? etc), but the way it's told in The Host is very fresh.  The humor lightens it up, and the filmmakers really know how to make sure people really care about the little girl who is kidnapped.  I won't spoil the ending, but you will want to watch it again.

November 18, 2008

Infection (Japan)

Another entry in my long-list of semi-watchable J-Horror.  That was a lot of hyphenation.  Since I've basically run out of American horror that isn't horrendous and doesn't star the latest teen scream queen, I've moved on.  It's a significant part of my life, the transition from American horror to foreign horror.

It's not that the movie was bad; it's that the movie could have been so much better.  Sure, it had some gross-outs and some genuine scares, but there seems to be this idea that pervades all horror, in the U.S. and abroad, that any and all scary movies or thrillers must have twist endings to be worth anything.  And it's absolutely not true.  Why can't they just go with the predictable "everybody gets away" or "everybody dies" solutions?  It's worked so many times before, why wouldn't it work now?

So Infection is about (you guessed it) an infection in a hospitable somewhere in Japan.  The doctors have no idea what this disease is all about, but they quarantine themselves in the hospital nonetheless.  They don't contact any outside help, because apparently they are geniuses and don't need anyone but themselves.  So a guy dies because they used the wrong injection or something, and the girl who did it keeps freaking out.  The hospital is tinged with green lighting, which you know provides the perfect atmosphere for horror.  I've always said, a better decorating scheme could prevent up to 90% of the terrible things that happen to people in horror movies.  Monsters and murderers and diseases don't want to attack a nice little suburban home with a white picket fence.  They want the creepy hospital, the lake cabin in the middle of nowhere, the house at night left with just a babysitter, the subway station when no one is around.

Anyway, the disease turns people into zombie-type things or something, and their blood is green and squirts all over the place.  I guess that was worth watching, but not much else was worth the time.  Also, none of the characters were clearly developed and it was hard to know who they were talking about half the time.  Although one girl does eat "dumplings" that turn out not to be dumplings at all.  Use your imagination to figure that one out.

I just realized that anyone reading any of my horror reviews must think I'm terribly screwed up from all this violence and fear and such.  I'm not though, at least not to my knowledge.  I'm taking a child psychology class, and they keep telling me the correlations between violence, aggression, and violent television.  But I've been watching violent TV and movies since I was about 3 years old.  And I've never hurt anyone.  I just enjoy horror movies.  I've discussed this before in an earlier review that I'm too lazy to look up, but you can find it yourself if you really feel it's necessary to read my anonymous ramblings again.  But basically, to answer my own question, I'm just a normal person who has a fascination with the human impulse towards the grotesque and the brutal.  And if that's weird, than I guess I have nothing else to say.

November 17, 2008

Bucket List

I had one written up on my facebook awhile ago, but I don't know where it went or what happened to it. Go figure. Anyway, this is me trying to remember what I wrote. *This means it's been done.*

1. Go to New Orleans, experience a real Mardi Gras.

2. Go back to France, live there for some period of time.

*3. Go to a real opera.*

4. Have a family.

*5. Fall in love.*

6. Punch someone in the face.

7. Fight off zombies, successfully.

8. Write a book, get it published.

9. Go to grad school.

10. Become a psychologist.

*11. Become fluent in French.* –(I consider myself basically fluent…)

12. Go to the neighborhood where my grandma grew up, in New York.

13. Read every book on my booklist.

14. Do something good for all of womankind.

15. Eliminate the stigma attached to mental disorders.

16. Go scuba diving in a non-Lake-Sakakawea setting.

17. Tour a real haunted house.

18. Find out about my genealogy.

19. Grow something in a garden.

20. Learn to play the guitar.

21. Smash a guitar.

*22. Read to my niece.

23. Have an adventure.

24. Learn something new every day.

*25. Cook an extravagant meal.

*26. Learn to dance.

27. Skinny dip.

28. Meet Morgan Freeman.

29. Visit Abbey Road.

30. Have a sandwich-making room in my house.

31. Go hunting again with my dad.

32. Face my fears.

*33. Something secret.

34. Kiss a Frenchman on top of the Eiffel Tower.

35. Earn a trophy.

36. Visit the Caribbean. Jamaica, man.

37. Go to Italy.

38. Have a library in my future home with a bay window where I can sit and read and look out at the snow and drink hot chocolate.  Very specific, but I'll make it happen.

39. Get married in my grandmother's wedding dress.

40. Go snorkeling.

41. Knit a blanket.

42. Make a Molotov cocktail.

That's all for now. I will be adding more when I think of them.  Any suggestions are welcome, too.  I hope I don't die before I can get this list done, I hate leaving things half-finished.

November 14, 2008

What I Wish I Was Doing Right Now

Right now I wish I was:

1. Playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. I would listen to all the best radio stations (VRock, naturally), I would shoot a bunch of people and then run away from the cops, I would steal a helicopter and jump off the tallest building, I would use a cheat to make every car I touch fly away into the sky, and I would finish the last mission and kill Lance. That is what I would do if I was playing Vice City.

2. If I could do anything right now, I would go on a hot air balloon. That would be spectacular. I've never been on one before, and I would like to. Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

3. I would hold my little niece and rock her to sleep.

4. If I wasn't working, I would be watching Home Alone with everyone else instead of studying for my child psychology test and being lonely.

5. If I had the time in general, I would figure out my philosophy about life. Because right now, I don't really have one, and I think that's something a college student should have by now so that when I graduate, I can learn all kinds of lessons about why my previous outlook was wrong. There would be a montage involved.

6. I would kick my sister's ass at Guitar Hero. Or any Wii game. Except the Godfather, because my sister is very good at choking people to death and throwing them either into traffic or against a brick wall.

7. I would write something worthwhile, besides a sorry excuse for a list of some kind or a review of a movie that no one wants to see and no one ever will. One day I would publish that written text, but I would only make one copy for myself, and no one could ever read it until I died and didn't care anymore. Because I would be embarrassed. And I would probably burn it before I died anyway, or haunt the person who inherited it and tell them never to publish it. I'm rambling, but I don't care.

That's what I would do if I had a million dollars. I mean if I could do anything right now.

November 13, 2008

Open Letter

To the d-bag who's conversation I overheard while walking to class.  I know I was technically eavesdropping.  But you said that in public.  And I wasn't listening to you.  I even had music playing, and I heard that one phrase and it pissed me off.

So this is what I heard you say: "…Is she dateable or would you just lay her?"  On the phone.  You actually said that.  You used the verb "to lay."  What is wrong with you?

I know you saw me give you that dirty look, because you stopped talking right after I looked at you.  It makes me so mad that you boiled that woman down to either 1. date or 2. have sex.  You don't think she's anything more than that?  I hope she says no to both of those things.

It's people like that, who only judge others for outward qualities, whether male or female, who make me angry.  I was mad for the rest of the night about that.  I just kept thinking, do people think about my sister that way, or my cousins, or my friends, or me?  It's kind of gross, really.  It reminds me of my favorite quote from the 40 Year Old Virgin.  "Why does everything have to be about sex?"

I have nothing else to say and I have to go to a staff meeting now, so just soak in this information and use it in your daily life.  It's important.

Okay, I'm back the next day to just add a little more to this particular train of thought.  I hope you learn to respect women, because one day you're going to say something like that in front of someone who will do more than just give you a dirty look.  And I hope you change your mind about that.  How you can go through life thinking about that woman or all women only in that context is beyond me.  I hope that if you actually have any female friends who you don't want to just "lay" (who still says that?), that they tell you that you need to rethink your opinions about women.

I'm done with this, I have no more energy to think about it.

November 11, 2008

Werewolf Movies: Ginger Snaps

Thanks to Tammy for the comment…if I had known I would get the most responses to my Twilight reviews, I would have reviewed each book separately.  Don't worry, I haven't read the fourth yet (I'm dreading it) and I'll see the movie with my little sister.  The reviews will come soon after.

Can anyone even name a werewolf movie besides The Wolfman?  Are there any good ones out there, you may be asking yourself?  There are good werewolf movies, but they are few and far between.  There's just something about a half-wolf/half-man creature that just doesn't translate well to the screen.  Whether it's about special effects capabilities or just the blemish on werewolves' reputations that is Teen Wolf, there's just no longer a market for werewolves.  They're out of fashion, vampires are in again, so there's no room for another Universal monster-type.  But, lo and behold, out from the uppermost Northern regions of the cold, icy mistress that is Canada we have Ginger Snaps.  A clever play on words once you realize that the main character, Ginger, snaps and turns into a werewolf.  C'est drôle.  Using werewolfism as a metaphor for puberty is not a new idea (hello? turning into a werewolf once a month? blood? general irritation at the world? a woman turning into a snarling beast?  how sexist.), but the film certainly spices it up a bit with the inclusion of the Goth stereotypes and high school locations.  It also includes the wonderful Emily Perkins, who you may or may not remember from IT as Beverly Marsh.

The people need to be more aware of the options available to them concerning werewolf movies.  It is now my mission to preach, take it to the streets.  Don't rule them out yet, there are good ones.  I'm waiting for a full-on comeback.

I watched this movie with my little sister over the summer, and I remember being happy that we found a horror movie that we had never seen and that we actually enjoyed.  That doesn't happen too often, so maybe the far reaches of Mother Canada will be able to provide more horror for our insatiable thirst.  The atmosphere was good, the high school scenes, while not reflecting my own personal high school experience (I'm not a werewolf or a Canadian, the culture is just so very different), was still fun to watch (like a very warped DeGrassi episode), and the oblivious parents were great, especially when Brigitte and Ginger have to hide the dead body in the back yard.  The girls are Super Goths, so the parents don't ever suspect anything.  The girls often recreate gruesome death scenes in their kitchen or backyard just for shits and giggles, as young girls often do when exploring their identities.  Oh, kids.

My one complaint about this superior werewolf tribute would be the special effects involved in the creation of the creature herself.  Ginger has a tail when she's not a werewolf.  A little weird and disgusting, and I'm not really sure how it fits in with the whole werewolfism-as-menstruation metaphor.  I don't remember whether the werewolf was a puppet or computer generated, but either way it wasn't that great.  But oddly, it didn't detract from the film.  Still a good one to watch during a full moon.

November 10, 2008

Psycho

Here it is, the grand-daddy of all horror films.  Or at least the supposed origin of the slasher film.  But much classier, and with more cross-dressing.

I love this movie.  Love love love it.  Anthony Perkins is perfect as Norman Bates, the mother-loving murderer of the Bates Motel.  (Yes, I spoiled the ending, but if you haven't seen the movie or at least know the basic plot line, then shame on you.)  I love Anthony Perkins so much that a few years ago, I used to go to a local old-people restaurant (and by this I mean there were a lot of old people present, they didn't serve old people as food or anything) and there was a waiter there who looked exactly like Anthony Perkins.  I called him Anthony sometimes, to myself.  I don't know how he would have reacted if I had called him that to his face, but I really don't even remember his real name, as sad as that is.

So in eighth grade I went through a Hitchcock phase, and this was always my favorite one.  I'm sure some film buff would tell me that this was Hitchcock's worst film or it had no subtlety or something, but when you're raised on horror, how can you help but be drawn to it?  The fact that Marion Crane is killed off in the first third of the movie is shocking, especially since she's billed as a star and the main character.  She's not even in most of the damn movie.  Do they even do that kind of thing anymore?  I can't think of an example, but maybe I just don't make good connections between films.

All anyone ever remembers from this movie is the famous Shower Scene.  It's famous, so it must be capitalized.  It's the law.  With good reason too, because it's very well-done and eerie.  The music (mimicked in Signs); the slightly erotic stabbing motions, which make no actual blood or gore, oddly enough; the shadow of the "mother" figure, who looks a bit like a senile grandmother; the chocolate syrup used for the fake blood running down the drain, since the filmmakers figured, it's in black and white, no one will notice.  Perfection.

They remade this movie, didn't they?  I never forced my self to watch the remake, which I imagine would be like drinking a bucket of vomit.  Terrible tragedy.  Vince Vaughn?  How could you think that you could carry a role like that?  It's a shame.

That Shower Scene, I think, has frightened generations of people to be a little more lax with their hygiene rituals, especially at road-side motels.  Who wants to take a shower at a little armpit hotel like that, and risk being stabbed to death by Norman Bates?  Not me.  And why wouldn't Marion lock the door to the bathroom?  If memory serves me right, I think she even left the door slightly open.  What a silly person.

There's so much to this movie that sadly couldn't be addressed in that time period, because of the social mores and all that fun stuff.  Like, what exactly was Norman Bates doing while watching Marion through the peephole behind the picture frame?  One can only guess.  It wouldn't have been very classy to have anything too graphic, but it's pretty obvious he wasn't just watching her.  And what did Norman do with his mother's corpse in the basement?  I'm sure he didn't just drink tea with her and don her clothes every now and then to go trick-or-treating.  Maybe I'm reading too much into Bates' latent sexuality, but it's all a little suspicious if you ask me.

So Marion gets killed, Norman goes to jail and his thoughts are in a female voice, he won't harm a fly, etc.  How did this movie spawn two sequels?  I've never forced myself to watch them, but I'm sure they involved some convoluted plot twist that had Norman escaping from prison to be reunited in some sick love story with his deceased mother.  What a happy ending.

So if you want to see the basis for twenty years of shitty slasher movies, go rent Psycho.  Make sure it's not the Vince Vaughn version, or I will have to slap you.

November 9, 2008

Haute Tension (High Tension)

I've heard this movie get a lot of crap for being a slasher, for featuring a very odd twist (which I enjoyed personally), for being French, and for featuring some extremely soft-core masturbation scenes.  That's all fine and dandy, but I still liked the movie.  Call me crazy, but when someone releases a slasher that is actually compelling and suspenseful, I can't get enough of it.  It's like the first time you see Jason jump out of the lake into that canoe, or when the hall monitor turns into Freddy Krueger, you just knew some crazy shit was about to happen.  Same thing here, only more European and with less of the "half-naked American teenagers go to the lake only to get slaughtered one-by-one" vibe.  Of course the main female characters are very pretty and sexually open (that's not the word I'm looking for; I can't really describe it, but you know what I mean).  Of course the violence is over-the-top and gushing, just how it should be.  Of course all the French people speak French.  But it's still more than just a slasher.

It has the obligatory twist ending, which I actually enjoyed.  Since the film was made, there have been many, many more movies following the same formula.  But it still works; it still has that power to shock you.  The violence even got to me a little bit, even a hardcore veteran of schlock horror.  I just never really get why they have to kill off children or animals in horror movies, that's probably why it affected me.  Even killers need to have some limits, and I think children should be one of those.  There's a reason they don't include kids in video games like GTA: they don't want you to murder them.  (Although, it's of course okay to kill men and women, as long as they are of a certain age.  Do not question Rockstar, they are all-knowing in the ethics department.)

The sheer terror shown by the main female is wonderful; Cecile de France, I think is her name.  (Why do I know that?)  She does a great job at being the Final Girl.  (Read Carol Cleaver's excellent study of women in horror called Men, Women, and Chainsaws. What a fantastic title for a book.)  She reminds me a bit of Nancy in Nightmare on Elm Street or even Laurie Strode from Halloween.  She's resourceful, she fights back, she doesn't give up.  It's a shame what happens to her, it really is.  But I won't ruin the twist.

As far as villains go, up until the end, the bad guy in this one is quite bland and forgettable.  He's just some greasy trucker-man who wears a yucky coat and practices unsafe sex.  (See scene one for evidence.)  He has no real motive besides this sexual fetishism, I suppose, but it's enough.  He's a French cross between Rusty Nail from Joy Ride and that damn demon-man from Jeepers Creepers, except without the supernatural bullshit.  I kept wanting him to say, "Caaandy Caaaane."  I don't remember him ever having any actual dialogue, until the end maybe, just a little growling.

I've seen this movie in the original French and with some extremely well-done English subtitles.  I would recommend the movie in either format, depending on what you're comfortable with.  I'm pretty sure that most people can guess the ending before it happens, but it's still well-done.  So watch out for it.  And watch out for French truckers.

November 1, 2008

The Exorcist

I finally decided to write a post about the Exorcist, and it's been a long time coming, only because to me, it is the scariest movie ever made.  So I have a lot to say about it, I suppose.  A lot of people, especially people my age, will disagree with me that this movie is even a bit frightening.  They say the effects are fake, the plot is boring, and the monster isn't even scary, it's just a little girl.  I disagree; for me, that's why the film is so intense.  What's so weird about a little girl being the main source of evil in the film?  What about The Ring? Pretty good.  Silent Hill? Absolute shit. Any Japanese horror movie in the last ten years? Ranges from brilliant to mediocre.  But my point is, kids are scary for some reason.  Maybe the message is that we should stop having children.  I don't know, I'm not a film major.  And if I was, I would have a lot bigger problems than what other people think about The Exorcist.

You can't go wrong with this movie, if you want to be scared.  Sure, the build-up is slow, but that's what's so brilliant about it.  It has you by the balls before you even know it's a horror movie.  Sure, there's lots of blood and vomit and obscenities, but the psychological aspect is what drives the story, both book and movie.  It's hard to get over the fact that Reagan is just a normal, regular little girl who happens to be possessed by the devil (or Pazuzu, in the book, but apparently that was too ridiculous of a name for the film.)  Like it could happen to anyone.  I don't personally know anything about exorcism, but it's fascinating, whether it's true or not.  Even just taking it psychologically, without the religious factor, it's fascinating, how someone can be that much affected by his or her own mind.

The movie following religiously close to the book (that was a pun).  Scene by scene, almost, just like the Silence of the Lambs.  The author claims the book is based on a true story, but I highly doubt that he can follow that up with any real facts.  It would be interesting and everything, but I really don't think it happened.  Especially in the last century, with all the advances of medical science and psychology, we already know that the idea of exorcism is often applied to those with psychological disorders.  That doesn't make them any less fascinating, just more realistic.  It's the same thing for me with ghosts.  I don't claim to know whether they exist or not, but a helluva lot of people think they do.  I have no evidence either way, so I won't comment.

But if anyone tells you they weren't at least a little scared of this movie, that person is a liar.  Watch this film alone at night with all the lights out, you won't be able to sleep.  I still wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and think that the demon-possessed little girl is going to be crawling towards me spewing pea-green vomit.  Scary and repulsive.  People tell me all the time that the Exorcism of Emily Rose is way scarier, but those people are liars.  They just watch movies for the pretty colors and moving screen.  This movie was insane when it first came out, it had such an effect on audiences, although I guess that's only what I've heard from the filmmakers and DVD releasers.  And they do tend to exaggerate.  But I like to think that The Exorcist is the movie that really gives horror a good name.  It turned the genre from something just intended to bring cheap shocks and gross-outs and turned it into a study of the mind and how much it can take.  Again, I might be blinded by my love for this film and reading too much into what just isn't there, but I really think that the psychology, especially that of Father Karras, is what makes this film a cut about the rest of the schlock horror that was previously being released.

I know a lot of people who refuse to watch The Exorcist because they think it will scar them for life.  It will.  But that doesn't mean you shouldn't watch.  In fact, I think that means you should watch it immediately.  What is the purpose of film than to change your life?  Sure, it entertains.  But don't you need something deeper than that sometimes?  Even if it changes you by making you afraid of the dark or terrified of using Ouija boards, isn't that better than sitting through another Saw movie and just wanted to yawn and vomit quietly into your popcorn box?  I would rather have something really affect me than to just go through life bored and discontent.

A few quick notes on some of my favorite parts.

All the religious imagery and blasphemy: sometimes hard to stomach, always hard to watch.  I'm Christian, so it does bother me but I'm almost glad they included it to show the raw evil of the demon.  It makes it much more disturbing and gruesome.

The "subliminal" messages: This movie got into a bit of trouble for including some subliminal imagery (watch when Chris walks through the kitchen, a demon head flashes on the stove, look on imdb for more instances.)  But I think when you catch it, it makes the movie all the more frightening.  And looking for the images is half the fun.  Watch the original demon-head trailer on youtube if you want to poop your pants in fear.

Both Father Merrin and Father Karras are brilliantly portrayed by Max Von Sydow and Jason Miller respectively.  Watch for Father Karras' dramatic end, so sad.

Linda Blair is the creepiest kid ever.  Especially when she's raising her arms up in the bed and the demon appears behind her. What the fuck?

"Dami, Dami, why you don't visit me, Dami?"  Poor Mama Karras.  I knew a kid named Damien and I called him Dami sometimes.

 

Have fun sleeping after you watch this one.