Archives Ratings Mrs. Filthy Gooden Worsted


Quote Whore Hall of Fame Inductee Paul Wunder is dead, but here's what he would have said about some of the current movies:

Hey Whore, how's the whoring? According to this week's Quote Whore:

The Watcher is "Spine-tingling! The best thriller of the decade!"

Bait is a "tasty piece of chum! Jamie Foxx delivers a big hook full of laughs!"

Beautiful is "quite simply, beautiful! A movie every woman who wants to be pretty should see!"

Urban Legends: The Final Cut is "A surprise! A very scary movie with an excellent cast... oh, who the hell am I fooling? I'm a fucking loser!"

Dawn Powell
- The Wicked Pavilion

Better Off Dead

Velvet Underground - VU


Big Empire

Post-it Theater

Las Vegas

The Gift ElectroniquÈ

Big Empire Buddies


©2000 by Randy Shandis Enterprises. All rights fucking reserved.

This week:

The Exorcist

Filthy says:
"What was that? Did you hear something?"


I had never seen "The Exorcist" before. Not because I'm a big pussy, but because I never believed the hype. I doubted it was as scary as everyone said because all I ever heard about was some girl in a room puking up green shit, and I saw plenty of that the time my sister ate snail pellets because she thought they were dog food (don't ask). I thought it was something that was scary in 1973, but looked like a bad episode of "Touched by an Angel" by today's standards.

My reluctance to see it wasn't because I'm a big fucking scaredy-cat, although I am. In fact, my girliness is why I won't go see "The Exorcist" again. Jesus Christ, it gave me the fucking willies worse than the time we found that one-legged guy hiding in our basement.

I assume everyone already knows the story. Father Merrin (Max Von Sydow) uncovers satanic artifacts on an archeological dig in Iraq. Shortly afterward, an innocent twelve-year-old (Linda Blair) in Georgetown begins acting strangely. All the doctors in the world can't figure out what's wrong, but they keep taking painful, bloody tests to find out. Blair continues acting stranger, blurting out obscenities, pissing on her mother's rug (Fuck, I must have been possessed too). It slowly becomes apparent that what's wrong with her is not psychological. Her bed shakes, she is thrown about her room, objects move on their own, and she mutilates her vagina with a cross. Creepiest of all, Blair crawls down the stairs on her fingers and toes, upside down, stopping at the bottom to reveal a gaping, bloody mouth.

Her mother, Ellen Burstyn, seeks an exorcist from the Jesuit university Georgetown, and the likely candidate is Father Karras (Jason Miller), a psychiatrist with his own self-doubts about the church. Karras at first refuses to acknowledge a demon possession, but eventually the evidence is overwhelming. The church calls in Von Sydow to lead the exorcism, and the two priests go head to head with the Big Bad Guy Satan inside this girl's body in a winner take all Battle Royale.

"The Exorcist" is so Goddamn scary because it deepens the scares with backstory. It slowly builds, piling up the spookiness with flashes of evil, sinister shadows and increasing unseen terror. It only lets up with a flat ending. Instead of taking the knife to some dumb teenager alone in a house, the movie takes the time to place the viewer in its world.

It exploits Catholicism and some of its kooky rituals, but it does so effectively. It is one of the few movies that shows priests as genuine and human. And like a good Catholic, it uses guilt to make you feel dread to the bone. Trust me, I know all about Catholic guilt; every time I say "fuck" I hear Jesus crying. Burstyn is burdened because she and her husband have divorced, depriving Blair of a father. Miller's priest believes if he hadn't abandoned his aging mother, she wouldn't have died. He also has doubts about his own happiness and whether he should be a priest. And these things come back manifested in Blair, like when she tells Miller "Your mother's in here. Would you like to leave a message? I'll see that she gets it."

Other horror movies are roller coaster rides; they make you jump out of your seat, then laugh and all is fine. But "The Exorcist" doesn't let you off so easily. There was something really uneasy about the hidden devil's faces that flash in the background and the way the story slowly convinced me there is evil all around us, waiting to pounce; that anything terrible was possible. At many points, I did not enjoy being scared because it felt real, not in the roller coaster way. And when I got home I was shivering while I took my dog out to crap on the neighbor's lawn, and the trees' shadows kept moving all around me.

While it affected me as an adult, the teenagers that packed the theater when I saw it were weirded-out of their pea-brains, too. Those annoying wastes of sperm talked all the way through the slow first half-hour, acting cocky and thinking this was just a dumb old movie. Then they promptly shut the fuck up, trying hard not to let their friends see them bawling their little baby eyes out.

As I mentioned before, the ending is disappointing. The story grows more horrific as Blair is slowly consumed by the devil, but all of that is wasted as the story ends up a corny battle of good versus evil. It's two priests with crosses summoning the demon out, like I do to my dog when she knows I'm going to shove tapeworm medication up her ass. An ending that made all the teens in the theater involuntarily shit their pants would have stunk something fierce, but it also would have been unforgettable. And "The Exorcist" could have delivered that, but shied away. Ellen Burstyn does the story no favors, either, making her character too screechy, like cat with its tail in the wood chipper.

Four trembly fingers for "The Exorcist," a movie I'm not so happy I finally saw. If you haven't seen it, believe the hype. Don't ask me to go with you, though.


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