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The Exorcist - Why Is It SO Scary?

 
 
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Jul, 2007 05:24 am
Quote:
It's Hitchock's direction, not the premise, that scares one.


Merry Andrew- I think that it is a combination of both. Personally, I think that Psycho is a masterpiece of direction. It is true that the way the scenes are shot adds to the terror. But there is something about Psycho, to which I have formerly alluded to, that makes it a true terror story.

I think that what makes it so terrifying is that, out of the blue, people are plunged into unexpected, life threatening situations. When Janet Leigh stopped in that particular motel, did she have any idea that it was run by a homicidal madman? When people started looking for her, did they have any idea as to what they were getting themselves into?

It is the juxtaposition of the mundane, with the horrible, that makes this tale so frightening. It is the psychological realization that someday the viewer might make a wrong turn in the road, may stop at the wrong place, that WE might be put in a similar position as Janet Leigh, that makes this story so frightening.

On the other hand, anyone who knows something about medicine will quickly realize that what is being described in The Exorcist are the symptoms of Tourette's Syndrome, taken to the nth degree, with a lot of Hollywood nonsense added. Most people cannot relate to Tourette's, because it is a rare disease. Everyone can relate to being thrust into a terrifying situation unawares.
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Paaskynen
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Jul, 2007 01:01 am
snood wrote:
Yeah, Merry - I think you're on to something there, because I certainly don't "believe in" vampires and werewolves, but the better-made films of that genre have given me dozens of chills.


Werewolves give me the creeps (childhood trauma), but vampires don't. I wonder how I will react to man-eating zombie sheep in Black Sheep (2006).
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Montana
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Jul, 2007 01:14 am
I also saw it when I was a kid and that's why it scared the crap out of me. I was a catholic doing the Sunday school thing, but even at that age I questioned a lot about religion and wasn't totally into it.

I watched it again a few years ago, but I got bored with it because I already knew what was going to happen. I'm one of those who can rarely watch a movie twice without being bored.

Jaws did it for me Shocked and Psycho comes in second for sure and like Phoenix, it's that "it could happen" effect Shocked

I use to live in the ocean before that #$%^ing Jaws!!!!

Of course I had to watch all the other Jaws films as well. Might as well since my ocean days past the knees where over anyway Laughing
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vinsan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Aug, 2007 09:03 am
Paaskynen wrote:
I wonder how I will react to man-eating zombie sheep in Black Sheep (2006).


Dont watch black sheep. I am still confused how it could win awards at the GĂ©rardmer Film Festival. It was just so terrible. I couldnt laugh or get scared. It was all too much.

the only Zombie film I m impressed with is "28 days later" and its sequel "28 Weeks Later", for their photography and screenplay.
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lovejoy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Aug, 2007 05:32 am
Re: The Exorcist - Why Is It SO Scary?
Dorothy Parker wrote:
I watched the Exorcist again last night and **** myself all over again.

The first time I saw it was in snatches through a gap in the door when I was a child and each scene that I caught was imprinted like a photograph in my memory.

I bought the new version with all the extra bits in on DVD 2 years ago but have only watched it twice since 'cos I can't watch it alone and it's hard to find people who will sit through it with me!



How do you feel about it?


As comedies go it was quite good
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happycat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Aug, 2007 05:42 am
I think it's scary because it was the first time a movie had been done about such a dark subject and the Catholic Church played such a large part in it. It made demonic possession so much more possible and plausible to believers.
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happytaffy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Aug, 2007 01:42 pm
because religion plays such a big part in peoples lives and the fact that something like that COULD be true if you believe in that sort of stuff ....
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kuvasz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Sep, 2007 04:23 am
its the soundtrack, the music sets you up and the visual knocks you down like forman hitting frasier.

if you don't think so watch it without the sound
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EmilyGreen
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Sep, 2007 05:45 am
The Exorcist is one of my favorites, and I can't count the times I've watched it. I'm not easily spooked, anymore, but the movie is scary - in my opinion - because the girl looks so horrible towards the end. It was surprisingly realistic for the time it was made... and today's special effects might actually ruin the realism. The freezing cold room, the acting was amazing... its as if you could actually believe the situation is possible.

The story and all the characters are all just so dark and morbid. Its the depressing element that adds to how scary the movie is.

Just my 2 cents there.
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eoe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Sep, 2007 07:51 am
When i saw it, I was a wreck for about a year afterwards. I pondered it for a very long time, trying to figure out why it had disturbed me so. You know, once you understand something, you have a better chance of getting over it. And I was desperate to get over that fright.

I finally determined that the reason it shook me up was simple. Throughout my childhood, I was taught all about the mighty powers of God but never about the powers of the devil.

That movie was a rude awakening baby! You couldn't put a gun to my head and make me watch it again.
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EmilyGreen
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Sep, 2007 11:25 am
eoe, I bet if you watched it again, it wouldn't seem as scary to you. I watched the Shining when I was young, and it haunted me forever... well, until I was in my 20's and watched it again. That time, it was definately scary, but not like what I remembered.
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eoe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Sep, 2007 12:10 pm
I was eighteen when I saw it. Rolling Eyes
I don't think that my perspective would be much different. My beliefs are the same.
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mismi
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Sep, 2007 12:22 pm
Never saw The Exorcist. Hate movies like that...but I hate pretty much all horror movies. Just not my thing. I saw a commercial by accident when I was in 8th grade and had nightmares about my best friend being possessed. I couldn't look at her for days. Laughing Some people are more affected by these things than others...my husband LOVES this time of year because of all the horror movies on TV. I don't think I am scared of it because I think it could happen...it is the nasty visual images and the fact that I can't control my subconscious at night... I dream some crazy things sometimes!
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Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Sep, 2007 02:56 pm
It freaked me out to the ends of the earth... but I was tripping and mean TRIPPING on acid when I saw it.... so to this day I can't watch it.
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Equus
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Sep, 2007 03:16 pm
The Exorcist is over 30 years old now and has lost a lot of its "punch". Much of it has become cliche, but in 1973(?) much of the horror effects were cutting-edge. People hadn't seen anything like it. Seeing it was an emotional experience. Today, it is just a good horror movie. It was nominated for lots of academy awards, and was the first-ever horror movie up for best picture.

I remember people crying and leaving ashen-faced after seeing that movie back then. I think its effect was much stronger on people who were devout Catholics or etc where the belief in tangible demonic forces is a matter of faith.

I would make a comparison to "The Passion of the Christ", where one's reaction to the movie is proportional to one's religious belief in its possibility. For many people, seeing "The Passion of the Christ" was a life-changing experience. For others it was just a movie. It was a similar experience in 1973 with "The Exorcist."

The inspiration for "The Exorcist" was a supposedly true story, which I believe took place in St. Louis in the 1940's.

PS: I have never eaten pea soup again since seeing The Exorcist.
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eoe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Sep, 2007 04:04 pm
Bi-Polar Bear wrote:
It freaked me out to the ends of the earth... but I was tripping and mean TRIPPING on acid when I saw it.... so to this day I can't watch it.


HA!
I'd been smoking weed with my buddies for hours in line outside of the movie theatre in NYC and then had to spend the next few nights alone in my dorm room. My roommate was out of town or something. Needless to say I didn't sleep a wink.

Always felt that God must have gotten a hearty chuckle out of that. For months afterwards, I hardly slept at all, afraid of dreaming about it.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Sep, 2007 09:31 pm
I understand the loss of impact of "The Exorcist" -- but, then, I became jaded about horror movies. This was cracked by "Silence of the Lambs" which I watched a few nights ago in a pristine print on HDTV and I don't believe that film will ever lose its intensity. It puts "The Exorcist" to shame -- the final scenes are hypnotic and heart-skipping suspense, even after seeing it several times. I'm afraid I find "The Exorcist," on the other hand, a little routine even though it is good storytelling. SOTL was not only one of the few (maybe even only the second?) film to be nominated for an Oscar, it won, and I think it could win it again in almost any year.
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eoe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Sep, 2007 09:47 pm
I finally got up my nerve to watch SOTL several years after it's theatrical release. I can't remember a thing about it. The Exorcist really took away alot of my movie 'nerve' and ever since, any suspenseful or disturbing or violent movie that's hyped as really good especially with Robert DeNiro (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Cape Fear) or Jack Nicholson (The Shining) is off-limits for me for a long, long time, if ever. To this day, I still have not seen Cape Fear or The Shining. And of course, anything with a plot involving demonic possession. Out of the question. Rosemary's Baby was pre-Exorcist. I was barely a teenager when I saw that and it didn't bother me at all. But I probably wouldn't watch it now because of the devil thing. Old fears die hard.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Sep, 2007 09:26 am
Although "Rosemary's Baby" wasn't nominated for Best Picture, there was a nomination for Roman Polanski and Ruth Gordon. Ruth Gordon, of course, won.

That was six years before "The Exorcist" which garnered many more nominations and only one Oscar:

Academy Awards, USA
Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s)

1974 Won

Best Sound
Robert Knudson
Christopher Newman

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium
William Peter Blatty

Nominated

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Jason Miller

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Ellen Burstyn

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Linda Blair

Best Art Direction-Set Decoration
Bill Malley
Jerry Wunderlich

Best Cinematography
Owen Roizman

Best Director
William Friedkin

Best Film Editing
John C. Broderick
Bud S. Smith
Evan A. Lottman
Norman Gay

Best Picture
William Peter Blatty


Ruth Gordon also won the Golden Globe her supporting role in "Rosemary's Baby"
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Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Sep, 2007 09:35 am
I'm a major lover of horror and supernatural films. Only the exorcist ever effected me and I'm convinced it was the acid.
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