I just saw "The Exorcist"

There is another thread asking why The Exorcist is scary. I thought about posting there; but since I didn’t want to discuss why it’s scary, I decided to start a new thread.

IMHO, the new edit (adding footage that was not used originally) adds to the story. I have the “anniversary edition” on VHS, and it has a documentary and the deleted scenes. It was explained that the scenes were not used because they didn’t contribute to the story (or indeed, detracted from it). Well, I’ve seen The Exorcist many times (the first time when it came out, as a little kid) and I thought the “new” footage worked well. I’m glad I didn’t get the DVD yet, because I like the new edit. The “spider walk” was really creepy, and I’m glad I saw it on the big screen. I also liked the digitally-added demons that appeared from time to time. (At least, I don’t remember seeing them in the original version.) They were generally subtle and added to the “feel” of the film in most cases; and I think they were mostly not overdone. The editors left in the split-second “demon faces” that were originally used, and they worked well with the more subtle effects.

There was one segment of the film that had reddish blotches in it. Colour film can degrade over time (gaining a reddish tint), but you’d think they’d be able to find footage that was not blemished, or would have digitally corrected it. Also, the print did not seem as clear as other films. There was a lot of grain, leading me to assume it was a poor-quality print. On the other hand, it could have just been the stock they originally used. The new audio was, in places, overpowering. I was a little distracted by the “surround sound” in some of the crowd scenes.

I was surprised to see so many kids in the audience. One would think that this is not a film parents would take their kids to. There were also two or three babies in the audience who cried periodically. Some members of the audience were not adverse to telling the parents to remove them from the auditorium. Mostly, the parents complied; but one in particular was slow to do it. The film would have been much more enjoyable without the crying babies.

(I know I’ll probably get flamed by parents who say they have to put up with it all the time, and that the couple-hundred other people in the audience should be able to put up with their infants for a couple of hours; but I must respectfully disagree with them.)

This is a worthwhile film to see on the big screen. If you’re 30-something (or older), there is the nostalgia aspect. If you’re 20-something, you can see how films could be effective without modern techniques that “Hollywood” seem to use as crutches nowadays.

Hmmm… I think I’ll add this to my “Reviews” page.

That’s one of the main reasons I liked the movie. I thought it had a good balance of plot, characters, and special effects.

Too many films now rely on S/FX. The Haunting remake was loaded with them. I liked the house; but it wasn’t nearly as creepy as the original, which had basically one special effect (the “breathing” door).

The Exorcist doesn’t try to scare you right away. It allows the suspense to build. It lets you get to know the characters. It makes the viewer think about what’s happening. That’s why it’s a classic.

I just saw it too and loved it. The spiderwalk really creeped me out before the blood thing. I actually shook when I saw that. I can’t wait to see it again which makes me think of another thread that I will start in MPSIMS, “Making the Exorcist into a cult film like Rocky Horror.” heheheh I can think of so many things to go in it would be hilarious.


I doubt it. I’m one of those parents who has to put up with it all the time, and my automatic response to your post was “What kind of sadistic subhuman fuckwad would take his/her CHILD to The Exorcist?”

Heck, I use it as a disciplinary threat…“Behave yourself, young lady, or I’ll take you to see The Exorcist!!!”

Only flames you’ll see coming from this corner would be directed at anyone who tries to defend taking kids, much less babies, to a film of this sort. I’ve argued long and hard in other threads against the idea that children should be sequestered at home until they’re twenty-one, never taken to restaurants or other public places, but it astonishes me that such people have sufficient cerebral functioning to allow them to earn the money to buy tickets to The Exorcist, and not enough to understand that this is what is commonly known as “A VERY BAD IDEA”. Perhaps that’s why they have to put up with their kids’ crying so much – the kids have good reason to weep and wail.

I went and saw The Exorcist for the first time on Friday night. I had never seen it before, so I don’t know what scenes were added. Though, the surround sound during the crowd scenes distracted me too.
The theatre was packed, and a lot of the patrons were children. I was so pissed at the stupid parents who brought their small children to that movie. I just wanted to smack them! (THe parents, not the kids) Even if it wasn’t scary, I would keep the kids away for the language alone! On some of parts where the Demon was talking, I could hear nervous tittering from young children who never heard anything like “Let Jesus fuck you!”

Okay, I saw it last night. The “spider-walk” was VERY effective! Why in the world was it cut from the original release?

The restored final scene, between Lt. Kinderman and Father Dyer after Chris and Regan drive off, really is stupid…I was wondering why Blatty would want to leave you with the dopey patter of a secondary and a tertiary character. How does the original release end?

Uke, just my guess but I thought it may have been cut from the original simply because it would have gotten it a worse rating from the rating nazis. To me, that was the singly creepiest effect I have seen in a really long time.


I’d have to put on my literary analysis hat to answer your question properly (and any lit majors are welcome to add their $0.02), but I think that scene was there for sake of the Wuthering Heights reference. In WH, the window plays a rather significant symbolic role as the divider between the living and the dead, and there’s a scene where Heathcliff(?) attempts to open the window to let in the long-dead Catherine(?). So, yeah, it might’ve been something along those lines, but if so, the two minutes of thought I devoted to the earlier Othello reference in the movie seems superfluous.

Or maybe Blatty just liked those two…

I saw this film too last Friday, having never seen it before. I thought the spider walk was the most frightening scene in the movie. As for why the scene was deleted, Roger Ebert adds his 2 cents to the mix… (taken from his movie review at the Chicago Sun-Times site.)

I’m not sure I completely agree. True, the scene by itself doesn’t add to the plot in any way, but the sheer terror of the scene is reason enough to leave it, I think.

Pretty impressive analysis there, KKB, and I’m reminded of the old joke about not being able to spell “analysis” without “anal.” {insert smiley here}

I read somewhere…NY TIMES, probably…that Blatty wanted the scene at the end to show that By golly, everything is back to normal. “Back to work, back to the job,” Kinderman says. Not to mention reprising the “Do you like movies?” joke that was vaguely irritating the first time around.

So, I wasn’t kidding, I’d never seen the movie before…how DOES the original release end? Father Damian goes out the window, The End?

Thanks for the link, vandal. I just had my question answered by the Fat Boy himself.

So, in the original, Dyer keeps Karras’s St. Joseph medal?

Uke, the original release ends just after Chris MacNeil stops the limo to give the medallion to Father Dyer. Dyer takes it from her, the limo drives off. Dyer takes a look up at Regan’s window, looks down the stairs wistfully, fade to black, credits.

I never really liked the Dyer/Kinderman ending in the book or the movie, although their relationship is a little more interesting in Blatty’s “official” sequel, Legion (filmed as Exorcist III).

As far as the spider-walk scene, according to the commentary and the Blatty/Friedkin interview on the DVD, they cut it for two reasons. One, the special effects work wasn’t what they had hoped; and two, they felt it was too much, dramatically, on top of Chris just having learned that Burke was dead.

Okay, I just picked up Fangoria #197, and this is what it has to say about the spider-walk:

The Fangoria article features discussion by William Peter Blatty and William Friedkin, and gives background as to why certain scenes were cut and why they were restored. Apparently, Blatty wasn’t thrilled with Friedkin’s 1973 cut, but as Friedkin says in the article, “I know that’s what I said before [about the cuts], and all I can tell you is that I meant it when I said it, but things have changed…”

As for the new ending,

People took KIDS to see The Exorcist??? KIDS!!! You know, the worlds been going to hell in a handbasket ever since Madonna redid American Pie, I tell ya.

I still haven’t seen The Exorcist because I think it will be too scary, and I’m 29!

I would love to see it. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about it over the years, but the only movies that truly terrify me are the demon/supernatural kind of movies. Even cheesey ones get me pretty jittery.

Maybe when the remake comes out on video, I’ll work up the courage to watch it in the comfort of my own home, complete with a pillow to cover my eyes with…

One of the DVD sites I frequent, DVDFile, wrote this report on the new version of The Exorcist, and a commentary on the digital alteration of old movies in general. NOTE: the “commentary” link will not link to the correct story in a couple of days, because the story will move to the site archives. To find the story, go to this page and click the archive that includes September 26, 2000.

The comments on the new version contains some mighty valuable points, including the following, which I feel I have to quote extensively for completeness’s sake:

I gotta say, I agree with him strongly on some points, particularly the parallel between adding CGI effects to old films and colorization. As such, I don’t think I’ll be seeing this new version of The Exorcist, major fan of horror movies though I may be.

I’d have to mostly disagree with the comments on DVDfile. I’ll grant that the “morphing” effect they used looked a little clumsy, and that the musical stingers were overdone; but I liked the subtle CGI demons. I also think that the scenes in the doctor’s office added to the film.

Go ahead and see it. If you don’t like it after you’ve seen it for yourself (rather than take DVDFile’s word for it, or because of a general bias toward CGI – heck, I have the same general bias!), you can come back and post why. :wink:

You know, I just went back and re-read that last sentence. It sounds a bit snotty. Like, “Come back an post when you’ve actually seen the thing!” I just wanted to assure everyone that that’s not the way it was meant. Rather, I wanted to reassure Max Torque that IMO it is a film worth seeing.

hehe…don’t sweat it, Johnny, I didn’t take it that way. I do feel, however, that Peter, the DVDFile guy, has a powerful point about the digital alteration of movies, or just the alteration of movies in general. Three recent examples come immediately to mind: The Exorcist, Star Wars special editions, and the (non-digital) changes made to create a new bastard spawn of Night of the Living Dead.

What did the new digital add-ins do besides (1) change the fundamental nature of the film from subtle and enjoyable to loud and obvious, (2) emphasize plot points that don’t need emphasis, implying that the audience is too stupid to “get it”, and (3) create an artificial “need” to see an effects-heavy version of a film that was widely considered a masterpiece in the first place? Like colorizing black-and-white movies, the idea of altering movies with digital effects is rapidly becoming repugnant to me, because I know that Bedford Falls is supposed to be filled with shades of grey, and Regan’s face isn’t supposed to morph into a demon’s.

Yeah, I know that the movie is the property of Friedkin and Blatty and the studio, and as such they can do with it what they damn well please. But Hollywood denizens shoot themselves in the artistic foot when they continually tweak beloved films. In their new scheme, it seems a movie is no longer a movie, it’s a constant work in progress, until you can’t make out Father Merrin anymore through the layers of splicing tape. Imagine if museums decided that the Monets would look better if they were just a little more in focus. Not that The Exorcist should necessarily hang in a museum…

Anyway, I might be heading to a Great Debate with this. Anyone else have any feelings on the subject?