Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Month of Horror Day 31: The Exorcist

Basement contributor Matt Bellamy has taken it upon himself to watch and review at least one horror movie a day for the month of October . . . because he's awesome that way! And what better day for an exorcism than Halloween? 

Try as I might, I just can't not have all roads lead to this! 'The Exorcist' is the greatest horror movie ever made and in forty years it still holds onto that title without any real competition. It may not be your favourite but you can't not at least admire the incredible craftsmanship on display here. There are way too many double negatives in this review already. Why has it held up so well? Why is it still regarded as tops in the genre? Is it really that scary? Personal opinion, of course but I believe this film holds up so well because of such a universal theme that almost anyone can get behind. I'm not a religious guy at all but the idea of Satan himself embodying a young girl is one creepy as hell premise. Religious undertones in horror fascinate me because I feel like the stakes are always higher and the backstory much more intriguing; it feels very real. There is something about priests, normally very calm and stoic figures in society, terrified out of their wits by some sort of dark, demonic energy, not knowing how to deal with the horrors surrounding them.

It's become a staple for me to watch 'The Exorcist' every Halloween and it gets me every time. This isn't the "jump and scream" type of movie as it's much more interested in getting under your skin, creeping you out, and making you feel extremely uncomfortable. The voice of Satan is just about the most unnerving thing ever contained in a movie as this once sweet and innocent young girl has her demeanour completely changed into a foul-mouthed and purely evil entity. Every single time her room is re-visited by either her mother or the priests, you immediately begin to feel cold, something shared by the characters on screen as their breath becomes visible and their shivers noticeable. It gets to the point that you actively dread each time any character makes their way up the stairs to her room because you know something awful, and upsetting is about to happen.

Anyone who likes or is interested in horror should have seen this by now, it would be like a fan of science fiction not having seen 'Star Wars'. 'The Exorcist' sits on top of pretty much every "best of" list within the genre, and for good reason. If you want to celebrate Halloween night with a great scary movie then this should be on your agenda. Am I pumping its tires too much? Is it really not as great as I'm making it out to be? Sure, I know people who think this film is hokey and slow moving, and it's not for everyone especially if you're into more shocking, violent, and gory horror movies. This film requires your attention and maybe you're not in the mood for that and would prefer some more instant gratification, I get that. If, however, you're serious about being scared then this is as good as it gets, 'The Exorcist' is the best.

So long, folks! See you again next year! HAPPY HALLOWEEN :)

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