Hit Me With Your Best Shot: The Exorcist (1973)

Part of The Film Experience's Hit Me With Your Best Shot series.

The Exorcist is one of the 70s horror films that might edge more on the "thriller" side of the genre. It doesn't broadcast each move from 10 miles away with creepy music or sound effects and expects us to keep up with the plot with few cues. It slowly burns until things get out of control and crucifixes start getting molested.

For me, the slow burn is the best part, the way the film sneaks the creepiness into the film until you're fully immersed in it. The hospital sequences are where things start to get under my skin. You slowly realize that Chris (Ellen Burstyn) is powerless to help her already powerless daughter Regan (Linda Blair) as Regan undergoes test after test that require her to stay still and withstand pain.

In some ways it's more terrifying than the unknown and supernatural--that's supposed to be unreasonable and chaotic. But these two females have to withstand the guesses and whims of men who put up the pretense that they know better. It's only once they break through these medical professionals that they find a solution (albeit, through some horrific trial and error on the part of clergymen).

So my best shots are taken from scenes in the hospital, about 45 minutes and an hour into the film, respectively.

Regan, helpless and alone, at the mercy of a mustache with glasses and a beard with earrings.
Chris, powerless and cornered in a meeting with doctors.  
Overall, there's something frightening about the idea that for all the knowledge the world keeps gaining, that new knowledge ultimately fails when faced with an ancient enemy.

Let us pray that there's always a Father Karras there to save us.
And keep our clregy fetish alive.


  1. Loved your closing statement. There are some things that we will never be able to explain and it makes us feel so impotent. Great post!

  2. William Friedkin's finest film and Linda Blair's masterpiece. The best horror movie ever created!