For 26 years, my Mom told to never ever watch The Exorcist. For 26 years I’ve had this impression that The Exorcist is some kind of monumental Horror film that’ll have more of an impact on my life than anything before it. Sadly, over the last year I’ve realised the problem with films from a certain era that have provoked such dramatic emotion in its viewers: Sentimentality.
As I’ve mentioned in Gremlins and other highly under appreciated posts before (just kidding), a lot of the films I’m watching were experienced by a relatively young audience at the time. For example, Gremlins for me was a bit of a mess. But that was probably because I watched it as a bitter 26 year old who had probably had about a third of the sleep required to sustain a healthy lifestyle. Now, if you are like every other person I’ve spoke to, you are quietly contemplating whether anyone would miss me if I suddenly walked in to a room full of rampant Mogwai. That’s because I assume you watched it as a youngster, someone whose spent the last 10/15 years enjoying this film at a time that feels special to you. The Exorcist is no different.
At the time, I can imagine the majority of were left astonished by the demonic barbarism displayed in Reagan’s transformation. Unfortunately, and this isn’t necessarily to its detriment, I couldn’t help but struggle to get through the opening hour of the film. I’m not going to say it’s not a well crafted film. There’s a reason scholars continually cite The Exorcist as the go-to Horror Movie of the last 50 years. It’s just I don’t think I connected with it in the same way as I had hoped
All films are subjective, one man’s Citizen Kane may be another’s Transformers. However there a certain films a loft a particular pedestal that feel untouchable. I genuinely couldn’t wait to finally see the film my Mom had been so scared of me watching for all these years. So you can imagine my disappointment when I saw a film ruined by those that succeeded it. A film so deeply entrenched in popular culture that it’s difficult to experience for the first time while still being someone already residing within it.
Should I have watched The Exorcist sooner? Absolutely! I should have been the rebel I’ve always dreamed of being and watched it against my Mom’s best interest.