Friday, October 21, 2011

The Exorcism of Annie Elizabeth

Okay,  I understand that it is the scariest movie of all time.  I understand that it shocked audiences so deeply that they ran screaming out of theatres when it first came out in the 1970s.  I understand that projectile vomit is groudy.   But here's what I don't understand--why is "The Exorcist" so damn funny?  

There must be something wrong with me.  When I went to the Greene for the nine o'clock showing of "The Exorcist" last night--I was actually really nervous to see it.  My whole life I have been avoiding clips of the movie that play in "Bravo's 100 Scariest Movies" and frantically flipping channels when it plays on AMC.   My mom shudders at the mere mention of the film.  She's never seen it, but she speaks about it with a certain reverence, like when people say "He Who Must Not Be Named" in Harry Potter.   "The Exorcist" is the Film Which Must Not Be Seen.  So I was expecting to be afraid, nay, terrified.   I was expecting to be afraid of walking to my car,  have to start sleeping with a cross around my neck, and avoid pea soup for the next seven years.   So imagine my surprise when, compared to the other exorcism films I've seen, this was relatively tame, almost a caricature of itself.

Unfortunately, this sometimes happens with classic film.   An aspect which at the time of the film's release broke barriers and shocked audiences, becomes emulated so frequently as to become a cliche.  This happened to my sister with "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom."  "What's the big deal?  It's like every other action/comedy I've ever seen," she whined.  "I think 'The Mummy' is better."   Ok, so we won't get into why she's an wrong--but I see were she's coming from.   More correctly, ever other action/comedy is like "Indiana Jones" which is why the material seems--just like a feminine hygiene ad would say--not so fresh.

So how do I know I'm a depraved individual?   When poor, little, Regan's head spun all the way around I started laughing.  This was an inappropriate reaction.  I should have been discussed or shocked, but I just thought it was hilarious.  I guffawed at Regan walking backwards down the stairs, blood pouring from her mouth.   She looked like Golem from "Lord of the Rings".  I even snorted a little when she started yelling obscenities.   Am I wrong to think that possessed Regan seems way cooler to hang out with than the little mealy-mouthed pipsqueak she was before?   She's like a hilarious insult comedian.   I want more of the bitch slapping, less of, "I love you, Mother".

Someone needs a chiropractor.

Truly, the only thing that made me gasp was the statue of Mary desecrated.   I'm Catholic.  We don't mess with that shit.   I will say all I want about the church hierarchy, but when I'm in a cathedral, you best believe I'm crossing myself with holy water and genuflecting.  And I don't even want to talk about our Virgin Mother except when I'm saying "Hail Mary's" on my rosary.   I know my limits.
Maybe I've become desensitized because new movies like "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" are so terrifying by comparison, the horror movie that started it all just looks a little lame.   And I had such high expectations.   When I was in D.C. I frequently walked the stairs which are featured in the movie.   One sunny day, as soon as I put my foot on the steps, a storm cloud came in and thunder boomed at exactly the same moment.  I was like, "Ok, Ok, I won't play around with this."   But like so many things are, it was better in my head than in reality.

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