31 Days of Horror 2022: Gilbert Speaks on ‘The Exorcist’

We all have that one horror film that scared the bejesus out of us. I love horror stories, but there is one film that I can never watch again. Not for all the holy water in the world!

The Exorcist

I was working in the Intensive Care Unit of a South Philadelphia hospital when the William Peter Blatty film came out in 1973. I had already read the book, and as frightening as the book was, I went against that inner voice and decided to go see The Exorcist with a group of friends who also worked in the intensive care and operating room. As a psychic/medium, I have been seeing the dead from early childhood. The dead don’t scare me, but demons do. I put up a brave front and off we went to watch The Exorcist.

The Exorcist is an American supernatural film that was based on Blatty’s book. The film was directed by William Friedkin, and starred Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Jack MacGowran, Lee J. Cobb, Jason Miller, Kitty Winn, and Linda Blair as the possessed Regan.  

The film begins with a Catholic priest participating in an archaeological dig which unearths a medallion of Saint Joseph, and an artifact of an ancient demon. Across the globe, in Georgetown, actress Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) is working in a film directed by friend Burke Dennings (Jack MacGowran). The trouble begins when Chris’s daughter Regan (Linda Blair) mentions an imaginary friend named Captain Howdy. One night Chris hosts a party which includes a priest, Father Dyer (William O’Malley). Dyer is friends with a priest who is going through some second thoughts about his vocation. Father Karras (Jason Miller) not only missed his mother’s death, but he is now having nightmares about the medallion and the artifact.

That dinner party scene sets the stage for Regan to exhibit all the signs of possession, which includes projectile vomiting of green bile, and one of the scariest scenes in a film of that time period…the spider-walk down the staircase.

Conclusion

The Exorcist totally freaked me out, and I was hanging onto the seat for dear life because my instinct was to run out of the theater as soon as Regan began that mind boggling spider-walk down the steps to attack her mother’s secretary, Sharon (Kitty Winn). Remember me mentioning that I worked in the Intensive Care Unit?

I foolishly thought that my working around sick and dying people had given me nerves of steel. I was wrong. Even though I had seen some horrific sights in that Unit, the film frightened me so badly that I have never watched The Exorcist since that night in 1973.

I can handle any ghost you send my way, but demons…NO WAY. Demons are nasty, and they walk this earth. If you observe people…look at their eyes…you can tell which person has given into hate and despair so much so that they have opened a doorway for evil to enter. I see this in a lot of political faces. The eyes don’t lie.

I have watched and written many a review on other films about possession for Biff Bam Pop!, but I will never, ever watch The Exorcist again.

What film scene had this effect on you? Let me know.

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