79 / 365 – ‘The Exorcist’ (1973) – 122 mins
IMDb Challenge #46 / 250 – Ranked #205 – Via DVD collection
At an archaeological dig in Iraq, aging preacher Father Merrin (Max von Sydow) senses that a dark force has been unwittingly unleashed. Back in Washington DC, an innocent eleven year-old girl (Linda Blair) starts showing signs of a condition untreatable by normal medicine. After exhausting all conventional treatments, her movie star mother (Ellen Burstyn) is at her wits end, and at the doctors’ suggestion, she consults a priest, Father Karras (Jason Miller). Karras is having doubts about his own faith, but believes this could be a case of demonic possession. The Church brings in Father Merrin (Max von Sydow) to perform an exorcism, while Father Karas assists.
There is a bit of a back story to my first viewing of ‘The Exorcist’. It was the night of 31st October 1992 and Gloucester Cineworld (then UGC) were holding a Halloween midnight screening of this horror classic, so me and my two best friends Alan and Darren decided to pluck up the courage to experience it. However before we set of on this adventure, we decided to watch the BBC 1 documentary ‘Ghostwatch’ – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghostwatch , which is now widely regarded as being one of the most controversial British television events of all time, this was to set the mood for a truly frightening night ahead….
The Exorcist boasts a magnificent cast, a fantastic atmospheric good versus evil story, a terrific adapted screenplay which William Peter Blatty wrote and produced from his best-selling 1971 novel after being inspired by the reported exorcism of a 14-year-old boy in Maryland in 1949. For me what makes ‘The Exorcist’ so incredibly frightening and enduring a film isn’t the makeup or the special effects which have an incredible level of detail in them, or Mike Oldham’s creepy Tubular Bells piano theme, but rather its statement on the nature of pure evil on display here. Linda Blair, her career over before it began does a flawless job as the innocent 12-year old Regan who is terrified child one second, and then is this terrifying spewing grotesque monster the next.
In my opinion ‘The Exorcist’ remains a certified horror classic and is essential viewing, whether you’ve seen it before or not it effortlessly lives up to one its taglines “The Scariest Movie Of All Time” – to make it a genuinely creepy, truly fearsome and spine tingling, that still chills to the bone. It easily earns its number one spot in my horror hall of fame, where even today it is unmatched with its level of authenticity and I believe even the most hardened horror fan can’t deny this is a powerful unnerving watch.
80 / 365 – ‘Children of Men’ (2006) – 109 mins
IMDb Challenge #47 / 250 – Ranked #209 – Via DVD collection
The world’s youngest citizen has just died at 18, and humankind is facing the likelihood of its own extinction. Set in and around a dystopian London fractious with violence and warring nationalistic sects, Children of Men follows the unexpected discovery of a lone pregnant woman and the desperate journey to deliver her to safety and restore faith for a future beyond those presently on Earth.
With its sublime cinematography of a post-flu-pandemic set in 2027 Britain, director Alfonso Cuarón (‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’) serves up an intriguing and refreshingly original tale of when the worlds women can no longer conceive, even if this premise is left frustratingly unexplained along with the poor character development on Kee the worlds first miracle in eighteen years, where did she come from and how was she able to fall pregnant?
There are excellent turns from Clive Owen, who plays, Theo the films protagonist and Kee’s protector, as there is with Michael Caine’s unforgettable hippie and Theo’s best friend Jasper, albeit in a limited role for someone of Caine’s immense qualities.