The Exorcist

The Exorcist, starring Linda Blair ★★★★★
I will occasionally watch and report on somewhat more controversial films, and certainly, this is one of them. I realize that there are films that might be considered simply not suitable for viewing at any age. I saw the Exorcist when it first came out with a group of friends from church. It stimulated thought back then, but now brings other thoughts into reflection. This is not a movie for everybody. The first time I saw it, there were certainly nightmares that followed. The production is well done, though, at times, one could easily see the errors in the make-up of Regan, or other faux-pas. The first half of the film portrays physicians. Interestingly, much of the medical tests which were performed were on radiological instruments or with tests, like cerebral angiograms, which simply are not performed any longer. The movie at least had a somewhat kindly view of physicians, though their bedside interactions were somewhat sterile. Well, this is not a movie about doctors, but devils, though some people may consider them to be one and the same. C.S. Lewis’ quote on devils is quite apropos here, inexactly restated by me, that the problem with our belief in devils is either to not believe they exist, when they actually do or to believe and think too much about them. Using the devil for entertainment purposes runs a precarious risk of exercising both extremes of C.S. Lewis. It would be easy to dismiss the devil as an invention of Hollywood or the Catholic church, and thus offer him the regard most improper of him. The movie story entails a 12-year-old girl, who dabbles in Ouiji boards and a few things, and eventually becomes possessed. Her mom, who is a movie star, seeks first medical, then psychiatric help for her daughter to no prevail, as she becomes progressively worse. Finally, it is recommended that she seek a priest for exorcism. Two priests come to the aide of the mother, and eventually are able to cast out the demon, but at the cost of their own lives. So, two thoughts on this movie. First is its’ portrayal of demon possession. Possession turns a person into a raving maniac, with bouncing beds, heads that rotate 360 degrees, and projectile bilious vomit, not the thing that actually does happen to a demon-possessed person, at least, as is portrayed in Scripture. This extreme portrayal may cause one to lose sight that demon possession may be manifest in many other ways, such as, in the kindness of a person like Barak Hussain O., who is evil to the core, but presents as sweet as pudding. The other thought was how various inanimate objects were treated as possessive of special “charm”, such as the consecrated water, the crucifix and rosary, the words of incantation for exorcism, and the statue of Jesus. Protestants fall into the error of “charming” other objects, though for the bad, such as trinkets or amulets, which they hold might be possessive of evil or harm. In reality, nowhere in Scripture are we told of an inanimate object possessing Spiritual qualities, and indeed are instructed that they absolutely do not and cannot have an ability to convey a curse of carrying a demon with it. Yet, many Christians continue to believe such a thing. Pity. I would recommend this film, though not as a piece to amuse one’s self, but rather, as a jumping-off point in contemplating the roles of demons and the devil in this current world.