the power of William Friedkin compels y’all

The Exorcist (1973) is one of those films people either really love or completely despise. this year marks the 40th anniversary of William Friedkin’s Oscar-winning film (for Best Sound and Best Adapted Screenplay) that made audiences sleep with the lights on and started a trend of theaters providing air sickness bags to patrons prior to showtime. the book, written in 1971 by William Peter Blatty, is equally disturbing since its origins are based in reality (it was inspired by a 1949 case that happened to a 14-year-old boy, but for obvious reasons of privacy the story was altered and centered around a girl of similar age). since it contains some very controversial scenes, it would be expected that those of devout nature would shun The Exorcist…ironically, its largest fan base isn’t those who attend Horror conventions but rather residents of The Southern United States. sure, it has a massive following in major film hubs like New York, Washington DC (where the story takes place), or Los Angeles, but folks in cities such as Chattanooga and Richmond seem to really dig it.

Noel Murray, a contributor to the ever-popular Slate website, blogs about growing up in the South and trying to comprehend why his observant classmates refused to see Jurassic Park (“dinosaurs are stupid”) but got a huge kick out of Linda Blair spewing pea soup and yelling obscenities at anyone who came within inches of her. it’s strange that possession and demonic imagery are perfectly acceptable in some parts of the US, yet listening to R.E.M. is considered blasphemous (a former girlfriend of Murray’s claimed Michael Stipe to be “evil”…i happen to like R.E.M., or at least anything up to 1994’s Monster. i am particularly fond of 1983’s Murmur and 1985’s Fables Of The Reconstruction). what a strange world this is.

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