The Exorcist in retrospect

Final Girl takes a look back upon The Exorcist here. It’s worth reading for fans of the film, but she does falter slightly when she asks in perplexity:

  • I’m not sure why the religious community has always been so up-in-arms over The Exorcist; has there ever been a more religious, moral film?

First off, it’s not clear that “the religious community” is up in arms over the film – I mean, just who is the religious community? Does it include just Catholics or Christians in general? Jews, Muslims, Wiccans? How about Satanists? They might be in up in arms, I guess, over seeing their Dark Lord dealt a crushing defeat, but that’s hardly perplexing, is it?

More seriously, the major objections I’ve ever read, mostly from Catholics, on the subject of The Exorcist, fall into two categories:

  1. Some find the explicit horror (e.g., masturbating with a crucifix) offensive (no surprise there).
  2. The more liberal, progressive clergy dislike the film because it endorses an old-fashioned view of the church¬†battling demonic possession. As you can imagine, if you’re trying to modernize the image of the Catholic church as an institution¬†no longer bound by ancient superstition, the last thing you want is a film about priests battling demons.

Anyway, read the whole article. Or if you prefer, check out our review of the film here. [Link dead, unfortunately]