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]