Tag Archives: The Exorcist

242 – The Exorcist

Listen on the players above, on Apple Podcasts, or on Spotify.

No exploration of William Friedkin would be complete without The Exorcist, 1973’s iconic horror about a little girl possessed by a demon, and so watch it we do.

We watch the theatrical cut, which Mike’s excited to see, since the only one he’s seen before is “The Version You’ve Never Seen”, the extended cut released in 2000, and he finds this version superior, with better pacing and fewer distractions. José has always had a significant problem with the crucifix scene, and we go into why, and he argues that the film exhibits a desire to shock above all else that is typical of Friedkin. Mike argues for the sympathy we feel for Father Karras and his centrality – Max von Sydow’s Father Merrin is in theory the eponymous exorcist, but is that actually the case? And we think over much more besides, including the thrill of the special effects, the disparity between how Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells is used and its subsequent iconic synonimity with the film, whether the film should be clearer about the boundaries of its demon’s abilities, and ultimately, the fact that it’s so famous – or is that infamous? – that even Mike’s mum still references the projectile vomit bit.

José’s video note on the connection between The Exorcist and No News From God:

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.

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71 – Hereditary – Second Screening

We go deep on Hereditary, occult/folk horror, and indeed horror in a wider perspective with guest contributor and horror guru (Mike’s words) Dr. Matt Denny from the University of Warwick, a film scholar with a particular interest in precisely the milieu Hereditary occupies. (He’s also a former student of José’s who was an undergrad alongside Mike, so it’s not all down to his credentials.) He brings an insightful and informed perspective to the film, picking up the baton where Mike and José dropped it in the previous podcast, and running off with it.

We consider what the occult subgenre is, what makes such stories interesting and where Hereditary in particular digresses from them, and the effects that has. Matt offers a historical perspective on the treatment of women in horror and how the film puts forth a muddled version of that, and the influence of Kubrick (in particular The Shining) on the film. We consider Mike’s dislike of how the film hides information or clues behind codes, and Matt suggests that this is really just a function of how this type of film works – and indeed how the occult works. And is it reasonable that Mike associates the occult film with British cinema in particular?

All this and more in a fascinating discussion.

The podcast can be listened to in the player above or on iTunes.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.

70 – Hereditary

Perhaps we lack the specific horror fundamentals that would open Hereditary up to us, but we find it a muddled, almost adolescent film – a particular disappointment given it’s also an engrossing family drama with a brilliant central performance from Toni Collette. Our conversation includes considerations of the compositions and props, including repeated imagery of miniature models of the family’s home, and complaints that it feels as though we’re deliberately being withheld a clear explanation of what the hell is going on by a writer-director who’s keen to seem smarter than us. In its cruel and brutal treatment and imagery of women, José finds the film misogynist, which reminds Mike of It Follows, which he found misogynist. And José spends a few moments decrying The Exorcist, why not.

Everything we discuss is a significant plot spoiler as the film operates on revelation and surprise, so make sure you either know or don’t care what happens before listening.

The podcast can be listened to in the player above or on iTunes.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.