« Memo from Newsweek | Main | Lefty bloggers and the Incredible Hulk »

How cool is this?

I didn't scare easily even as a kid, but the first time I saw "The Exorcist," it scared the piss out of me. And the second time. And even the third. I think it was my fourth time before I kept my eyes open all the way through. In my adult years, I'm no longer scared, but I still think the movie is superbly done and holds up surprisingly well after all these years.

"Exorcist II: The Heretic" was so mindnumbingly awful I can still get nauseated if I think about it too much. "The Exorcist III," based on William Peter Blatty's book "Legion," was underrated and much better, but still forgettable. Needless to say I was excited last year when I learned that Paul Schrader was directing a cerebral, psychological prequel to the franchise that followed Lancaster Merrin's exploits in postwar Africa.

Upon viewing a near-final print, however, the studio was offended by the lack of blood and guts and a surfeit of heady psychodrama. Long story short, Schrader was sacked, and Renny Harlin was hired for a "do-over." He re-shot the film with a completely rewritten script and an all but entirely different cast. The new film had blood and mayhem, and resulted in last year's box office disaster "Exorcist: The Beginning." I was so disgusted I didn't even go see it.

But guess what? Schrader's original movie will now see the light of day under the title "Dominion." I can't wait to see it. I suppose after I do, I won't be able to resist watching "The Beginning" just so I can do the inevitable comparisons, even though it would probably just piss me off.

By the way, on a related note, did anyone out there read any of Blatty's other novels besides "The Exorcist?" I remember reading a book of his called "Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer Kane" that I liked a lot in my adolescence. Years later, Blatty said that he had written the book when he was young and stupid and had screwed it up. But he still liked the central idea, so he re-worked it into a second novel called "The Ninth Configuration," which I also read. I happened to think that "TTKK" was a bit more compelling, if less polished, than its successor, but what the hell do I know? I was, like, fourteen at the time, so they probably both sucked.


As a footnote- anyone out there who hasn't seen "Cat People" should rent it today, if only to see Nastassia Kinski nude.

Post a comment