Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

Posts tagged “William Peter Blatty

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So this is on today…

Linda Blair_The Exorcist


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The Exorcist – Poster Art by Silver Ferox Design

The Exorcist_Poster Art_Silver Ferox Design


The Exorcist – 40th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray

The Exorcist_40th Anniversary_Banner“’The Exorcist is both my own favorite film and the greatest film ever made.” — Mark Kermode, Sight and Sound Magazine

THE EXORCIST

CELEBRATES 40TH ANNIVERSARY OCTOBER 8

Blu-ray™ Includes the Extended Director’s Cut, Theatrical Version

with New Special Features and Premiums

Burbank, Calif. June 20, 2013 – When The Exorcist was first released in 1973, viewers were frightened out of their wits – and literally out of their seats. Now Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Academy Award® winning director William Friedkin’s suspense masterpiece that haunted and intrigued the world, with a new Blu-ray release featuring the Extended Director’s Cut and Theatrical Version with new special features and premiums. Available October 8, just ahead of Halloween, this 40th Anniversary Edition will include two new featurettes: “Beyond Comprehension: William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist” and “Talk of the Devil,” as well as an excerpt from Friedkin’s book The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir.

A true cinema landmark, the theological thriller is one of the top ten box-office performers of all time.* The Exorcist took 10 Academy Award® nominations[1], including Best Picture, and won two Oscars®[2], for Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as winning for Best Sound. Subsequently, the film went on to become a multi-million dollar franchise. Directed by Friedkin (Oscar®-winner for The French Connection – Directing 1971) and written by William Peter Blatty, the film is based on his best-selling novel, which sold nearly 13 million copies domestically and was the #1 book on the New York Times Best Seller List for 57 weeks, 17 of them at #1.

Regarding the Extended Director’s Cut, Friedkin says, “After my initial cut, I took out 12 more minutes before we released it in theatres. Years later, Bill Blatty asked if I’d review some of that rejected footage (which he always felt should have remained) with an eye towards putting it back in a new version. In so doing I believe we strengthened the spiritual aspect of the film.”

Celebrated for his directorial role in this seminal film, Friedkin is still very much in the limelight. His new book, The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir, recently published by HarperCollins, extensively discusses the background and casting of The Exorcist. The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films will honor Friedkin this month with their Lifetime Achievement Award for his continually influential work in genre entertainment at this year’s Saturn Awards. Friedkin recently received the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 70th Venice International Film Festival, where he will present the restored version of Warner Bros.’ Sorcerer. And Friedkin and author Blatty will attend a special 40th Anniversary screening of their film at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. on October 30. The film will also have an exclusive theatrical engagement October 31 through November 7th at the AMC Georgetown.

Synopsis

The Exorcist tells the now-famous story of a girl’s demonic possession, and a gripping fight between good and evil. Linda Blair, in a breakout role, plays Regan, a young girl who starts to exhibit strange, arcane behaviour. Her mother (Ellen Burstyn, Oscar-winner for Best Actress Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore) calls upon a priest, Father Karras (Jason Miller) to investigate. But Karras, who has a spiritual crisis of his own, is suddenly confronted with the unimaginable evil of Regan’s possession. Father Lankester Merrin (Max Von Sydow), an archeologist-priest, is called to help, and a horrific battle for her soul begins.

Special Features:

  • Beyond Comprehension: William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist (NEW) 40 years after his novel was published,The Exorcist author, screenwriter and producer returns to where it all began. First stop is a cabin/guest house in the hills of Encino, California, where Blatty wrote the novel. The author visits the place for the first time in 40 years and shares not only memories of writing the book, but also discusses how it inspired him. We then meet Blatty in two key and iconic locations; Georgetown University where the film was shot, and at the now-famous Exorcist steps. Throughout, Blatty reads from his novel, including an excerpt from a chilling newly published passage.
  • Talk of the Devil (NEW) – While at Georgetown University, William Peter Blatty heard about a true case of possession from Father Eugene Gallagher. At the time the film came out, the priest talked at length about exorcism, the true story and about Blatty; this footage is now available for the first time in many years. It is as revealing as it is shocking.
  • Two Commentaries by William Friedkin
  • Commentary by William Peter Blatty
  • Introduction by William Friedkin
  • 1998 BBC Documentary “The Fear of God: 25 Years of the Exorcist”
  • Raising Hell: Filming the Exorcist Set footage produced and photographed by Owen Roizman, camera and makeup tests, and interviews with director William Friedkin, actress Linda Blair, author/screenwriter/producer William Peter Blatty and Owen Roizman.
  • The Exorcist Locations: Georgetown Then and Now — Featuring a tour of the iconic locations where the film was shot.
  • Faces of Evil: The Different Versions of The Exorcist — with director William Friedkin and author/screenwriter/producer William Peter Blatty discussing the different versions of the film and featuring outtakes from the film.
  • Original Ending
  • Interviews
    – The Original Cut
    – Stairway to Heaven
    – The Final Reckoning
  • Sketches & Storyboards
  • Radio Spots
  • TV Spots
  • Trailers

Premium:

  • Excerpt of The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir

The Exorcist 40th Anniversary Extended Director’s Cut Blu-ray™
Street Date: October 8, 2013
Order Due Date: September 3, 2013
Rated R
Run Time: 132min (Extended Director’s Cut);122 (Theatrical Version)
Note: All enhanced content listed above is subject to change.

* Source: boxofficemojo.com, adjusted for inflation.


Linda Blair promoting The Exorcist in London

Midweek reporter David Jessel follows Linda Blair on her brief visit to London promoting The Exorcist. Originally broadcast on the BBC, 27/03/74.


The Exorcist: Audience Reactions

A little glimpse of the mass hysteria that The Exorcist caused during its original theatrical premiere on December 26, 1973, including footage of the audience reactions and the incredibly long lines of people who waited hours upon hours to see the film… Paranormal Activity has nothing on this.


Eileen Dietz

Eileen Dietz_Pazuzu_The ExorcistEileen Dietz (born January 11, 1945, Bayside, New York) is an American actress who is best known for her appearances in many horror films such as the face of the demon in The Exorcist and for her portrayal of characters on the soap operas Guiding Light and General Hospital. 

Exorcising My Demons_Eileen DietzAs a child, Dietz appeared in commercials with her twin sister Marianne, and beginning at the age of 12 she started studying acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse. She made her television debut in 1963 in a small guest role on The Doctors. Shortly thereafter she landed a recurring role on the soap opera Love of Life. She made her film debut starring in the 1966 movie Teenage Gang Debs as Ellie. The following year she portrayed Penny Wohl in the critically acclaimed independent film Holzman’s Diary. The film never got much in the way of theatrical distribution despite having Dietz’s nude scene featured in Life Magazine’s photo spread and in the book of the film. She didn’t recall if she auditioned for the role of Penny but she added, “it was a fun shoot.”

Eileen Dietz_The ExorcistDietz spent much of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s appearing in theatre productions. In 1972, she portrayed an androgynous runaway in the premiere of Joyce Carol Oates’ Ontological Proof of My Existence. Her portrayal in the play led to an invitation to do a screen test for William Friedkin film The Exorcist. She was cast in two memorable roles in the film: The Demon (better known as The Face of Death), for this role, Dietz actually only appeared on film for 8–10 seconds; and the ‘Possessed Regan’ (the Linda Blair character). In The Exorcist Pazuzu appears as a demon who possesses Regan McNeil; Pazuzu a fictional character and the main antagonist in The Exorcist novels and film series created by William Peter Blatty. Blatty derived the character from Assyrian and Babylonian mythology, where Pazuzu was considered the king of the demons and of the wind, and the son of the god Hanbi.

exorcist-original-posterAfter The Exorcist, Dietz had a highly active career on television during the 1970’s, appearing as a guest star on such shows as Planet of the Apes, Korg: 70,000 B.C. and Happy Days among others.

In 1980, Dietz joined the cast of General Hospital as Sarah Abbott, a role she played for several years. She also appeared as a guest star on Trapper John, M.D. (1982) and in the horror film Freeway Maniac (1989). More recent film credits include Naked in the Cold Sun (1997), Hurricane Festival (1997), Bad Guys (2000), Exorcism (2003), The Mojo Cafe (2004), Neighborhood Watch (2005), Constantine (2005), Karla (2006), Creepshow III (2006), Dog Lover’s Symphony (2006), and Tracing Cowboys (2008).

The Exorcist_Dick Smith_Eileen Dietz2009 was a very busy year for Dietz. She had several films coming out, including Stingy Jack, H2: Halloween 2, See How They RunThe Queen of Screams (2009), ButterflySecond Coming of Mary,Legend of the Mountain Witch, and Monsterpiece Theatre Volume 1.


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The Exorcist – Cool Wool Artwork

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Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ (Society of Jesus), (May 1, 1881 – April 10, 1955) was a French philosopher and Jesuit priest who trained as a paleontologist and geologist and took part in the discovery of Peking Man and Piltdown Man. Teilhard conceived the idea of the Omega Point (the maximum level of complexity and consciousness towards which he believed the universe was evolving) and developed Vladimir Vernadsky’s concept of Noosphere (sphere of human thought). Some of his ideas came into conflict with the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. He was reprimanded and his works were denounced by the Holy Office.

Teilhard’s primary book, The Phenomenon of Man, set forth a sweeping account of the unfolding of the cosmos. Teilhard views evolution as a process that leads to increasing complexity. From the cell to the thinking animal, a process of psychical concentration leads to greater consciousness. The emergence of Homo sapiens marks the beginning of a new age, as the power acquired by consciousness to turn in upon itself raises humankind to a new sphere. Borrowing Julian Huxley’s expression, Teilhard describes humankind as evolution becoming conscious of itself.

In Teilhard’s conception of the evolution of the species, a collective identity begins to develop as trade and the transmission of ideas increases. Knowledge accumulates and is transmitted in increasing levels of depth and complexity. This leads to a further augmentation of consciousness and the emergence of a thinking layer that envelops the earth. Teilhard calls the new membrane the “noosphere” (from the Greek “nous,” meaning mind), a term first coined by Vladimir Vernadsky. The noosphere is the collective consciousness of humanity, the networks of thought and emotion in which all are immersed.

The development of science and technology causes an expansion of the human sphere of influence, allowing a person to be simultaneously present in every corner of the world. Teilhard argues that humanity has thus become cosmopolitan, stretching a single organized membrane over the Earth. Teilhard describes the process by which this happens as a “gigantic psychobiological operation, a sort of mega-synthesis, the “super-arrangement” to which all the thinking elements of the earth find themselves today individually and collectively subject.” The rapid expansion of the noosphere requires a new domain of psychical expansion, which “is staring us in the face if we would only raise our heads to look at it.”

In Teilhard’s view, evolution will culminate in the Omega Point, a sort of supreme consciousness. Layers of consciousness will converge in Omega, fusing and consuming them in itself. The concentration of a conscious universe will reassemble in itself all consciousnesses as well as all that we are conscious of. Teilhard emphasizes that each individual facet of consciousness will remain conscious of itself at the end of the process.

He had abandoned traditional interpretations of creation in the Book of Genesis in favor of a less strict interpretation. This displeased certain officials in the Roman Curia and in his own order who thought that it undermined the doctrine of original sin developed by Saint Augustine. Teilhard’s position was opposed by his Church superiors, and some of his work was denied publication during his lifetime by the Roman Holy Office. The 1950 encyclical Humani generis condemned several of Teilhard’s opinions, while leaving other questions open. However, some of Teilhard’s views became influential in the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. More recently, Pope John Paul II indicated a positive attitude towards some of Teilhard’s ideas. In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI praised Teilhard’s idea of the universe as a “living host”.

Teilhard and his work have a continuing presence in the arts and culture. He inspired a number of characters in literary works. References range from occasional quotations—an auto mechanic quotes Teilhard in Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly, to inspiring William Peter Blatty to base the character of Father Lankester Merrin in his blockbuster novel The Exorcist on Teilhard. In Dan Simmons’ 1989–97 Hyperion Cantos, Teilhard de Chardin has been canonized a saint in the far future. His work inspires the anthropologist priest character, Paul Duré. When Duré becomes Pope, he takes Teilhard I as his regnal name.


The Exorcist – Live on Stage

If you’re in Los Angeles anytime between July 3 and August 12, get down to the Geffen Playhouse to see the stage adaptation of William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist. If anyone out there manages to see this production, please post a review.

SYNOPSIS: The most chilling test of faith comes to life on stage.  This world premiere adaptation of the famous 1971 novel documenting the terror and redemption of a ten-year-old girl remains as frightening and relevant as when first experienced. Under the direction of Tony Award winner John Doyle and adapted by acclaimed playwright John Pielmeier (Agnes of God), The Exorcist transforms the unsettling battles of good versus evil, faith versus fact and ego versus ethos into a uniquely theatrical experience as sophisticated as it is suspenseful.


Jason Miller

Jason Miller (April 22, 1939 – May 13, 2001) was an American actor and playwright. He received the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play That Championship Season, and was widely recognized for his role as Father Damien Karras in the 1973 classic horror film The Exorcist.

Miller was born John Anthony Miller in Long Island City, Queens. His family moved to Scranton, Pennsylvania, where Miller was educated at St. Patrick’s High School and the Jesuit-run University of Scranton. He then attended The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C.

Miller was launched into stardom in 1973 by winning a Pulitzer Prize for his play, That Championship Season. The original Broadway cast featured Charles Durning, Richard Dysart, Paul Sorvino, and Michael McGuire. That same year, he was offered the role of the troubled priest, Father Damien Karras, in William Friedkin’s horror film The Exorcist (1973), for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Miller played Father Damien Karras, in The Exorcist, and its real sequel The Exorcist III. Father Karras was one of the priests (with Father Merrin played by Max von Sydow) who exorcises the demon from young Regan McNeil (Linda Blair). He is a Jesuit psychiatrist suffering a crisis of faith. He searches for proof to lead an exorcism, yet during his investigation he comes to realize that there is no better way for God to prove His own existence than to reveal the foul presence of a demon. During the exorcism, the demon frequently brings up the subject of Karras’s mother’s death and how he wasn’t there to see her die, which seems to trouble Karras emotionally.

Father Karras dies by throwing himself down a flight of stone steps in order to purge the demon from his own body after having coaxed it out of Regan’s.

In the sequel, The Exorcist III, it is revealed that after the demon departed, another evil spirit invaded Karras’s body. Karras was found wandering and amnesiac and was placed in the care of a mental hospital near Washington, D.C. While incarcerated there, the spirit suppresses Karras’s personality and makes forays into the bodies of other patients in order to commit a series of ritual murders.

In 1982 Miller directed the screen version of That Championship Season. Featured in the cast were Robert Mitchum (replacing William Holden, who died before filming began), Paul Sorvino, Martin Sheen, Stacy Keach, and Bruce Dern. His own film career was sporadic, preferring to work in regional theatre. He starred as Henry Drummond in the Philadelphia production of Inherit the Wind. The show is to date the longest running production in Philadelphia history.

Miller co-founded the Scranton Public Theatre. With SPT, Miller directed and starred in various productions including Blithe Spirit, California Suite, Crimes of the Heart, and The Lion in Winter. He also acted occasionally in such films as The Dain Curse (1978), The Ninth Configuration (1980), Toy Soldiers (1984), and Rudy (1993), playing a role close to his heart, Notre Dame football coach Ara Parseghian.

In 1998, he toured his one-man play Barrymore’s Ghost, ending the tour with a four-month run off-Broadway. In October 2000, he performed Barrymore’s Ghost in a successful and critically acclaimed production in Philadelphia. His last project was a 2001 revival of The Odd Couple for the Pennsylvania Summer Theatre Festival, in which he was to appear in the role of Oscar Madison but died before the production opened.

Miller was the father of actors Jason Patric (by first wife Linda Gleason, daughter of Jackie Gleeson) and Joshua John Miller (by second wife Susan Bernard). In 1982 Miller returned to Scranton to become artistic director of the Scranton Public Theatre, a new regional theatre company founded the year before. On May 13, 2001, Miller died of a Heart attack in Scranton, Pennsylvania, aged 62.


The Exorcist III ****

Lt. Kinderman (George C. Scott) and his close friend Father Dyer (Ed Flanders) meet up every year on the anniversary of the death of their friend Father Damian Karras (Jason Miller), who died in Georgetown 15 years prior.

Kinderman confides in Father Dyer that his latest case, a series of gruesome murders, resembles the same pattern of murders by the Gemini Killer, a man convicted and executed in the electric chair 15 years earlier. The murders are complex and grisly, each one more elaborate than its predecessor. They involve crucifixion, bodies drained of blood, beheading and religious desecration. Kinderman is frustrated and confused; is the Gemini killer back, did he have an accomplice, is there a copycat killer or did they convict the wrong man?

As Kinderman’s frustrations grow, Father Dyer is admitted to hospital where he becomes the Gemini killer’s latest victim. Kinderman starts to doubt his own mind as his investigations lead him to interview patient ‘X’ in the hospital mental ward, a man who looks like Father Damian Karras…

The Exorcist III starts as a serial killer tale and slowly gives way to a bigger story concerning unfinished business from 15 years earlier involving the Gemini killer and the spiritual fight to save the soul of a young girl in Georgetown. The screenplay, adapted by William Peter Blatty from his novel ‘Legion’, is excellent, it’s well crafted and told with the kind of patience rarely seen in horror movies over the last few decades.

Blatty, who also directs, introduces real characters, fleshes them out and gives his actors time and space to perform some excellent dialogue. George C. Scott is solid as usual, as is Ed Flanders; their relationship rings true and feels very natural. Nancy Fish is superb as creepy Nurse Allerton as is Brad Dourif as the Gemini killer; he turns in a fantastic performance; yes it’s hysterically over the top, but it’s also subtle and punctuated with moments of delicious black comedy.

The atmosphere is foreboding and the tension builds as Kinderman closes in on the truth behind the murders. The movie relies on the collective skills of Blatty and his cast to deliver the horror rather than shocking the audience with gore and violence. The killings are not shown; they are described by the investigating officers and are all the more disturbing for it. However, the murder of Nurse Amy Keating (Tracy Thorne) is still one of the best shocks in the genre. The build up is almost interminable but the payoff is well worth it.

My only gripe with the movie is the over the top last 15 minutes. The blood soaked ‘exorcism’ and awful lightning effects lessen the overall effect and feel out of place with the tone of the rest of the movie. Bad contact lenses and those awful lightning effects aside, this is a good film and is the real sequel to the original Exorcist with some genuinely creepy moments; far more worthy than the execrable Exorcist II: The Heretic.

Quality: 4 out of 5 stars

Any good: 4 out of 5 stars


LEGO – The Exorcist

Another nice LEGO image, this time of the classic levitating scene from The Exorcist.