Updated: Feb 1
I want to discuss what horror movie truly made me feel terrified please send me your comments below. The one that kept me up all night, seeing shit in my dark room. What made me squeeze my eyes shut and talk myself into falling asleep. I didn't realize it then but I certainly do now, that kind of fear is addictive. There are only a handful of horror movies that make me feel uncomfortable but, there is one that is King. The one that I still have a hard time watching, but can't stop watching because I love that kind of fear.
After attending some slumber parties and having watched classic horror films like Nightmare on Elm Street and Child's Play. My then eleven year old self, proclaimed I was a true horror fanatic. None of these movies scared me too bad. I found them fun and in a sense, made me feel strong because I didn't fear what I was seeing. They were after all, just movies. So, I decided to brag about my new bad assery to my Dad while at a boring kid's birthday party. My Dad sat there in all his confidence and asked me, "But, have you seen the Exorcist?"
I immediately brushed off my Dad's question because, what old fogey movie could be scary? Keep in mind, other than Psycho and the Twilight Zone, I hadn't yet seen classic horror. And was Dracula really scary after seeing the Monster Squad? My Dad proceed to tell me that The Exorcist, though it came out in 1973, had audience members vomiting, fainting and taken to the hospital. My Mom confirmed these alleged reactions. The movie was known as the scariest film ever made. So, was I really a horror fanatic if I hadn't seen the scariest movie of all? I continued to doubt my Dad and he basically said if I keep talking shit I would be subjected to sitting and watching the movie. It couldn't be more boring than the other caca my Dad tried to get me to watch right?
Naturally, I kept arguing that nothing could scare me if Freddy Krueger couldn't and we ended up at our hole in the wall video store later that evening. I was a bit aggravated that the store had a copy of the The Exorcist in stock. Ugh, boring Dad movie. I vaguely remember my Dad saying I had to watch the whole thing despite how scared I got. My eyes rolled and I complained profusely because, oh my shit, the first 45 minutes of the movie was boring as all fuck. Old Priest, Actress and her Daughter, A Ouija Board and someone imaginary friend named Captain Howdy. Yada Yada Yada. So, scary.
Then, Regan peed on the carpet and said, "You're going to die up there." That's when this dark and foreboding feeling came over me and I felt everything inside me tense up. I felt like I was about to get into big time trouble. I immediately shut up, sat still and my Dad just smiled and asked, "how ya doin' Michelle?" I wasn't about to admit I was feeling unnerved.
I am pretty sure I lost my shit when Regan was being flung up and down on the bed and when she finally lay back and we hear "the voice of Pazuzu" come out of her for the first time. I scurried to the corner of the couch and put my hands over my eyes. My Dad laughing reminded me I am a true horror fan and to watch the movie. So, I did, through my fingers. I remember feeling terrified, horrified all of the verbs to describe my discomfort. It was Regan's voice, it was the flashes of Pazuzu, it was the pea soup barf. It was her head spinning around. I don't even remember the famous line, "your mother sucks cocks in hell" that first time. I had a hard time sleeping for an undisclosed number of nights, and yes then I admitted that was the scariest movie I had ever seen.
I attempted to watch The Exorcist again when I was fourteen. At another slumber party. I ended up reading or something. I couldn't do it. Flash forward and conquering Faces of Death later I am now 20 years old. The Exorcist is now being re-released into theaters with scenes that were cut from the 1973 release. These scenes were too much for movie goer's then but, in 2000 they weren't. So, I decided to try it again. Ok, let me be honest, my Dad totally bribed me with $50 and the car as long as I took my little sister with me. She had to be 14 at the time. Hey, I'm 20 now, no problem!
It was a problem. Dudes, that spider crawl scene, the sound of it, the blood, FUCK I am getting shivers up my spine just typing about it! Despite that pure horror the movie was still scary as all hell and my sister and I just clutched each other and closed our eyes.
So, yea, I attempted at getting through The Exorcist many times after that. I could handle the sequels and prequels just fine. And every other horror movie for that matter. But, the Exorcist held the "truly horrifying award." When I tried being religious, I blamed the fear of the movie on some unholy doorway demon or some garbage. Then when I realized religion was not my jam, I had nothing to blame the movie being so scary on. It's just fucking scary. While I don't doubt that the movie was cursed in some sort of way, with all the suspicious deaths during and after the film, I don't believe it had anything to do with the movie itself. Hell, William Blatty lived a long and fulfilling life after creating this beast, and to be honest, his religious views could have a lot do with the hysteria surrounding the "evil" of the film's production. Not evil itself.
With my experience with The Exorcist, I wouldn't allow my severely desensitized kids watch the movie. I had to lead them up to it. My kids grew up watching horror movies and up to that point conquered the likes of Insidious, the Conjuring and Sinister. So about five years ago, on a muggy summer day, I invited my Mom and Dad over to watch The Exorcist with their grandkids. A few of my friend's kids even came, with parental permission first, and while it was hot and rainy outside, and I gave a whole Ted Talk about the horror of the film, the Exorcist was playing in my home for the first time in many years. I was so worried about the kids mental well being, I wasn't sure if showing this movie would be considered child abuse. But, to my fucking surprise, the kids laughed through the whole thing. On top of that, to this day, they don't believe me when I say a certain horror movie made me jump or feel uncomfortable. They mock me with insults like, "says the Mom who says The Exorcist was the scariest movie ever made."
Now a days, I can get through The Exorcist now. I am exposed to the movie at every Con and event I go to. Its not my first choice to watch but, every now and then I click "Play". The last time I even fell asleep. When I was awake though, I still felt that familiar fear but, its so muted now, I can easily brush it off. I finally read the novel not too long ago, just to make sense out of my fear of the movie. But, all I got was that familiar, unexplainable yet addictive terror. At my first Monsterpalooza, I literally bumped into Linda Blair and while her tiny self apologized, I just shuddered having touched THE REAGAN. I don't care to take pictures with her either. The only Regan I will endure with comfort is when @batty_sith13 does her fantastic Regan Cosplay. And recently, @creepycutejaylah, who was so creepy made it on TV with rendition of Regan, and that kid is only seven years old!
I cannot describe what scares me so much about the movie. Other than maybe it was because it gave me my first and only real sense of fear. I want to believe it was the voice dubbing, sounds and practical effects. Perhaps it's the first horror movie I had seen where a child was attacked, tortured and came so close to death. I don't want to believe it had to do with the possession itself. I know there are things out there that cannot be explained. I am ok that there may never be a clear reason, or there are many reasons as to why this is the scariest movie I have ever seen.