Thursday, October 20, 2011

Phil's Horror Watch, Day 16: Phil sees THE EXORCIST double feature at the Castro Theatre-October 16, 2011

Welcome back to Day Sixteen people! Again for the second time this weekend, I traveled back to the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, where they were having an EXORCIST double feature! And I for one couldn't wait for the show to begin!

Theatrical Movie Poster (1973)
The night began with the scariest film of all time: THE EXORCIST. When actress Chris MacNiel (Ellen Burstyn) notices that her 12-year old daughter Regan (Linda Blair) is possessed by the Devil himself, she enlists the aid of two priests: Father Karras (Jason Miller), a young priest who is doubting his faith because of his mother's terminal illness, and Father Merrin (Max von Sydow), who came out of retirement to face his old nemesis one last time.

The film was released by Warner Brothers the day after Christmas in 1973, and the world hasn't been the same since. It would be foolish of me to try and state the importance of the film, or discuss the impact it has had on society. The film has been declared as the scariest film of all time by several media outlets. Entertainment channels such as E!, Bravo, MTV, VH1, and fearNET have cited that film," forever changed the face of horror, and we are still terrified of the film after all these years." In 2010 THE EXORCIST was selected to be preserved by the Library of Congress as part of its National film Registry. With this, we are guaranteed that the film will continue to terrify us for years to come!

Theatrical Movie Poster (1990)
The second half of the double feature is an overlooked and dismissed film that really deserves another look at. THE EXORCIST III is quite a frightening film.  Set fifteen years after the events in the original EXORCIST, the film follows police lieutenant William F. Kiderman (George C. Scott) from the first film, as he investigates a series of brutal murders in Georgetown. The murders have contain the same theme: the torture, decapitation and the desecration of religious icons. Also, the murders all have the hallmarks of "The Gemini Killer" (Brad Dourif), a serial killer presumed to have died more than fifteen years ago. Baffled by these murders, Kiderman meets with friend Father Dyer (Ed Flanders) go see the film "It's A Wonderful Life," to try to cheer each other up on the anniversary of the death of their mutual friend, Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller from the first film). But when Father Dyer is discovered dead, Kiderman begins his search for the vicious killer.

The film was written and directed by William Peter Blatty and was based on his book LEGION, which was the original title of the film. However, the producers of the film (Morgan Creek) changed the name of the film to make it more commercial. Adding insult to injury, they also informed Blatty that a new ending had be shot because they wanted an exorcism in the film. To make matters worse, the film was severely edited and new scenes were shot. The final film was not Blatty's original version, and we'll probably never see it. All the cut footage of the film is apparently lost, although the search for the missing footage is still ongoing. The film was released to theaters by 20th Century Fox on August 17, 1990.

Another fun-filled night at the Castro!! But I always have a good time out here, and you can too! To view the Castro Theatre's film schedule, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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