Maverick director Simon Rumley recalls the first time he saw the 1973 horror masterpiece The Exorcist
It’s pointless for us to over-rhapsodize about William Friedkin‘s landmark 1973 horror film The Exorcist. The first filmed adaptation of William Peter Blatty‘s harrowing novel shocked the world upon release and then later, upon network television screenings in the latter part of the decade, where kids too young to see it, saw it, wrecking the cozy confines of their family homes.
Over four decades later, The Exorcist continues to fascinate, inspire and terrify. It’s a character piece, a cerebral and challenging theological work and its shocks are still feral and nightmarish. And while it’s a given that the movie has affected almost everyone who has seen it, it’s amazing to consider the impact the film has had on other icons of horror, artists known for their work in the genre and yet, when it comes down to it, are just as vulnerable and receptive to horror movies as the great, unwashed masses are. In this ongoing series, we will speak with some of our horror heroes and get them to tell us about the first time they saw The Exorcist and how it affected them…
Prolific British filmmaker Simon Rumely (The Living and the Dead, Red, White and Blue, the upcoming Fashionista which will premiere at the 2017 Fantasia Film Festival next month) is one of contemporary cinema’s most singular auteurs making movies that are personal, aggressive, eccentric and heavily stylized. There’s no one else doing what Rumley does and that’s a very good thing.
The maverick filmmaker shared with us his tale of his first encounter with The Exorcist.
“Back in the early 80s, the VHS home video scene kicked off just when I was becoming a teenager which meant that I could go to a stale, smoke-smelling dingy video shop near my dad’s office presided over by a blonde Vampirella and hire out pretty much any 18 rated film I wanted, even though I was only 13. My parents weren’t real film buffs or even big film fans which is probably why we ended up watching The Exorcist together one Saturday evening, clueless as to what we were letting ourselves in for. In all honesty I don’t remember much of the film apart from the masturbation scene when a deafening silence fell over the room and the mixture of shock, embarrassment and incredulity at this sexual transgression oozed from every nook and cranny in the room. Credit to my parents, for letting me watch the rest of the film is what I say and next week we carefully chose Taxi Driver as the next family film. Those were the days!”
Stay tuned for more celebrity recollections of one of the most important horror films ever made: The Exorcist!