Why the Exorcist Endures

From The University Bookman at The Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal
by MARK JUDGE

They’re still there almost every day. At the corner of 36th and Prospect Streets in Georgetown. More than forty years later, tourists and even locals arrive at the stairs where the film The Exorcist was shot in the early 1970s. They take pictures, talk about the movie. They giggle and shiver.

Why does The Exorcist endure? The most obvious reason it does is that the demonic is real, and the idea that supernatural forces beyond our control can affect us, even taking over our very bodies, is frightening. But a lot of films have depicted the occult and not had the seismic and enduring impact of The Exorcist. The film endures because the atmosphere it depicts has become our own. The point of the demonic in The Exorcist is not to levitate bodies, vomit on priests, and telepathically toss furniture around the room. The point—often lost even four decades later—is to convince human beings that we are animalistic and not worthy of God’s love.

To convince us of this, the demon in the film most frequently attacks… Read more at The University Bookman

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