Saturday, September 15, 2012

Casting Out Demons: Real Life Movie Inspirations

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The sacred, the profane, and the downright demonic have always made for blockbuster and controversial movie fare, and when it comes to it, you can never go wrong with a good ol' exorcism or spirit possession story. The mysterious spiritual rite, performed across several different religions but most associated with Catholicism, has thrilled and horrified movie goers for decades.

Not all of these movies are the brain-child of over-creative writers, but come from the accounts of real life exorcisms. Do the Hollywood films take creative license to fill the theater seats, or do they stay true to the real life tale?

The Exorcist (1973)

exorcist
exorcist blu ray

The Film: A classic by any other name, this film is about a pair of priests that attempt to exorcise a demon out of a head-rotating and green pea soup-spitting Linda Blair in the Georgetown suburb of Washington D.C. The grotesque imagery and some of the films scenes easily made it one of the scariest movies made at the time. Even by today's standards, it's still pretty creepy.

exorcist novel
exorcist novel1

The Real Story: The man who wrote the novel of the same name, William Peter Blatty, said he was inspired by a newspaper article while studying at Georgetown University about an exorcism performed on a 13-year-old boy. Most of the details were muddled, likely to protect the boy and his family, but evidence points to boy's behavior not being as outrageous as Regan's in the film.

Audrey Rose (1977)

audrey rose dvd
audrey rose dvd

The Film: A classic by any other name, this film is about a pair of priests that attempt to exorcise a demon out of a head-rotating and green pea soup-spitting Linda Blair in the Georgetown suburb of Washington D.C. The grotesque imagery and some of the films scenes easily made it one of the scariest movies made at the time. Even by today's standards, it's still pretty creepy.

audrey rose novel
ar

The Real Story: The man who wrote the novel of the same name, William Peter Blatty, said he was inspired by a newspaper article while studying at Georgetown University about an exorcism performed on a 13-year-old boy. Most of the details were muddled, likely to protect the boy and his family, but evidence points to boy's behavior not being as outrageous as Regan's in the film.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)




The Film: On trial for negligent homicide due to the death of a young woman, a parish priest recounts the events of an exorcism which reveal the horrifying tribulations the woman experienced via flashback.

exorcism of emily rose novel
exorcism novel1

The Real Story: Anneliese Michel was a 16-year-old German girl who began to display signs of demonic possession in 1968. For years she was plagued with bouts of paralysis, self-abuse, starvation, and demonic visions until 1975, when two priests performed the rites of exorcism on what was believed to be several demons over the course of ten months. During that time, Anneliese refused to eat, and she died of starvation in the July of 1976. Both her parents and the priests were found guilty of manslaughter and served six months in jail.

As with any story, there will always be an amount of embellishment, though more recently it would seem that Hollywood and film-goers are enjoying movies that have their roots in reality. As information becomes more wired and the ability to fact-check “true” stories increases, we will no doubt be seeing movies that keep factual accuracy in mind.

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4 comments:

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I want to bugger Linda Blair (as the bird was in 1977 when the bird was 18, not as the bird is now obviously).

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I want to bugger Laura Linney (as the bird was in 1982 when the bird was 18, not as the bird is now obviously).

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I want to bugger Marsha Mason (as the bird was in 1960 when the bird was 18, not as the bird is now obviously).

Sonja said...

I was just talking about The Exorcist today about how it still creeps me out because of it's basis in "fact." From an early age I was desensitized to horror movies, but no matter what I can't watch that movie without getting scared. That might be why it's still my favorite movie of all time.