August 12, 2004

Paul Schrader Speaks Out On Exorcist: The Beginning

The Independent and The Guardian have some very good interviews with Paul Schrader, discussing matters of film, esthetics and marketing...and yes, the Exorcist prequel:
With hindsight, Schrader likens the whole farrago to "a simple case of buyer's remorse. Somebody goes out and buys a Lexus and they come home and say: 'You know what? I should really have bought a Hummer.' So they go out and buy a Hummer. And then they've got a Lexus and a Hummer."

So what happens to the Lexus? "Well, that's where it gets interesting," he chortles. He's heard a rumour that his Exorcist may eventually be released on DVD, although he has yet to get this in writing. He hopes the backers might even go so far as to screen the two films side-by-side and let the audience decide which they like. "In the end it's a revenue stream," he says. "And all revenue streams eventually reach the sea."

August 03, 2004

E4 Slated to Open August 20 in Chicago Area

Father Merrin and Pazuzu from Exorcist: The Beginning, courtesy Warner Bros.If you haven't visited already, be sure to check out Warner Bros.' official Exorcist: The Beginning site. You'll find some snazzy interactive animation, wallpapers and screenshots in addition to the usual film website content. The local Century Theaters in Evanston lists August 20th as the opening date.

The curious can view the International Extended trailer on [QuickTime™ required], for a far better taste of the new film's feel and content than the rather nondescript version available on the official website. A different cut of the trailer is available here, on LatinoReview.

My gut instinct after seeing both trailers tells me the movie will be much more contemporary action-driven Hollywood horror than an extension of the original (but then, we expected this) - the version with Renny Harlin's direction will likely be competent but lacking the psychological profundities of Paul Schrader's.

However, the original film drew much of its strength from its pedestrian American setting: how could the ultimate Evil lodge in a sweet little girl living in Georgetown, who loves pony rides? The first Exorcist established the foreign origins of the demon by its bright opening in the scorching sands of ancient Mosul, cutting abruptly to the dark, candlelit attic where Chris MacNeil [Ellen Burstyn] first hears the mysterious sounds she takes for rats. The jarring nature of the transition from light/old to dark/new gives the film's opening minutes a potent punch.

I expect fewer surprises in the new film. Here in E4, we are treated to an array of exotic, historical locales and film sets, and subconsciously viewers will be conditioned to expect the strange in strange lands, so to speak.

Reports say that both helmer's takes will likely be released to DVD, although it's uncertain if they will arrive in the same package. As always, you'll find fresh and detailed Exorcist IV news on

Georgetown University: Inside Healy Hall

Stairs leading to second floor of Healy Hall, scene where Father Karras goes to meet with Church leaders to request the MacNeil exorcism.

Stairs leading to second floor of Healy Hall, which appear in the scene where Father Karras goes to meet with Church leaders to request permission for Regan MacNeil's exorcism. [Photo taken 2002]

Bill Blatty Doesn't Live Here Any More

William Peter Blatty's old residence during his early 'Exorcist' writing days

But he used to, or so I hear. This is 3618 Prospect Street, reportedly one of author William Peter Blatty's former residences during his Georgetown days.

Georgetown University: Healy Hall 2

A front view of Healy Hall, where the Chris MacNeil 'student protest' scene was shot

This is a front view of Healy Hall from the summer of 2002, showing the locale where the "film within a film" scene in the original Exorcist was filmed [below, image © Warner Brothers].

Georgetown University: Healy Hall

Georgetown University's Healy Hall

This is a view through the archway of Dahlgren Chapel, looking towards Healy Hall.