Illuminating Cinema: The Exorcist
Directed by William Friedkin. US. 1973/2000. R. 2 hour 13 minutes. Warner Bros. Digital Restoration.
Thu., October 31, 2019
Special Halloween Night Illuminating Cinema Event!
Heads spin when twelve-year-old Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) enters a room – or at least hers does, after she’s possessed by an evil entity in William Friedkin’s horrifying adaptation of William Peter Blattyʼs best-selling novel. A very controversial film in its time, The Exorcist has lost none of its ability to shock and scare despite innumerable imitations and sequels over the years. One reason for its lasting ability to affect us is that each of the characters – Ellen Burstyn as Reganʼs loving mother, Jason Miller as the spiritually overwhelmed young priest, Lee J. Cobb as the suspicious cop, and Max von Sydow as the titular exorcist – is portrayed with insight and compassion. And Blair never loses our sympathy throughout this sensational story. If you want to have really good scare this Halloween join us for this chilling classic!
About the Talk & Conversation
“Fear is contagious, and no fear more so than the awesome dread of disembodied evil.” (Extract from leaflets distributed to The Exorcist audiences, 1974)
Described by James Ferman, the head secretary of the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC) as possessing “tremendous power to disturb and persuade,” this edition of the Colonial Theatre’s Illuminating Cinema series examines the moral panic surrounding the original cinematic and subsequent home video release of William Friedkin’s The Exorcist.
Released amid social and political turmoil on both sides of the Atlantic, the film was categorized, along with others, such as Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs, Russell’s The Devils, and Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, by Britain’s foremost ethical campaigner, Mary Whitehouse, as “New Savage Cinema”; films that preyed on the fear and insecurities of a vulnerable public, exploiting and ultimately weakening the moral fabric of society. Condemned as both “blasphemous” and “dangerous” by Britain’s National Viewers and Listeners Association (NVALA), and as a glorification of evil by the Parent’s Music Resource Center’s (PMRC) Tipper Gore, the film was denied an official home video release in Britain until 1999. Consequently, a crucial aspect of the talk will include an exploration of the film’s central position in the public fears surrounding the relationship between pop culture and satanism that emerged during the twentieth century.
About the Speakers
Andrew Owen received an M.A. and a PhD in sociology from Bangor University, UK; and is a fulltime faculty member of the Sociology and Criminal Justice Department at Lebanon Valley College. Andrew’s main areas of research focus on the social history of popular culture; analyzing areas related to propaganda, censorship, horror, and science fiction. Andrew also examines the phenomenon of humor in society, especially as it pertains to its usage by subordinated social groups to attack, challenge, or draw attention to the oppressive ideologies and practices of the dominant social group. Andrew has presented on the topic of film in several countries, including, Great Britain, Norway, and China, as well as throughout the United States. Most recently he has co-authored a chapter for the text, Becoming: Genre, Queerness, and Transformation in NBC’s Hannibal (Syracuse University Press, 2019).
Before joining the Association for the Colonial Theatre as its first Marketing Director in March 2017, Brendan Carr was a long-time volunteer, classic/horror/cult film program committee member and host at the theatre. Brendan has a bachelor’s degree in Radio-Television-Film from Temple University and several certificates in film studies from Ball State University. Prior to joining the Colonial, Brendan served as a legal audio/video technician at the Delaware County Courthouse, reporter/manager at TV Guide, and chief marketing content developer at Dansko shoes. In addition to his marketing experience, Brendan was also a writer/performer on the web comedy series The Clink and contributor the popular pop culture podcast You’ve Got Geek.
7:00PM – Pre-Show Talk in the Garden Suite
7:30 PM – Film Screening in the 1903 Theatre
9:45 PM – Post-Show Conversation in the Garden Suite
Seniors & Students: $20
In addition to admission to the film screening and the pre- and post-film discussions, your Illuminating Cinema ticket includes a free small popcorn and a free small soda. Plus $5 beer or wine (at this event only).
A limited number of tickets are available for each Illuminating Cinema presentation so we encourage advance purchases.
Discounts are available when you purchase tickets for all current Illuminating Cinema selections during the same transaction.
Member Passes are not accepted for this program.
About Illuminating Cinema
When the credits end that’s when the conversation begins!
Illuminating Cinema connects you with film fans of all ages for fun, refreshments and engaging conversation. Each presentation begins with a pre-show introduction from a guest speaker who offers insight and observation to help sharpen your focus on the respective film. After the film, we’ll meet for an entertaining and enlightening conversation with the speaker and each other.
In addition to admission to the film screening and the pre- and post-film discussions, your Illuminating Cinema ticket includes a free small popcorn and a free small soda. Plus $5 beer or wine (at the Illuminating Cinema event only).
Focus your appreciation for film with Illuminating Cinema!