Considered as one of the top horror movies of all time, The Exorcist first sent viewers screaming from the theater, when it was released in December 26, 1973. From the novel of the same title, it was adapted for film by the original writer, William Peter Blatty and was directed…
The entire narrative was shocking for its sheer violence and horror but more than this, and for the purposes of this essay, The Exorcist presented an accurate and detailed depiction of demonic possession and the Catholic ritual of exorcism.
Demonic possessions, according to the available literature, have a particular set of symptoms although they are not necessarily all present in any given case. These, wrote Walters (2004) for example, include insomnia, aimless wandering, compulsively eating strange or repulsive substances (or else refusing to eat at all), a repulsive stench, rigid muscles, unusual strength, fits of screaming and weeping, a significant change in facial features as a result of muscle contractions and violent aggression against oneself, nearby people, or objects (76). In The Exorcist, most of these were depicted: Regan speaking in a different voice, which was deep and gravelly; her, speaking in different languages; the misshapen face, which was also covered in lesions; Regan’s reaction to holy objects; the desecration of the nearby church; the death of Burke; and a number of other strange and unexplained phenomena that tormented her mother. Once the exorcism started, the priests were also faced with Regan’s string of obscenities, and the manifestation of strange phenomena including levitation, the seemingly independent movement of objects, Regan’s abnormally long tongue and strange bouts of vomiting.
The “speech” element, wherein the demon speaks through Regan, is a particularly important aspect in exorcism. This can be seen in most parts of the possession reenactment. There was the deep and harsh voice depicted, which is scientifically explained as a result of an altered state wherein the person’s ventricular folds are used instead of the vocal chords while the speech has been generally found to have a characteristic ...
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