Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Unequaled Terror of "The Exorcist"

No issues here due to the storm. Seems New York/New Jersey got the worst of it. Aside from a messy yard and a little water in the basement, things went ok here in Massachusetts.

Fellow blogger Budd at Scifi Media had organized a blog hop a while back for Halloween. The topic is the scariest book, film, or experience one has ever seen or had. Sounded interesting and seeing that there is really only one film to ever scare me, it was an easy pick as well. Here you go.

The Unequaled Terror of "The Exorcist"
The 1973 horror film "The Exorcist" is the only film to truly scare me. I think there are two levels of the horror with this film; the obvious possession of Regan and to me the true driver of the story, the devil's retribution on the priest Lankester Merrin. As a young kid seeing this film the first level was enough to freak me out. Later as an adult the second angle made things even worse.

Right off the bat, the musical score for "The Exorcist" conveys a sense of dread and foreboding. Capped by the masterful piano piece "Tubular Bells" by Mike Oldfield stands alone in eerie music lore:
Great piece.

If one is a fan of the literary device foreshadowing, the opening of the film in the Iraq desert sets the tone. On a dig Father Merrin is confronted with relic finds related to the demon Pazuzu. The king of demons is silhouetted against Merrin and the tension between the two forces is palpable:

From there the story revolves around the character Regan MacNeil and her Mother. We see a young woman whose mother is a famous actress in a new city. She is saddened by her Father's estrangement from her and her Mother, but overall there is nothing out of the ordinary about her.

Slowly changes build in Regan's behavior. At first they seem like ordinary young teen changes, then escalate into something more sinister. I need not recap all the scenes; you have seen them and know how disturbing they are.

As Father Damien Karras enters the film things really go to another level. Karras is a trained psychologist and a man of faith that is facing some inner issues with his belief. Chris MacNeil seeks him out after exhaustive (but inconclusive) physical tests fail to diagnose Regan's malady. 

During the course of two meetings between Regan and Karras the demon presents a case with enough evidence to meet the criteria for exorcism (speaking in foreign tongue, telekinesis, rejection of religious objects) yet allows enough doubt to remain in the mind of Karras that it is absolutely genuine. Of course that is the plan. From one of their meetings comes this terrifying dialogue:
"What an excellent day for an exorcism."
"You would like that?"
"But wouldn't that drive you out of Regan?"
"It would bring us together."
"You and Regan?"
"You and us". 
Video clip can be seen here.

In a muddled recording Karras made of the demon it is found that it is English backwards. And now the movie enters in to the final phase as the demon speaks out Merrin's name.

And I believe it is here that the true terror of the film reaches a level no other film has ever come close to approaching.

Father Merrin is selected by the Church (or by the demon?) to perform the exorcism. The iconic picture as Merrin arrives at the house is timeless:

As Lankester enters the home the demon bellows "MMMMEEERRRRIIINNNNN!!!!" shaking the house. Called out by name from a being from the other side. Chilling cannot describe it.

The brutal exorcism follows and it has to be seen to be appreciated, words cannot do it. The demon gives a glimpse of it's true power to the priests as best shown by this picture:

Using psychological attacks and personal pain of the passing of Karras' mother, the demon succeeds in getting Merrin alone as he dismisses Karras.

And it is here that the terror knows know bounds.

A once defeated demon exacts revenge and retribution on Father Merrin as he suffers a fatal heart attack. Pazuzu sits and watches as Merrin's spirit must have left his body. Waiting years, waiting for the priest to become old and weak, the demon laughs at it's victory.

There is no end to the demons desire for Merrin's fall. Regans life. Chris MacNeil's sanity. Father Karras and his wounded faith and fragile soul. It's all a means to an end. This is darkness.

Courageously Father Karras is able to turn the tide by taking in the demon and killing himself. By asserting his will against the demon, light has a small victory with the return of Regan to her body. But at such costs.

So yes, "The Exorcist" is the most scary thing I have ever seen and I imagine it always will be!

Have a good night.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Flashback to "Berserker"

Just a quick note.....

Flaskback to "Berserker"
I feel like I am about to channel one Kid Dynamite with this one. I LEARNED IT BY WATCHING YOU!

I saw this post over at Geekologie yesterday and it was making me think of something else big time. Here is the video in question, where a guy (German/Russian?) jumps onto a frozen pool and the ice does not break:

Now this would be funny as all get by itself, by the shout out the guy gives at the 0:19 second mark was the apex of hilarity before the fall. Insta-classic.

Of course, this point me in mind of another clip.

I submit to you the "Berserker" scene (0:30 second mark on) from the film "Clerks" (WARNING: Bad language):


Have a good night.

Monday, October 15, 2012

1921 Photo of Great Scientists Double Take!

I came across something today that grabbed my attention so I thought I would put a quick post up. Also, if you are over 5'11'', can turn your head around, and can run the 40 yard dash in less than 30 seconds please contact the New England Patriots this week for a possible job in the defensive secondary. Thanks, tell your friends!

1921 Photo of Great Scientists Double Take!
In news I am sure will shock you, I was looking over some Wikipedia articles today and I cam across an old photograph from 1921 of a large group of famous scientists. I have to admit, I thought the picture had been photo shopped or something due to the gentleman in the front center of the picture (click for larger view or use this link):
From the description:
From left to right are: three unidentified men, David Sarnoff, Thomas J. Hayden, Ernst Julius Berg, S. Benedict, Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla, Charles Proteus Steinmetz, A.N. Goldsmith, A. Malsin, Irving Langmuir, Albert W. Hull, E.B. Pillsbury, Saul Dushman, Richard Howland Ranger, George Ashley Campbell and two unidentified men.

The odd looking fellow in the front was Charles Proteus Steinmetz, who had a long and distinguished physics career.

I don't know, but this picture just grabbed me.

Have a good night.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wikipedia Finds

Hey all!

Hope all is well with who ever still stops by. Things have been busy for me as usual. Been making some real progress.

I have been sick as a dog for almost 2 weeks but finally am coming out of it. Probably my body rejecting the very thought of colder weather. Leaves have changed and it will be a wintry feel this Saturday in the morning with a frost. Joy.

I do have a Caribbean vacation planned for November so maybe that will make things easier. A New England Patriots running game certainly helps as well! (Don't mention the Saints!)

Wikipedia Finds
I just like to learn and know stuff. It's a habit. Since tuning out markets and finance and focusing on science hard core, I find my mind just wants more and more of things of interest. Of course this feeds my Wikipedia/Damn Interesting reading habit.

Some cool finds of the last few weeks if you are interested:

The Taman Shud Case
High drama on this one! Check it out:
Considered "one of Australia's most profound mysteries",the case has been the subject of intense speculation over the years regarding the identity of the victim, the events leading up to his death and the cause of death. Public interest in the case remains significant due to a number of factors: the death occurring at a time of heightened tensions during the Cold War, the use of an undetectable poison, lack of identification, the possibility of unrequited love and the involvement of a secret code in a very rare book.
Cretaceous–Paleogene Boundary 
Formerly the K-T boundary, evidence that an impact event probably killed off the dinosaurs may well be found in an iridium layer across the globe.

Smeaton's Tower
The builder of the third lighthouse at Eddystone pioneered the use of concrete and changed lighthouse design forever. Great Damn Interesting article is here as well.

Come on, you want to learn about Osmium don't you?

The Story of Achilles
Great Wiki entry on a literary historical figure.

Have a good night.