Exorcism

Boiling Point

The Devil Inside is the talk of the town for two reasons: number one, it made around $35 million in its opening weekend, which is big no matter what qualifier you tack on, but when that qualifier is a reported $1 million acquisition cost, it’s gigantic. Number two (heheh), it sucks. It sucks bad. That’s nothing new, really, as everything about The Devil Inside screams shitty movie. First of all, it’s from the team that brought you Stay Alive. Second, it’s found footage. Third, it’s an exorcism movie. I’m surprised that people went to see it, because you list those three qualities and I am about as far from interested as possible. But rather than just throw another voice on the “what the fuck” bonfire, I wanted to take a few minutes and examine what we can learn from this situation.

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Kevin Carr

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr looks at his list of New Year’s resolutions. However, since he was a little drunk when he wrote them and his handwriting is sloppy, he thinks it reads to “exorcise more” instead of “exercise more.” So, he hops a plane to Rome and sneaks out to the theater late at night to check out the latest first-of-the-year release, The Devil Inside. After waking up from a quick nap in the theater as a result, Kevin heads back to the states to catch some last-minute award films in limited release.

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During the first third of The Rite it feels like you might be watching something good. Don’t trust it. That’s just the demon inside lulling you into a false sense of security. The film starts off moody and slow. It seems to be very meticulously building its world and building its suspense. We are introduced to a young mortician named Michael Kovak (Colin O’Donoghue). Kovak isn’t a guy with lofty hopes and dreams, but he wants something more than painting the fingernails of the dead. So he enrolls in seminary school, with the understanding that right before he’s sworn in as a holy commando he can quit the whole thing and get a free education out of the deal.

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In a film that will eventually become The Rite Stuff when Friedberg and Seltzer spoof the exorcism subgenre poorly, Anthony Hopkins plays the elder Priest giving advice to the younger, doubt-filled one. This is nothing new, but the trailer has the nice sheen of interesting cinematography that makes it seem like the film might be worth that second look. In the effort of full disclosure, Sir Hopkins has cleansed my everlasting soul of a demon before. Don’t let that keep you from enjoying the trailer for The Rite:

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The Last Exorcism is the story of a Louisiana pastor called to the aid of a family living way out in the sticks. The family is aware that Cotton, the pastor, has been performing exorcisms for many years and they are in need of his special talents. The daughter of the family, Nell, has been acting so strangely of late that her father is convinced that she is possessed by the devil. Cotton sees this as an opportunity to reveal the enormous hoax that is church-sanctioned exorcism and brings along a camera crew to document both the flimsiness of the family’s possession claims and the charade of the exorcism ceremony. What he discovers in that tiny backwoods town is something far more real and far more terrifying than he is equipped to handle. Calling The Last Exorcism the best exorcism film since The Exorcist is not only a mouthful, but that seemingly flattering moniker may be more of a backhanded compliment than the film deserves. I for one wholly endorse this, admittedly, sensational claim but I don’t think it’s one the film should wear as a badge of honor (whether the praise come from me or someone of much greater note and worth). The fact is that exorcism films have been few and far between since Linda Blair first showered us in green, soupy terror in 1973. Of the meager handfuls that have cropped up in these near forty years hence, only a smidgen of them have seen theatrical release. […]

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Warner Bros. wants he iconic actor to face the true-life events of a priest in exorcism school. Yes, they exist.

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There’s strange, and then there’s really strange. And then there’s sort of strange, which is in itself a completely different genre. I don’t know into which category this piece of news falls, but I know that it’s a little off the beaten path. Two new projects are in place that center around the world of exorcism. We ask: is this a new trend, or just coincidence?

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New negotiations, two days ongoing at this 11/27 writing, are still a secret, but I CAN tell you what’s been on the news, since it has nothing to do with what’s going on indoors.

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