An interview with Oz Perkins, writer/director of "The Blackcoat's Daughter."
Many of today's films seem to be made solely for financial reasons, but the case of "The Exorcist" is more complex than most. It was a tremendous financial success, the all-time box office champ for a while, but only a psychic could have predicted that people would line up to see a movie of this nature.
There's nothing quite like the movies if you want to learn what people's hopes and dreams were during the period in which they were made. Take for instance the recent "Up in the Air". In the present when air travel has turned into something to be endured, George Clooney's Ryan Bingham showed us how it can become an enticing way of life. The same subject was also portrayed extensively, under a very different light, some forty years as the "Airport" movies dealt with our fears of dying in new and horrible ways, while glamorizing our dreams of flying first-class, surrounded by a movie star in every seat. As the trailer for one of these features once put it: "on board, a collection of the rich and the beautiful!" They also marked the advent of a new genre (the Disaster Film) as well as the "Ark movie" which Ebert's Little Movie Glossary defines as "mixed bag of characters trapped in a colorful mode of transportation". How many films can claim to this kind of impact?
Welcome to a special Halloween edition of the Newsletter! Marie writes: the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise in Paris is considered one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world, in addition to being the final resting place of many a famous name. From Édith Piaf, Sarah Bernhardt and Chopin to Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison and Georges Méliès, the well-known sleep on the tree-lined avenues of the dead and which you can now explore in a virtual 360 degree tour...
Q. I saw "Starship Troopers" this weekend, and paid particular attention to the scene in which school kids stomp a bunch of cockroaches. It appeared to me that at least some of the beasties that got stomped were real, since they were walking around, but the film had the usual SPCA thingy at the end. Was this a special effects shot? Or did the SPCA lower their standards after Men in Black? (Dominick Cancilla, Santa Monica, CA.)
Q. I recall a rumor that "The Exorcist" used subliminal messaging to affect the audience. When I saw it on its initial theatrical release, I passed out at one point--and I don't faint easily. It was early in the film when she was having her brain x-rayed: The scene showed Regan with a needle on the end of a tube stuck in her neck, and there's a gyrating X-ray machine and the machine-gun-like sound of sheets of film rapidly advancing. I recoil at the thought that a movie could have such an impact on me without some kind of unfair advantage. Maybe the hype surrounding the film and the crowded theater set me up for it. When I came to, I noticed that I'd slumped down and jammed my shins against the metal edge of the seat in front of me. They were cut and bleeding. Probably one of the few times that watching a movie led to physical injury. (Tom Norris, Braintree, Mass.)
ANNES, FRANCE - Halfway through the new high school horror movie "Class of 1984," certain members of the audience began slipping out of their seats and tiptoeing down the aisle into the lobby. It was hard to see them in the gloom, but they looked like standard Mediterranean businessmen in slippery gray sharkskin suits, patterned white silk shirts and the kind of glasses that automatically darken in the sunshine.