Ruminations Episode VIII Show Notes

Miscellaneous Exorcism

  • Since posting our episode on Halloween, I have finished The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist by Matt Baglio. I can’t recommend it enough for anyone looking for an accessible and informative overview of angels, demons, demonic infestation/oppression/possession, and the various ways in which exorcists go about exorcising demons in the 21st century. More on book’s main focus, Fr. Gary Thomas, below in our section on the movie version of The Rite.
  • Here is an abbreviated form of the Rite of Exorcism from the Roman Ritual. It was admittedly harder to find online than one might think, but Chris found it. If you would like to purchase the full ritual, you can buy it here with the full Latin and English texts, side by side.
  • Here is Fr. Vincent Lampert, Exorcist for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, being interviewed on EWTN’s World Over program with Raymond Arroyo. As mentioned in the episode, Chris saw Fr. Lampert speak at Montclair State University twice (in 2010 as a student and then with me in 2016, post-college); here is video of his lecture at Seton Hall University in 2017. Lastly, Fr. Lampert also appeared in The Making of a Modern Exorcist as an exorcist-in-training with Fr. Thomas.
  • The career of Rome’s foremost exorcist, the late Fr. Gabriel Amorth, is discussed on EWTN’s World Over program with Raymond Arroyo and The Exorcist director William Friedkin. Fr. Amorth was the author of numerous books on exorcisms–his most famous book available in English is An Exorcist Tells His Story–and was the subject of Friedkin’s 2017 documentary, The Devil and Fr. Amorth
  • Chris also mentioned the book Interview with an Exorcist: An Insider’s Look at the Devil, Demonic Possession, and the Path to Deliverance, which is exactly what it sounds like. This exorcist is Fr. José Antonio Fortea of Spain.
  • Christ mentioned how priests partake in a “black fast” before beginning the exorcist ritual. We couldn’t find an exact source for this but Matt Baglio did make a point about fasting beforehand in The Making of a Modern Exorcist.
  • Chris and I talked about this video from VICE where a reporter attended a voodoo ceremony in a basement in a Haitian neighborhood in Brooklyn. It is freaky and bizarre and also completely fascinating.

The Exorcist

  • Despit being an agnostic, William Friedkin’s 1973 adaptation is extremely faithful to the Catholic William Peter Blatty’s novel. The few changes that were made, such as nixing the book’s light-hearted coda in which Lt. Kinderman befriends Fr. Dwyer, were filmed and can be found as deleted scenes or were later added into the movie for The Version You’ve Never Seen, released in 2000. This version, which includes the infamous “spiderwalk” scene, was labeled as an Extended Director’s Cut but it’s really a Writer’s Cut.
  • Below are clips from some of the more famous scenes of the movie. If you’ve seen the movie, they really need no introduction. If you haven’t…well, what are you waiting for?
  • We love the work of RedLetterMedia (Mr. Plinkett’s Star Wars reviews and Half in the Back, in particular), but here is one of their other shows, re:View, on The Exorcist. It’s especially interesting to hear a couple of non-believers discuss a movie that they themselves admit is very powerful on a spiritual level.
  • Is the ending of The Exorcist theologically sound? Our friend Fr. Harrison Ayre from the Clerically Speaking podcast has a much different take on it than us (as well as the two other movies we discussed–spoiler: he really doesn’t like them!) Obviously, we agree to disagree, but his recent episode on The Exorcist is worth a listen for another perspective on the topic!

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

  • Here is some information on the tragic story of Annalise Michel, the German girl on which Emily Rose is based, as well as a 1977 article in The New York Times about the criminal trial that the priests faces after her death. 
  • If you are interested in learning more about the Catholic understanding of redemptive suffering and what a “victim soul” is, check out this article.
  • The creepiest scene in The Exorcism of Emily Rose involves Emily experiencing demonic visions at college during a rainstorm.

The Rite

  • As big (the only?) Once Upon a Time fans, we have to shill for one of our favorite characters, Captain Killian “Hook” Jones, played by Colin O’Donoghue. His seminarian character, Michael Kovak, is as far removed as this dashing pirate as humanly possible.
  • Here Michael Novak sees a demonic mule outside his Roman hostel. In this scene, Anthony Hopkins’s exorcist character succumbs to demonic possession himself and is eventually exorcized by Kovak. (We know, we know. Not theologically kosher. However, it’s still an emotional turn for such a deeply skeptical character and it makes sense in the world of the movie.)
  • Here is Part One of a long video interview with Fr. Gary Thomas, and here is a transcript of another interview he gave with Catholic Answers back in 2013. Once again, we can’t recommend The Making of a Modern Exorcist enough. 

Exorcist III and sequels

  • Brad Dourif is incredible as the spirit of the Gemini Killer, who (after studio involvement to make the movie closer to the original Exorcist) inhabits the body of Fr. Damian Karras, again played by Jason Miller. This dynamic doesn’t make all that much sense but it plays out extremely well due to their performances and Blatty’s atmospheric directing.
  • Speaking of atmosphere, this movie is insanely creepy. Much more so than the first movie, which is frequently labeled “the scariest movie ever made.” The opening. The confessional murder. The Grand Central dream sequence. An old lady on the ceiling. The jump scare to end all jump scares. The end exorcism
  • Here’s another recent episode of RedLetterMedia’s re:View, this one featuring Jay Bauman and Mike Stoklasa on Exorcist III. (Long story short, Mike likes III more than the first Exorcist movie, and Jay crushes my hopes for the Director’s Cut, which was recently released on Blu Ray and uses old dailies and working prints to faithfully reproduce Blatty’s shooting script before studio tampering.)
  • If you like reading dark psychological thrillers with Catholic undertones, I highly recommend Blatty’s original novel, Legion. In addition to the character of Kinderman, the book focuses on a doctor character not included in the movie. This doctor tries to contact God through audio experiments but instead contacts something…else.
  • Exorcist II: The Heretic is BAD. Really awful. A complete trainwreck. It’s widely regarded as one of the worst sequels of all time, yet Martin Scorsese has spoken positively about it. (And he can’t get behind Marvel movies? We love him, but what?)
  • We recommend viewing Exorcist: The Beginning and Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist back-to-back. Here are two articles discussing their production struggles, this 2005 IGN article and a 2017 retrospective from Bloody-Disgusting. Both movies star Stellan Skarsgard as a young Fr. Merrin, well, because they’re supposed to be the same movie.

Exorcisms in pop culture and other religions

Image credit: Composite image/FLIPP

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