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More Points of You: Part Two

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Mark Kermode | 12:30 UK time, Friday, 16 January 2009

The true story of the spider walk scene in The Exorcist, and the men who made it happen...

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  • Comment number 1.

    Hi :)

    Yes Darabont,s Mist is brillant and what a wonderful dark ending, but the darkest ending of last year?
    I am not so sure about that, I believe that
    " Eden Lake's " ending could easily give " The Mist" a run for its money in the darkest film finale of 2008.

  • Comment number 2.

    Doesn't the 'Version You've Never Seen' contain that dumb-as-nuts ending where they break the mood completely by having Lee J Cob talking about Wuthering Heights, or something?

  • Comment number 3.

    I've always been a fan of Exorcist III, and would love to see the 'original' Blatty cut. Best of luck on your quest Mark!

  • Comment number 4.

    Friedkin messing with the various DVD releases of The Exorcist was only the beginning of his descent into madness, perfectly demonstrated by his recent ruination of 'The French Connection' Blu Ray release.

    Friedkin has decided, in his infinite wisdom, to radically change the look of the film for it's high definition release, by choosing to modify the colour timing in such a way as to completely destroy the look of the film.

    The 'pastel colouring' technique looks utterly ridiculous, and leaves us with a smearing mess of a print.

    His reason for said destruction "I wanted to give the film the grubby look I originally envisioned"


    The bad news for Mark is that he promises to do the same with the forthcoming release of 'The Exorcist' which will no doubt have the good doctor weeping when he sees it.

    I'd be interested to hear what Mark has to say about such meddling, years down the line, and also his opinion on the new high-definition home formats and whether he has bought into the technology yet.

  • Comment number 5.

    Hi Mark,

    I was wondering where i could see your Salo documentary 'Fade to Black' without having to buy the DVD. I'm not being cheap, i just didn't like the film but am interested in your thoughts on it.


  • Comment number 6.

    Hi Mark,

    Another excellent film which has been completely overlooked by the masses is Shotgun Stories. In fact I'd go as far as saying that it's not only an overlooked gem but the BEST film of 2008. It's an austere, slow-burning and beautifully shot thriller with hints of Malick in its delivery and a screenplay that is filled to the brim with Shakespearean tragedy. Perhaps you'd consider it for the Kermode Awards?

  • Comment number 7.

    Regarding the film that said over 14's must be accompanied by children, I do know that the poster for 'Thunderbirds Are Go' (1966) reads "Adults Over 16 Should Be Accompanied By Children". Does this help?

  • Comment number 8.

    Mark, I would like to know you're opinion on one of my favourite movies of all time - Dumb And Dumber. I really don't think film gets the credit it deserves. I believe comedy is the hardest genre to get right and I can pick very few flaws out of this movie, I don't know anyone who dislikes it. I would also be curious to know would you agree that comedy is the hardest genre to get right and if you don't, what genre do you think is?


  • Comment number 9.

    Great ending to this weeks vodcast Mark, nice and witty :-D.

    I happen to prefer the Extended Cut, the spiderwalk scene is the scariest thing about the entire film.

    That said all the really dodgy Lucasesque CGI additions are really grating. I wouldn't object so much but they're really shoddily done.


    Which reminds me, what do you think of Lucas constantly tinkering with his films and which version of the original Star Wars trilogy do you like best?

  • Comment number 10.

    I have the Extended Cut Exorcist too and annoyingly Warner decided to remove all extras from it (adding in a new commentary).

    Meaning I cannot check out the Fear of God documentary (so crucially the alternate Spider walk scene) as it's not on this version of the DVD and instead is on the original 25th Anniversary DVD.


  • Comment number 11.

    Couple of points Mark.

    Why do the UK get the cut version of the Fear of God documentary on the Exorcist DVD? The BBFC have both cuts listed and rated at '15' with no cuts.

    Secondly, do you know whats happening about The Road? I cannot wait to see it as John Hillcoats previous film, The Proposition, is one of the best films of the last 10 years. I remember it being touted as a possible Oscar contender but it seems to be having problems being released. Do you know anything about it?

  • Comment number 12.

    I just get the message "This content doesn't seem to be working. Try again later." Part One works fine - did you get censored?

  • Comment number 13.

    Very interesting. Thanks for the insight.

  • Comment number 14.

    Hi Mark. I was fascinated to hear the story behind the 'Spider-Walk' and it got me thinking about the great 'WHAT IF's' in cinema. For example:
    1. WHAT IF Billy Idol had played 'The Terminator' as Cameron originally intended?
    2. WHAT IF Friedkin had used Tangerine Dream to score 'The Exorcist' and omitted Tubular Bells? (I read that Friedkin said had he been aware of Tangering Dream at that time, he would have used them.)
    3. WHAT IF Alejandro Jodorowsky's version of 'Dune' hadn't been scrapped in pre-production and had actually been made?

    I'd be very interested in hearing what you think is the most intriguing 'WHAT IF...? in cinema history.

  • Comment number 15.

    One night, on my way to my friend's house, I noticed that in the sitting room of one of his neighbours, there hung a huge painting of the demon that briefly flashes up during The Excorcist!

    What kind of weirdo would have that hanging in their sitting room?!

    Needless to say my pace quickened considerably after seeing that painting.

  • Comment number 16.

    Dear Dr K, Can I by means of your blog site draw attention to a very important film related news story? Some of you may or may not be aware that Sleddale Hall, the house used for Crow Cragg in Withnail and I is being sold off by United Utilities. (I am enclosing a link to their website below) -

    At the moment the place is in a terrible state, and is very dilapidated. It would be great if a Withnail fan bought it and restored it. However, I do worry that someone will buy it and then demolish it. Many Withnail and I pilgrims visit the house each year, and it would be a shame if this couldn't continue. Maybe this could be an item on the Culture Show Mark?

  • Comment number 17.

    Hi Mark,

    How come on the BBC website, you don't have a review for one of my favourite films ever, Sunshine. It's a brilliant sci-fi film directed by Britain's own Danny Boyle, so surely you must'nt have missed it.

  • Comment number 18.

    to NeonmanCarpool:

    Mark gave his opinion of 'Sunshine' on the same show that Danny Boyle was on to talk to Simon Mayo about it, back in March 07. Mark only talked briefly via a telephone, but he loved 'Sunshine', calling it "a great piece of work". The actual 5Live review, however, was by Andrew Collins sitting in for Mark, and if I remember he wasn't too impressed with the film. But then, who cares? He's not Mark Kermode! BTW: I loved 'Sunshine' too.

  • Comment number 19.

    I'm rather overwhelmed by having my question answered during one of the Good Doctor's videos! For not having been aware about the Ninth Configuration DVD commentary at the time of my earlier question, I'll make a promise to track it down and buy a copy as an (enjoyable!) penance!

    As he was introduced in the video I'd also like to take the opportunity to thank Mr Jones for his overall work in bringing films to a wide television audience. I was someone old enough to remember his name in the end credits of those Alex Cox Moviedrome introductions and 1995s Forbidden Weekend amongst others!

    Usually I scoff at attempts at moral issues, which in Hollywood films often seems to go hand in hand with mawkish sentimentality. However I was surprised to find myself greatly enjoying The Shawshank Redemption and felt the film perfectly balanced the darkness with an earned sense of, well, redemption!

    I'm not ashamed to admit that I well up at the ending every time I see it!

    I felt that Darabont's film also beautifully built upon the short story in Stephen King's Different Seasons collection. I was wondering what Mr Kermode's opinion of the other film to come from that collection, Apt Pupil by Bryan Singer, was? Personally I felt that the film adaptation pulled its punches somewhat ending up as a less interesting film than its source material, especially when compared to another film which tackled similar subject matter, In A Glass Cage.

  • Comment number 20.

    Actually, Andrew Collins really liked Sunshine, so fair play to him. It's a great film, with one of the best scores ever written - which, typically, then couldn't be released for two years because (according to Danny Boyle) Underworld fell out with John Murphy over who would get what on the royalty front.

    Of course, just because Andrew Collins liked Sunshine doesn't necessarily make him a great arbiter of taste. He also liked the Sex And The City movie.

    Which leads to a curious thought. Over the last three Mark has spent the last three weeks absolutely lambasting James King for having the temerity to express a liking for Role Models - a film Mark says is "average." But Andrew Collins' glowing praise for Sex And The City - and we all know what Mark thinks of Sex And The City - was never commented on! Clearly Andrew knows some dark secret that allows him to get away with it - one would have thought Mark would have banned him from ever appearring on the show again!

    One final point - interestingly, you can't listen to the archive of Andrew's review on the BBC website. I wonder if Mark insisted they take it down to prevent future generations stumbling on a positive review of the film under his name...

  • Comment number 21.

    CGI; i make an ecception for the use in this kind of horror film and in the way it is put to use.

    yet my favorite subgenres of horror, being anything zombie related and ye old slashers, my all time favorite being romeros dawn'. yet i dispise how CGI is ruining death scenes throughout the recent additions to these subgenres, and to ruin the deathscenes is to remove a vital piece of what makes these kind of films. Sure a film can be great, even in these blood thirsty genres, without much violence, but an excellent film of this type can be made even better with shed loads of gore in, and lets not get started on the primitive nature of cinema AND our i getting carried away?
    basically what to pull from this is that CGI ruins many scenes in modern horror, the very scenes that are usually pivotal in the way they are what you leave the cinema (or sofa) with.

    In relation to this subject, i cant help but notice you have not reviewed or touched on the SAW series, which has, like a good little horror series, degraded into a pile of garbage, leaving the original reigning supreme as as heavily underrated (by you) film.
    Your opinion??

  • Comment number 22.


    I am Ryan - I run, officially sanctioned by Bill Blatty (we converse occasionally via e-mail). A friend of mine (whom you have spoken to, I believe) is currently gathering various data (some from Bill himself) for a book titled "The Exorcist III: From Concept To Novel To Screen". We are PRAYING that we uncover the original footage. We have had some leads thus far, but nothing concrete as yet.

    In any case, I just posted this story on the main page of both and If you read this comment and get the chance, please sign up at the forum over there and give your thoughts on the whole situation:



  • Comment number 23.

    I thought The Mist was not only rubbish, but I really hated the idea that if you're in some strange apocolyptic situation, your best bet is to just sit back and let the government come and save you. Give me the George A Romero "no-one's gonna save you" thing any day. I suppose I should also say that I don't see what's wrong with watching robots fighting. It may be trash, but films like Transformers and, while I'm on it, Alien vs Predator 2 would be better if they just scrapped the human story full stop and just had what I want to see: robots fighting robots, aliens fighting predator/alien hybrids.

  • Comment number 24.



  • Comment number 25.

    Dear Dr. Kermode,
    Having given good reviews in the past to Shawshank, The Green Mile and The Mist, I was wondering what your opinion is The Majestic, which seems to have been slated by everyone else. Is it the case that Frank Darabont is only good when working with Stephen King? Not that that's a bad thing - in my opinion The Green Mile is the third greatest film ever made (being Blade Runner and A Clockwork Orange)


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