Who Knew, Pazuzu?


The Exorcist
Reviewed by James

Much has been written about the genre-defining, horror film The Exorcist over the years, but what would have happened if Violet Beauregarde played spider-walking Regan MacNeil?

William Peter Blatty’s iconic novel-turned-screenplay, directed by William Friedkin, had its usual share of swaps and changes in pre-production. The Warner Bros production was originally offered to numerous directors from Mike Nichols to Stanley Kubrick, before settling on Friedkin at Blatty’s insistence. But it is the cast I find the most hilarious when you consider what might have been, for a film that continues to hold audiences agog and frequently lands atop “the scariest movies of all time” lists.

Jane Fonda or Shirley MacLaine as Chris MacNeil rather than the lesser know Ellen Burstyn! Yes, they were considered. Barbarella may have kicked Pazuzu’s arse, but Shirl claims to be possessed herself already, right?!? Hardly a vision of modern American strength for a dear little demon girl to call Mom.  Marlon Brando as Father Merrin and Jack Nicholson as Farther Karras! Ha! I find it’s ludicrous to consider the outcomes if studios were to get their way across numerous films when their focus is always drawn to the known star. But it is the choice of Denise Nickerson who played Violet Beauregarde 2 years prior in the beloved 1971 version of Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, that is the most ridiculous. From candy canes and chocolate to pea green vomit and excrement. Apparently the only reason why this travesty didn’t occur is due to her parents thinking better of it. Why? I have no idea. Demonic possession. Masturbating with a crucifix. The necessity to say, “lick me”, on any occasion, to her own Mother…  Praise Jesus she became an accountant in the end.

 So Linda Blair found her place in history. The Drew Barrymore of L.A. before ET. Drinking and drugging her way into celebrity life before she hit sweet sixteen. I do find it inspired to read she now has her own Western-themed clothing line and is the author of some book about a vegetarian sausage. In certain suburbs, they may refer to that as “balance” in the twilight of life in the spotlight. But with such a pedigree, is a guest role on Supernatural the only accolade left??? What happened? After all, she did play one of THE most recognized villains in cinematic history?

 Then again, I guess Robert Englund hasn’t been considered for a role in any James Cameron flick of late. Avatar 6 perhaps? You know it’s coming.

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