From speaking his mind in interviews, talking passionately about the film industry or even peddling rumours of a cursed set on The Exorcist, Hollywood Director William Friedkin has always had a way with words, so it’s understandable there’s intrigue surrounding the release of his memoir. The book is titled The Friedkin Connection and was released today. (I had hoped to provide a review but my advanced copy didn’t arrived in time. I look forward to reading it!)
Friedkin has been promoting the book this week, including online interviews and personal appearances. I’ve pasted some of The Exorcist-related highlights below.
LA Weekly asked: The French Connection won the Oscar and The Exorcist didn’t, but The Exorcist became a part of American pop culture. Why?
William Friedkin: It resonates with people on a far deeper level because it deals with the mystery of faith. French Connection is a good thriller, a damn good story with interesting characters, but Exorcist is about the mystery of life and faith. Even atheists are interested in that.
The Huffington Post asked: “The Exorcist” is one of my favorite films ever, and I think it’s fascinating that you say you never set out to make a horror film.
William Friedkin: We knew it would be disturbing. Demonic possession and exorcism — that’s not your average Adam Sandler movie. But [“The Exorcist” novelist and screenwriter William Peter] Blatty and I never spoke about it being a horror film. We talked about it being a film about the mystery of faith. When it first started to come out that critics and viewers saw it as a horror film, and a great horror film, we both went through a rationalization, which was that it’s one way of dealing with it. Just dismiss it as a horror film.
But if you examine what it’s really about — while it is disturbing — so is the whole idea of Christianity! Beginning with the immaculate birth and then the crucifixion, all of those are beyond most people’s ability to comprehend. And then the resurrection — that’s the basis for a horror film! But Blatty and I accept that people view it as a horror film. OK, it runs every Halloween somewhere. And on October 30, there’s going to be a new version of it that will premiere at the Smithsonian.
The version Friedkin speaks of is a new digital print being used on the 40th Anniversary Blu-ray, due for release around the same time (Halloween).
Personally, I found The Huffington Post interview, conducted by Michael Hogan, a great read as Friedkin seemed to really be off the cuff. He once again crushed every Exorcist sequel without hesitation:
“…there isn’t one sequel to “The Exorcist” that’s worth a bucket of warm spit. “The Exorcist 2″ is one of the worst films I’ve ever seen. It’s terrible. I find it worse than terrible; I find it disgusting.”