For example, William Friedkin's The Exorcist was a flick that played theatrically at a time wherein I wouldn't have made the age limit to see it on the silver screen; so it wasn't until the advent of a home video release that I and my teenage buddies could watch it. Naturally, it was a bit taboo still for the era -- we were old enough to 'know better' but it was a feature parents still encouraged us to avoid -- so we couldn't help ourselves. We picked it up at the corner video mart, took it home, and watched it on a Saturday afternoon, I believe it was.
I say this a lot -- which is one reason so many fans of Horror struggle with my reviews and such -- but it just didn't scare me. Oh, it was viscerally interesting here and there, but I don't think the teenage youth in me at the time saw it as all that possible, and that's why I was probably as unmoved as I was.
Anyway, I recently had the opportunity to rewatch it, and -- as a (cough cough) somewhat mature adult -- I enjoyed it far more than I did back in the day. Friedkin's pacing was quite good, and he definitely got some good performances out of the screen talent. It's easy to understand why the film has endured across the decades ... but, no, it still just didn't scare me. Impressed me? Oh, sure. Scared me? Nah. Still a bit too tame.
There's no denying the director's artistic clout. He brought a very stylized approach to things he captured in front of the camera, and I'd argue that his "Nightcrawlers" episode of the mid-1980's incarnation of The Twilight Zone is still one of the finer frights ever captured for the small screen. (It's available on video, that I know if, and I give it a thumbs up.) Essentially, it takes the basic narrative structure of First Blood (1982) and gives it a decidedly Rod Serling twist; suffice it to say, I'm surprised this one actually got to air on broadcast television without there being a ruckus. Who knows? Maybe there was, and I was still too young and uninvolved to notice.
Alas, none of us lasts forever, and word reached the SciFiHistory.Net news desk just this morning of the director's passing. Without a doubt, his record is astonishing -- clearly, he was one of the more decorated storytellers of his era -- and I encourage folks to check it out over on IMDB.com. You'll no doubt be impressed by his pedigree.
Thoughts, prayers, and well wishes are extended to the family, friends, and fans of William Friedkin. May he forever rest in peace.