One of my most favourite horror films gets the screen-to-stage treatment and is on at Milton Keynes Theatre this week
Read what I thought about it here 👇🏻
Whether or not you have seen it, fear it or just unmoved by the whole thing, The Exorcist holds its own for notoriety within the horror genre and in my opinion quite rightly.
It’s my kind of horror.
A film that gets inside my head and makes me question everything from how we are wired up to the invisible forces in our universe. It doesn’t jump in front of you to scream boo, it slips inside you like a virus and infects you before you even know it.
The Exorcist film is psychological horror at its finest.
Don’t agree? Go with me a sec and block out the grotesque pea soup vomiting demon rooted inside an innocent child, yup, that’s terrifying I’ll give you that, but scares in The Exorcist come from so much more than that.
The director William Friedkin pulls us into their situation, however far apart the characters lives seem when you start the film, we are there with each of them. We watch their struggles but we feel their emotions.
It’s when you watch their lives and beliefs crumble you find the real horror, that allows the demon in the room (quite literally) to then say hey, I could actually be here. You’re all screwed.
Throw it into the mix that it’s based on true events (which it is) and suddenly The Exorcist is a cataclysmic event growing in the shadows of your own brain, getting so big it just might crush you from the inside out.
Well, the stage to screen adaption was always going to get me pining to see it and the video that’s been popping up over social media promo’ing it coming to Milton Keynes Theatre did nothing to quell the want. Look. 👇🏻
Tell me that isn’t enticing! Especially Ian McKellen chipping in as a malevolent voice, is he the demon?!
Well, the wait was over last night, it was finally time to see it.
Whatcha think I wore?
Ahh last years H&M is this years oh so appropriate. 🖤💁🏻♀️
I arrived at the theatre and sipped gin and listened to the piano man tinkering over the ghostbusters theme (😂). Someone mentioned he tried his fingers at tubular bells (theme from The Exorcist film) too, I wish I had heard!
Then it was time to take our seats.
This was the first time I have sat in a box at Milton Keynes Theatre. I was sat in Circle Box 2. Slightly side on from the stage that I am used to but I tell ya, being tucked up at the corner, in the darkness (the performance and theatre was quite dark throughout) was very atmospheric and at times isolating and creepy. EEK!
The show itself, in its adaption to the stage, has embraced a few bad horror habits that I don’t tend to get behind, like jump scares.
And Ian McKellen, not that he’s a bad horror habit but…
… Bah. He does voice the demon!
I’m not sure how I feel about that.
His voice is forever typecast as Gandalf to me and hearing some of the brutal things that he puts out there through Regan’s mouth. Well. 😱
But it isn’t all a Halloween LoTR special.
The Exorcist live on stage managed to leave its own mark on me. I can’t quite explain it.
No, it isn’t the film. Nor is it as grand, as moving or as deeply troubling as the film is, but that’s the translation from the big screen to the smaller stage, sure.
But what does happen in parts is where I was genuinely shocked, genuinely taken back by a line or an action that either wasn’t in the film version or was played slightly differently on the stage.
This is not a carbon copy of the film, nor is it trying to be.
Some memorable moments still exist on that stage. Mostly around Regan (you probably know what I mean 🤮) and I am left a bit stumped.
Am I scared or was I shocked? Or when it comes to horror, are the both so mired, do we even need to know which we are?
Like any remake or reboot or stage to screen production, don’t go and see it and expect to know it line for line and set for set.
Take in the sounds, take in the smokes, take in the anticipation and fear that you can feel in the air of the audience. Tell me you feel it?
Because what it does give you is atmosphere with the scary background sounds, the eerie music and while you’re sat in the darkness, you will hear a heart beating and you’ll think it’s yours and you won’t be able to relax.
And maybe, maybe The Exorcist will be one of the scariest things you’ve ever seen at MK Theatre.
The Exorcist is at Milton Keynes Theatre 8 – 12 October 2019.
For full transparency, tickets to the show were kindly gifted to me from Milton Keynes Theatre.