FEARnet is running a marathon of The Exorcist series on Sunday, and I had a chance to briefly talk with Linda Blair about the movie and her charity efforts. Continue reading to find out why she thinks The Exorcist is still popular after all these years, how you can help with her animal rescue work, and learn what types of horror movies she prefers:
Thank you for taking the time to talk to me today. The Exorcist is approaching its 40th anniversary and there's a marathon coming up this weekend to celebrate it.
Linda Blair: It is the 40th anniversary of The Exorcist and I know that the audience will enjoy the marathon on Sunday. I think there is a great love for this film, due to its intellectual level. Whether everyone realizes it or not, they are watching something more intelligent with this movie. It's not mundane... they are always seeing something new, or they are showing it to someone who hasn't seen it. Either way, there is great entertainment, and it's a movie that can provide intellectual nourishment.
This particular weekend, they are showing The Exorcist, The Exorcist II, The Exorcist III that was directed by Bill Blatty, and then the prequels. It's a celebration of the movies, and FEARnet is honoring my career and humanitarian efforts.
So much of horror tends to focus on blood and gore over a slow build these days. Are you surprised that people are still being introduced to this movie for the first time and are finding it scary?
Linda Blair: What do you mean that people haven't seen this movie??? I'm just kidding... [laughs] I talk to many fans in their 20s through their 60s. That's a huge age group, and that's because people are showing it to their kids. Then the kids grow up and show their kids. Everyone knows and talks about the movie. I have people who say they are huge horror fans because their parents made them watch the movie. Some people just don't have the same connection to fear and they enjoy it.
As you well know, The Exorcist continues to top the lists of best and scariest horror movies. So many teens still compare it to movies they see in the theater, saying "it wasn't as scary as The Exorcist." Why do you think the movie still has massive appeal after all these years?
Linda Blair: It's an extremely intelligent film and it's different. People have tried to master and recreate it, and they haven't been able to. The special effects were ahead of their time. You can't do this movie with computer generated special effects without the audience being disappointed in some way. I believe that when you work hard on something, you're going to leave a mark.
I am spiritually inclined, I have studied different forms of religion, and found what my comfort level is. I don't believe you have to go to a building to follow your spiritual journey, and I think that the film just makes people think about religion in different ways. I don't think everyone realizes why they are drawn to this movie.
Do you feel that The Exorcist has helped people ask more questions about their faith?
Linda Blair: I don't think people ask enough questions. They need to, but people are going to do what they are going to do.... I give my 100% to charity, as you know. People need to give to the community and be more aware. I've listened to some of the Sunday preachers and there are some good ones on the air that will tell you how to live your life better and find answers within yourself. You can get involved in your community.
For our readers who are not aware of your work with animals, can you tell us about the WorldHeart Foundation?
Linda Blair: When I was young, I knew I needed to do something with animals. My career became larger than life. In my 20's, I said I've done everything that I've been asked, but what about my journey? It just started to fall into place and I got involved with animal welfare.
My foundation was started so that I can do what I can to make a difference and I do it every single day. We need more volunteers, we need more help, but I'm one of the largest dog rescues. I had no intention of that, and just thought I was doing a good thing and would continue on my forward path of educating. Right now we're in dire need of more help, so I can try to make a bigger difference in the world.
If any of our readers are interested in helping, what can they do? Do you need volunteers from anywhere in the country?
Linda Blair: Some of my best people are not in LA. I believe there are charities that exist for people in different places, but it depends on what you can bring to the table. I have people in Florida and Boston. Nobody has to be in the same place anymore, because of the technology, but you have to bring your smarts.
I wanted to finish up with one more horror-related question. Many horror fans love and are scared by The Exorcist, but what are some of your favorite horror movies? What scared you?
Linda Blair: I still like the old movies. I really love to watch the old black and white horror movies. I love Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Wolfman, and I don't think I'll ever change. I just really enjoy them, because I know it's just a monster and it's not really going to get you [laughs].
To learn more about Linda Blair's WorldHeart Foundation, visit: http://www.lindablairworldheart.org/
FEARnet's marathon of The Exorcist series starts on Sunday. We've included details below and you can learn more at the official FEARnet website.
"For the first time ever, a TV network is consecutively airing all films, prequels and sequels, associated with The Exorcist franchise. One of the most significant genre films ever made, the Academy Award®-winning movie celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. In that time, it has spawned two sequels and two prequels, which FEARnet presents back-to-back starting at 2 p.m. ET/ 11 a.m. PT on February 17.
The original head-spinning classic The Exorcist stars Linda Blair as Regan MacNeil, a young girl possessed by the demon Pazuzu, and Max von Sydow and Jason Miller as the priests who try to save her. Next, is Exorcist II: The Heretic at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT, picking up four years later, with Regan’s (Blair) recent hypnotherapy sessions revealing that Pazuzu still lives within her.
Exorcist III follows at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, starring George C. Scott as Lieutenant Kinderman, investigating a series of murders similar to those of the Gemini Killer (Brad Dourif), who has been dead for 15 years. Then, it’s Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT, Paul Schrader’s vision of Father Merrin’s (Stellan Skarsgård) days in Kenya, where an ancient Byzantine church causes an outbreak of madness in the camp, leading Merrin to his first encounter with Pazuzu. The evening closes with Exorcist: The Beginning at 12 a.m. ET/9 p.m. PT, Renny Harlin’s version which places Father Merrin (Skarsgård) in the ruins of a subterranean Satanic temple, where he must save a woman possessed by Pazuzu."