The Swinging Seventies brought us plenty of pop culture goodness: we got “Marsha Marsha Marsha!” from the Brady Bunch; porn movies with intentional bow-chicka-wow-wow music; and the cinematic stylings of Pazuzu. I know what you’re thinking: Pa—who? Pa—what? Let me put it this way: you remember that little girl who got possessed and her head turned all the way around and she was projectile vomiting pea soup while cussing the priest out? The one who really needed her ass beat? Well the demon that possessed that girl was Pazuzu and this SOB is our villain for the day.
The Exorcist debuted on the big screen in 1973 and literally changed the motion picture industry. You remember the old Frankenstein and Dracula movies? The Mummy and Abbott & Costello Meets the Wolfman and shit? Remember how they just dropped away? Blame it on that gross little girl: The Exorcist came out and put two film studios completely out of business. Seriously. It is the first horror movie to win an Oscar. Impressive for one of the grossest and most frightening movies ever made.
On the off chance you haven’t seen this movie…or accidently stumbled on a documentary about it…or wondered why there is a collective cringe when people simply mention the movie, The Exorcist tells the story of a girl named Regan MacNeil, daughter of a famous actress, who experiences some increasingly disturbing psychological issues (from peeing on the floor at her mother’s party to crab walking down the stairs backward) and paranormal phenomena (shit moving by itself and flying around the house) before she finally becomes possessed—and I mean bed jumping up and down, talking backwards, words being pressed into her stomach FROM THE INSIDE—and they have to call in the priests. Now, some of you newbies might be thinking “but that’s Paranormal Activity/Emily Rose/Haunting in Connecticut!” To which I respond: shut up, junior, before I if I slap you through the screen. Grown ups are talking. This is some different shit.
There are two priests in this movie: Father Merrin and Father Karras. Merrin is an older, grizzled priest who’s on the verge of death Karras is a younger priest who begins to doubt his faith as his mother dies. You put these two clowns in a room with a demon and all kinds of stuff happens. What makes this so incredible is the demon himself: Pazuzu has been possessing people around the world just to personally fuck with Father Merrin. Imagine that. A demon manipulating people, possessing them, ruining their lives, not so he can make their lives miserable, but so he can torment you in front of them. And he chose a priest, a demon warrior. What chance does the average individual have? Second, Pazuzu chooses to possess a little girl. Seriously, what are you gonna do with that? It’s a kid! You can’t beat on her or throw her out the window or hurt her in any way, and the demon lets you know that Regan is actually in there with him. It’s foul. And then he picks on the Doubting Thomas in the room and dogs the shit out of him, telling Your Mama jokes about his dead mom and then cursing him out in her voice.
And when it’s all over, both priests are dead (SPOILER!) and the little girl’s reputation is ruined, and a Pazuzu will go on to screw with another human being and start the process over somewhere else. It’s fucked up and Pazuzu does it because he can.
That one line is why he’s in the pantheon of awesome villains. Because he can. There’s not a whole lot more to be said.
Up next, the coldest computer you’ll ever know: HAL 9000. Say it ain’t so? I’m afraid I can’t do that, Dave.