Poster Picks: The Exorcist

Wow, a whole week went by with nary a peep from La Loba. What’s up with that? You’d think I had a life or something. Actually, I was busy pursuing that greatest of Zen mantras: Laissez les bons temps rouler.

Don’t worry…the blog post is already writing itself inside my loopy lupine brain.

However, today marks the last Friday of the great, blizzardy-white, freeze-my-paws-off month of January. This, of course, means the last of the special weekly appearance of my Poster Picks series. Guess this means that I should really start thinking about Flashback Friday again, eh?

On to the point then.

Regardless of your feelings toward the horror genre or this movie in particular, it’s relatively impossible to deny that the poster art for the 1973 classic The Exorcist is the very definition of iconic. The version that I chose to include with this post is the most stripped-down version I could find, without even the standard rundown of the performers, directors, writers, best boys, your mom, dogwalkers, company mimes, etc. All we get for text is the author of the story, the story title, and the director.

Here comes the standard font geek-out: I love sans serif and serif paired like this. In most of my own design work, I always try to stick to 2 fonts, and 9 times out of 10, it’s this kind of pairing (I don’t know why, but sans serif always delights me as the secondary font to a primary serif; gee, wonder where else I use such a pairing?). I also have a huge font-on for sans serif with “Ws” that criss-cross in the center the way this one does. Especially such a narrow sans serif. I’ve used fonts similar to this one several times. This is also a gorgeous serif font and the purple color is quite complimentary to the pea soup yellow-green tint of the image that follows.

Heh. Pea soup.

The writer-title-director combo of this poster has pretty much become the triumvirate of horror movie greatness. Blatty’s original novel continues to reign as one of the genre’s strongest offerings. The fact that he placed his story in Washington, D.C., and based it on an actual case of exorcism that occurred right in Maryland means that it gets extra coolness points from this resident of the Old Line State.

I’m delighted to say that, separate from this amazing novel, the movie stands as not only one of the greatest movies of modern horror, but constantly ranks very high on most critical and fan-created horror movie lists. To say this is a must-see of the genre is about as big an understatement as saying Dr. Crusher might be my favorite TNG character.

And who made it a must see? Friedkin. Love him, hate him, think he’s an asshole, the man made a masterpiece and, in doing so, secured his position in horror history.

Then we get that image. That glorious image that horror fans have burned into our souls (and some have etched onto their skin; actually, I’m going to have to say that Exorcist-themed tattoos might actually be scarier than the movie).

This is the movie’s defining moment. The beginning of the showdown. This is when shit gets real. This is the arrival of…The Exorcist.


He stands outside the house, so unassuming and small in that blaze of light, which drowns out any details and gives us nothing more than his silhouette. His head is tipped slightly back, letting us know that he is looking straight into that sickly glow. All he brings with him is a satchel.

Oh, and the power of Christ.

One final nerd observation: I love how the streetlamp bisects the image, leaving a distinct separation between the evil on one side and the good on its own side.

Taken out of context (and without that fierce brightness emanating from that top-floor room), this is actually quite a benign image. Nothing more than a man standing outside of a townhouse. It’s a false sense of simplicity and security that permeates this movie…that things so generic can become so traumatizing, so horrific.