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The Exorcist

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When It Gets too Real

So before I begin with this little story, allow me to introduce myself. I am a simple college student who, due to some mysterious workings of a demon, had to spend five years at school when I could have easily graduated in four. But I digress. Anyways, I was raised in a fairly conservative Christian home (even at 21, my parents still think me having alcohol in the house is a sin. (Don't worry, I have a private stash which I'm currently downing now so that I have the guts to retell this memory). I also went to private Christian schools from 3rd grade until 12th grade, after which I went to a public university.

The reason I bring this up is because I, from a very early age, was taught to believe that demons were actually real and tried to ruin our physical world. Then, when I was a freshman in college, I saw the infamous movie "The Exorcist" on Spike TV, of all places, running from 2am-4:30am one night when my parents were on a weekend vacation of sorts. I was IMMEDIATELY fascinated by this movie, and decided I wanted to get my hands on a copy of it so I could show my little brother how awesomely scary and amazing I thought this movie was.

Fast forward a few months after the fateful viewing on Spike, I bought a copy of "The Exorcist" while I was out shopping with my now ex-girlfriend. When I got home I tried to force my brother to watch it. Now, anybody who has paid close attention to a movie, especially after it for the first time, will notice little details about the scenery, or something seemingly trivial that actually has a huge impact on your viewing and will make re-watching a movie a much more...deep experience; I mean, there is really no other way to describe it.

This is what happened to me when I watched my freshly bought copy (this was not a used copy, I made sure of it) of "The Exorcist." I finally noticed all of the moments in the movie when "its" face flashed onscreen. What do I mean by "it", you ask? Everyone who has seen the movie will know what I am referring to, but in case you do not know, allow me to fill you in: The protagonist's daughter has, throughout the beginning of the movie, been playing with a Ouija board and had befriended this "Captain Howdy" fellow.

The daughter begins acting very strangely and while she is a hospital for the first round of "treatments" to cure her "psychosis" or whatever the dialogue said, you see very briefly a flash of a face of someone, or rather, something. I will never forget what this face, presumably the face of the "Captain Howdy" entity looked like. It was an older man, maybe in his 50s or 60s, and his skin was incredibly pale. His teeth were jagged, bent in all sorts of directions, and his lips were red. He looked like a nasty vampire who has just snacked on a victim and was ready to go on a rampage. His face flashed into the movie multiple times, usually right before something "demonic" happened in the house or to this poor little girl.

Sorry for the tangent, I just wanted to fill everyone in on the fact that I finally noticed all the times in the movie where this thing's face appeared and I know I had never noticed it when I first saw the movie. Now my brother, while we were watching this at like 1am, was drifting off to sleep, and I kept pausing and rewinding the DVD to get him to wake up and acknowledge what was going on in the movie.

Naturally, he just shrugged it off and went back to sleep, while I continued to watch in utter awe. Now, this particular copy of "The Exorcist" contained an additional scene in the very beginning of the movie which explains a scene that occurs very late into the movie. I am being very vague because I do not want to spoil it for everyone. The point is that seeing that extra scene and re-watching this whole movie made it click in a way that I have never understood another movie, and probably never will.

Actually...I lied in that last bit. I never got to finish watching the movie in its fullness ever again. How, you may ask? Simple: Once the climax of the story had taken place and the movie was wrapping up (there were about five minutes left on the DVD) the screen suddenly cut out, went blue, and a dialogue box appeared saying:

"The DVD in this disk reader is unreadable, ejecting disk now"

I was livid, how could a brand new DVD that I just watched for the time be completely unreadable!? Well once the DVD player ejected the disk, I in my nerd-rage stomped across my living room to examine the physical state of the DVD. I kind of regret it in hindsight.

The DVD, on the back side, was totally scratched up beyond recognition. Imagine, if you will, that you have a pet animal that has claws of some kind, and your pet has just scratched up your favorite music CD or DVD; that's what this disc looked like. But since I have no pets, I was racking my brain for an answer. Eventually I concluded that since I had paused and back tracked throughout the movie trying to spot all of the times in the movie when "its" face flashed on screen, I figured the constant rewinding and forwarding has caused the DVD to get messed up. While I was disappointed at my loss of money and of a great horror movie, I decided that the matter was all done with, and I moved on.

Later that year I was at a family party and talking to one of my many uncles at a huge extended family reunion, and I mentioned what had happened to my DVD. I laughed and said something along the lines of, "Well, that's what I get for fiddling around with the rewind and fast forward options too much haha."

Now before I continue, I must tell you that my uncle had drunk a bit of wine by this point. He is not an alcoholic by any means, but normally he is not a conversationalist.

Alcohol brings him out of his shell and makes him a bit of a...non-stop chatterbox. By this point in the night, he had maybe 4 or 5 glasses of wine and was very chatty. However, when I mentioned my little incident, he got very silent and a look of concern spread across his face. Me, in confusion, asked him, "Did I ruin my disc, uncle?" He replied by telling me that DVD players read discs by running a laser along them, and translating all of the lines on a DVD into images we see on TV screens. He then told me that what had happened to my copy of "The Exorcist" should not have been a result of my rewinding and fast forwarding the movie at all.

Needless to say I was a bit freaked out. I have never tried watching that copy of "The Exorcist"; for two reasons: 1) I never had time to try it when my family is around to see what happens with me, and 2) I am legitimately terrified of what I will see if the thing actually does manage to play.

That, dear reader, is my personal account of a run-in with a DVD that scared me to the bone. If anybody wants to see the DVD, let me know. I can try to take a picture that shows how badly scratched up this thing is; and I'll upload it here so you guys can offer me your input on what you think really happened.

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