Aya vs. The Big Boys

AYA VS. THE BIG BOYS: THE EXORCIST

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“The power of Saturdays being for the boys compels you!!!”

This week on AYA VS, THE BIG BOYS, a podcast about watching “boy movies” for the very first time, Kevin and Aya give in to The Devil’s temptations and fall prey to what many consider the scariest movie ever made, William Friedkin and William Peter Blatty’s THE EXORCIST, as they navigate the realms of Good and Evil during an October full of spooky Big Boys.

As always, the most direct way to support AYA VS. THE BIG BOYS is by supporting the Merry-Go-Round Patreon, but if money’s tight, we completely get it—the free option is rating, reviewing, and subscribing on whichever podcast service you fancy. Specifically, rating us on Apple Podcasts is beyond helpful. Believe it or not, a simple click can help boost our visibility. The Devil is named Ben Shapiro and one day AYA VS. THE BIG BOYS will exorcise him from the collective consciousness, even if it means throwing Kevin down a flight of stairs. That boy’s dense, he can take the hits.

Okay, let’s talk about the scariest movie ever made, and revisit perhaps the scariest review from legendary critic Pauline Kael.

“As a movie, THE EXORCIST  is too ugly a phenomenon to take lightly. Its gothic seriousness belongs to the class of those old Hearst Sunday-supplement stories about archeologists defiling tombs and the curses that befall them, and it soaks into people’s lives. A critic can’t fight it, because it functions below the conscious level. How does one exorcise the effects of a movie like this? There is no way. The movie industry is such that men of no taste and no imagination can have an incalculable influence. Blatty and Friedkin can’t muster up any feeling, even when Father Karras sacrifices himself—a modern Christ who dies to save mankind. We in the audience don’t feel bad when the saintly Father Merrin dies; we don’t even feel a pang of sympathy when the words “Help Me” appear on Regan’s body. From the mechanical-scare way that the movie works on an audience, there is no indication that Blatty or Friedkin has any feeling for the little girl’s helplessness and suffering, or her mother’s, any feeling for God or terror of Satan. Surely it is the religious people who should be most offended by this movie. Others can laugh it off as garbage, but are American Catholics willing to see their faith turned into a horror show? Are they willing to accept anything just as long as their Church comes out in a good light? Aren’t those who accept this picture getting their heads screwed on backward?”

Pauline Kael, The New Yorker, January 7, 1974

On this episode of AYA VS. THE BIG BOYS, the duo butts heads over Aya’s very first viewing of THE EXORCIST, with Kevin fully caving to the conservative Catholic dread and Aya considering the devilish proceedings a certified snoozer. They talk Nixon setting the stage for an American craving for depravity, how their parents overhyped this movie, their deepest fears (please don’t weaponize this episode against them), and explore just how badly they want to suck The Devil’’s co-

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Aya Lehman
Aya Lehman is Television Editor for Merry-Go-Round Magazine. As such she yells about MINDHUNTER on various social media platforms. Her passions include reading the writers of CRIMINAL MINDS for filth, the politics of the color pink, and Steve from STRANGER THINGS.

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