Exorcist: The Beginning

Years before Father Lancaster Merrin helped Father Damien Karras save Regan MacNeil's soul, he first encounters the demon "Pazuzu" in East Africa. This is the tale of Father Merrin's initial battle with Pazuzu and the rediscovery of his faith.

Father Lankester Merrin thinks that he has glimpsed the face of Evil. In the years following World War II, Merrin is relentlessly haunted by memories of the unspeakable brutality perpetrated against the innocent people of his parish during the War. In the wake of all the horror he has seen, both his faith in his fellow man and his faith in the Almighty have deserted him, and he can no longer honestly call himself a man of God. Merrin has traveled far from his native Holland in a desperate attempt to try to forget and escape all the evil that he had witnessed there. While currently in Cairo, Egypt, he is approached by a collector of rare antiquities and asked to participate in a British archeological excavation in the remote Turkana region of Kenya. They have unearthed something extraordinary and unusual...a Christian Byzantine church dating from the 5th century, long before Christianity arrived in East Africa, and in inexplicably perfect condition--like it had been buried immediately after it was completed. The collector wants Merrin, an Oxford-educated archeologist, to find an ancient relic hidden within the church before the British do. Interested, Merrin agrees to take the job. But beneath the church, something much older and malevolent sleeps, waiting to be awoken. When the archeologists start excavating, strange things begin occuring, and the local Turkana tribesmen who were hired to work refuse to enter the site. Things only get worse and worse, ultimately resulting in madness and death. Merrin watches helplessly as the atrocities of war are repeated against another innocent village--atrocities he had hoped and prayed never to see again. The blood of innocents flows freely on the East African plain, but the horror has only just begun. In the place where Evil was born, Merrin will finally see its true face.

andrejtu

Factual error: In the very beginning of the film, the priest is walking through a battlefield that contains the bodies of Roman soldiers (they are wearing distinctive Roman uniforms and armor), which dates the battle no later than 6th century AD. He is holding a rosary in his hand, but the rosary wasn't introduced into the Catholic Church until the 13th century.

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Trivia: Stellan Skarsgard, at age 53 when filming this movie, is nearly a decade older than Max von Sydow was at the time of filming the original movie (age 44), but is playing a younger version of the character.

Macalou

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Question: When first entering the church, Father Francis wonders about the weapons depicted pointing down. What is the significance of where the weapons are pointing?

Answer: Weapons on statues in conventional churches point upwards in veneration. The weapons here are pointing downwards in an offensive gesture.

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