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Sound In The Exorcist Essay

In the film “The Exorcist” the scene where Linda Blair sits up in her bed and speaks in the voice of the devil while other, almost inaudible voice also talk at the same time is a scene where sound overpowers the images. In this particular scene one is initially drawn to the timbre of the voice of the actress because being a girl, the actress speaks in a voice that resembles a throaty male. This enhances the scene by giving more authenticity to the circumstance of possession.

However, other than just the unusual timbre of the voice of the character which is due to the possession, what makes the scene more unique is the fact that while this devilish voice is delivered by the character, some three other voices are heard also coming from the character despite the fact that these voices are not in sync with the lip movement of the character. What this does is it does not just enhance the scene but it creates a separate, unseen scene in the mind of the viewer.

While the viewer watches the images presented, the other voices give the viewer the opportunity to visualize a hellish scene where other demons speak, interrupt, and argue against each other. This sound mixing technique is successful in putting in another dimension to the scene other than just what is in front of the audience and so effectively overpowers the images themselves by creating or eliciting other, imaginary scenes in the mind’s eye.

This use of sound in a motion picture is a classic example of how this particular element of filmmaking can independently function to improve the movie-viewing experience and initiate a multi-sensory perspective that is beyond common concepts of what movies are. Such ingenious use of sound simply shows that the visual elements are not the only features in a film that contribute to the general viewing experience; in fact, most of the time, sound, which is easily overlooked, has more to do with how entertaining a particular film is.

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