The Last Exorcism's Patrick Fabian on Avoiding Comparisons to The Exorcist
07.16.10 by Ryan
Fans of HBO's Big Love know Patrick Fabian, but his face is sure to become more familiar after the highly anticipated horror movie The Last Exorcism opens in theaters next month. Shot like a documentary, the movie puts Fabian in the role of Reverend Cotton Marcus, whose faith is tested when he and a camera crew venture into a rural town to perform an exorcism on a young girl (Ashley Bell).
The camera technique is popular in horror movies lately, with movies like Paranormal Activity and [Rec] 2 employing a similar style. Fabian told Movieweb that the process allowed director Daniel Stamm to create a movie "the old fashion way" because The Last Exorcism "didn't have a budget" and "didn't have any CGI to work with here." The results, which Fabian recently witnessed during a screening at the Los Angeles Film Festival, are pretty creepy.
It was really fun to be in the audience. I got to sit back and watch as the people laughed. They laughed when they were supposed to. And then they got really scared. It got really quiet when it was supposed to as well. I thought it was a solid, scary creep-fest. It's not a hack and slash. It's not a gory thing. I think that's good. It's PG-13. But it takes that PG-13 all the way up to the edge. That's for sure.
The style of the movie may be contemporary (and necessitated by the budget), but the subject matter is something movie audiences were familiar with after William Friedkin's 1973 horror classic, The Exorcist. Fabian doesn't think that the two movies should be compared.
In making this, we did look over our shoulder. Because we weren't trying to make Exorcist II: The Heretic. The premise is that this is the last exorcism. Cotton has gone ahead and hired a documentary crew to strip away all of the BS that goes along with an exorcism. But the fact of the matter is, you can't get away from The Exorcist. I don't think anyone here was trying to top, or recreate the same punch, as The Exorcist originally had, and still has upon that first viewing. We are not in direct competition with that film at all. Also, the style of filmmaking? The style of storytelling? Its so different than the style of storytelling that we had back in 1973.
Another element that separates The Last Exorcism is the performance of Bell. Fabian gushed about his co-star.
I can't say enough about how glad I am that Ashley Bell played the possessed girl. Because she is top notch, man. If she had not come delivering the goods, the whole thing would have fallen down. But she does come delivering the goods. I have to say, I'd love to go on about the fact that I am a fantastic actor, but there is no acting involved on my part. When she is doing some of this stuff, looking the way she is looking, running around, there is no acting involved. I am seriously creeped out. I don't know what to do. That translates to the film. I can't say enough about how good this girl is.