I believe in Ellen Burstyn

Actress Ellen Burstyn … born December 7, 1932, in Detroit, Michigan


I have difficulty suspending my disbelief in horror movies. That difficulty tends to increase with the size of the monster and with the amount of money spent on special effects. And that difficulty increases exponentially if the viewer’s horror is dependent upon religious beliefs that enjoyed their salad days during The Inquisition.

Here comes the Devil or one of his best buds? He’s inside a little girl? The girl’s head swivels all the way around, she vomits pea soup, and  speaks in the voice of a chain-smoking, Oscar-winning actress by the name of Mercedes McCambridge? You want me to suspend my disbelief for that?

No problem. Hire Ellen Burstyn. Her bright, fierce, bitchy, loving, utterly real performance as Chris MacNeil, mother of the pea-soup spewer, is the only reason The Exorcist (1973) held me, that I was able to go with its silly curdled Catholicism for even one minute. If Chris believed, so did I.

Ellen Burstyn turns 83 today and is still going strong.

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