REGAN (The Exorcist) - VHS Limited Edition

Mark Davies British Artist

  • This is an example of when you get free reign to do whatever you think is right and are trusted in your judgement! End result was an incredibly happy client!

    The original film was truly shocking, made even more so because the lead character was played by a 12 year old girl - Regan MacNeil. In keeping with not showing the main character in my work I have embraced this challenge by focusing the scene on one of Regan’s dolls and giving the characteristics of the possessed child to her doll. I have always found those old porcelain dolls to be creepy and uneasily life-like so it was the perfect route for me to create the shock factor for the piece but one that had genuine meaning and emotion. Some of the scenes from the film involving the girls’ body are horrific and I have not wimped out on approaching this and depicting this within this piece. Ultimately my aim was to create a truly scary character but who is then made more easily confronted through injecting beauty into the scene and suggesting an underlying concept.

    I have spent a good amount of time looking at the theories behind the plot and embracing the story lines for the characters in the hope that I would find something subtle that I could base my concept on and the one that struck a chord was the existence of neglect for both the priest Karras and the daughter Regan. Karras blamed tormented himself for neglecting his dying mother, a weakness picked up by Pazuzu the devil who possessed Regan and more importantly how the child herself had been neglected by her actress mother as a result of her work. This is the reason that I have set my piece up in the way that I have, showing a solitary doll sat in the darkness. However as with so much of my work and no matter how harsh and dark a piece may be I will always look to convey a sense of hope through the use of light and I have embraced this within this piece.

    The room and more importantly the doll is brought into light from an opening door, primarily to represent the Priest coming to rid Regan of Pazuzu but also as a sign that she is about to be taken out of the darkness and away from neglect, it works in the sense that the mother acknowledges the negative impact of her work and reacts in a positive way for the benefit of both Mother and Daughter. Was Regan such an easy target for the devil because she was so vulnerable through neglect?

    My aim here is to suggest this and to open up a much bigger concept where a child can become possessed in so many more ways through being shrouded in darkness and becoming vulnerable to their demons that are born purely from neglect. The scene shows the doll sat on a bed surrounded by objects that relate to the film in various ways, the piece is subtly divided into two, into dark and light. The old wooden bed frame is blackened and shows the sign of the devil burned into the surface which shows signs of cracking and it beginning the burn. Yet this is contrasted with hints of vibrant paint that signifies the happiness that should resonate from within a girls bedroom. The torn Damask wallpaper behind the bed adds to the darkness and ageing characteristics of the room, dated decor again suggesting neglect. Centrally to the bed is a small statue of Jesus nailed to his cross with head turned towards the darkness, a beaten figure, just another fallen hero. The ornate pillows feature an embroidered ‘P’ on the darker side representing Pazuzu whilst shrouded in light is a contrasting ‘R’ for Regan - portraying the girl and the devil within.

    The doll that represents Regan shows cuts to her body that relate to those shown in the film, her eyes have a hint of green to further relate whilst her mouth, dress and skin show signs of the vomit that was projected towards Karras in another one of the iconic scenes from the film, made from pea soup and oatmeal apparently! A quote from the film is scrawled onto her skin ‘You Let him f*ck you’, pretty strong stuff. The most shocking part of the film for me was to see the possessed Regan driving a crucifix into her genitalia and I have not shied away from this, it is hard to stomach but this is the Exorcist. The battle between good and evil is played out over the doll with a combination of dark smoke and beautiful lighting detail with the latter working to gloss over the horror that is laid out before you. The dominant light that shines over the doll brings with it hope and goodness and leads towards her heart, good will always triumph over evil.

    To the left of the doll as we look at it and where the shadows and darkness rule is an old wooden model of a church that has succumbed to evil, cracked wood, smoke and flames engulf the building and a sign reads ‘F*ck you Damien Karras’. In front of this are a pair of smashed glasses, those of the other Priest - Father Merrin, if you look closely you will see a hint of goodness there, with the little icons that are attracted to the glasses in the darkness. A solitary dove feather sits on the stained bed sheets in the gloom of the shadows yet there still exists light and hope surrounding it. To the right of the doll is the bible and rosary beads that burn, an upturned candlestick portraying something that should bring light and security yet with a single gesture can turn into a destructive force.

    Finally, a single rose - Regan loved her mother so much, making clay animals for her and giving her a rose at each breakfast time yet suffered neglect and hurt. All in all a very challenging subject and a great commission and brief, I am happy that I have gone for it full on without just settling to shock but to make you think and to acknowledge that all hope is not lost.

    1. Released: 2021
    2. Collection: Lost In Hollywood VHS
    3. Edition Size: 10 + 2AP
    4. Specification:
      - Hand embellished
      - Floated poster and double mount
      - Custom spray-painted frame
      - Sticker decals
      - Hand signed by artist
    5. Image Size: 8.3” x 11.7"
    6. Framed Size (Approx): 13.5” x 16.75”
    1. Get in touch for overseas delivery
    2. Please allow approximately 21 days for delivery, should you need delivery sooner please let us know.

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