The Ninth Configuration
Location: Redstone Theater
Dir. William Peter Blatty. 1980. 118 mins. DCP. With Stacy Keach, Scott Wilson, Jason Miller, Ed Flanders, Moses Gunn, Tom Atkin, Joe Spinell. In Williams Peter Blatty’s rarely revived, mind-shattering first feature, Stacy Keach headlines an impressive cast of genre character actors as an unhinged Marine psychiatrist who encourages patients in his mental hospital to act out their bizarre fantasies in order to heal themselves – and perhaps also the good doctor himself. Though met with apathy from the public during its initial release, The Ninth Configuration has since gained a cult following thanks to its singular tone, narrative ambition, thematic similarities to The Exorcist, for which Blatty won an Academy Award for adapting his own novel, and for transcending the barrier between genre and arthouse filmmaking. “A breathtaking cocktail of philosophy, eye-popping visuals, jaw-dropping pretentiousness, rib-tickling humor and heart-stopping action…Blatty directs like a man with no understanding of, or interest in, mainstream movie-making. The result is a work of matchless madness.” Mark Kermode, Sight and Sound.
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