After months of closures, there are only days left until cinemas can finally begin opening again across the UK – ready to welcome in socially-distanced moviegoers for all kinds of fresh cinematic adventures. As we prepare to re-enter the multiplexes, arthouses, independents and more, Empire presents a series of essays from the Greatest Cinema Moments Ever issue, featuring Hollywood’s finest opening up about about their most memorable big-screen experiences. Here’s Spike Lee on seeing The Exorcist and more.
I’m gonna date myself, but I remember standing on line in ten degrees for two hours to see The Exorcist at the Paramount Theater, which is no longer here. People were freezing. This was the place to see it in New York, right there on Columbus Circle. When Linda Blair’s head started turning around, people were screaming. This was when I was in high school.
I waited on line to see Alien, too. When that thing jumped out of my man’s chest, people went berserk. I was too young to see Psycho in the theatre, but I remember specifically The Exorcist and Alien. There was none of that “order your ticket in advance”. They weren’t playing the movie on nine screens. We weren’t there yet. There were one-screen theatres and your ass had to wait on line, and you were happy to wait on line because you knew you were about to see some shit. Those are the films where you can feel the electricity, the energy in the theatre.
Originally published in Empire's March 2021 issue.