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The Catholic horror genre.

The Catholic horror genre. (photo)

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Being unreasonably easy to scare, I’m a soft touch when it comes to horror movies and basically refuse to have anything to do with them at this point, but “The Exorcist” is one movie that’s never bugged me. But it has scared the hell (heh) out of every Catholic I know; it’s the rare horror movie (theoretically) deriving its scares from the potential of blasphemy instead of either creepy atmosphere or sudden jolts. So it’s bemusing that William Peter Blatty and William Friedkin may go back to the well once more, rejiggering the original “Exorcist” as a miniseries.

This seems silly and pointless — the “Exorcist” franchise has been revisited a ridiculous amount of times already, and pretty much every installment beside the original was a flop. The franchise returned $459 million on a total investment of $450 million. It’s hard to see why a miniseries would make more sense.

There’s a surprising number of Catholic-themed horror movies out there, but “The Exorcism” is singular for taking — in its own trashy way — Catholic values at face value. Most horror movies with religious elements tend to mix-and-match principles indiscriminately — take the theologically incoherent “Stigmata” or this year’s wretched “The Unborn” (a lobotomized mixture of Jewish mythology and Judeo-Christian joint exorcism) — or use church ritual as just another genre trope, the same as the haunted house up the hill or the deserted lakeside cabin.

“The Exorcist” takes its religious elements seriously, which is why it scared its target audience so. It’s also what made it super-controversial and raised hackles in a way that seems impossible to replicate: who’d really build a secular-ish horror movie now around the jolt of blasphemy? Even the recent “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” found it necessary to detour into the courtroom and try to arbitrate the “truth” of possession, a necessary move for an ever-more-skeptical age.

Also noted: these days, the evangelical market is not above incompetently trying to make its own religious “horror movies.” Witness the majesty that is “C Me Dance”:

[Photo: “The Exorcist,” Warner Bros. Pictures, 1973]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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