With this holiday weekend coming to a close, I decided to kick back and watch some different movies I found on Shudder over the past few days. One of the more interesting ones comes from writer William Peter Blatty, of Exorcist fame. While this one did not deal with demonic possession, it did deal with a disturbing subject matter. That movie is the 1980 cult classic The Ninth Configuration.
Plot/ A new commanding officer arrives at a remote castle serving as an insane asylum for crazy and AWOL U.S. Army soldiers where he attempts to rehabilitate them by allowing them to live out their crazy fantasies while combating his own long-suppressed insanity.
When I saw this one on Shudder, I had no idea what to expect. What I found was extremely different from anything that I could have imagined coming from the mind of Blatty. The Ninth Configuration is a subtle mixture of comedy, horror, and drama that makes for an entertaining evening. Completely different from The Exorcist, this movie offers an interesting and intelligent look at mental illness and creates a narrative that is a valuable tool for understanding. The cast is tremendous, the performances solid, and the storyline offers many different angles into the mindset of the characters. Yes, some of it does feel dated at times, but that is really not a problem, as the overall power of the message comes through clearly. In the end, this is an underrated gem, and a movie that must be seen. Sure, it is not a mindless entry and it will require some thought while viewing but that is perfectly fine with this one. Check it out!