Classic 1970s movie The Exorcist and new horror hit The Last Exorcism both feature reluctant exorcists dealing with crazy teenage girls. But there's one key difference between the movies that reveals how America has changed since 1972.
In The Last Exorcism, the "evil" comes from the heart of Louisiana. In this clip you can see the exorcist, Cotton, and his documentary film crew on their way to the home of the possessed girl. On the way, they ask a local boy for directions and get a full dose of his backwoods fury:
Earlier, Cotton has been telling the camera that rural Louisiana is a breeding ground for superstition because of ignorance and poverty. The implication seems to be that something is just plain evil about Louisiana.
The Exorcist locates its source of evil in Northern Iraq. A long opening sequence in the film brings a European archaeologist/priest to a tomb in that country, where he digs up an effigy of Satan under the watchful eyes of his Muslim cohorts.
This dog-faced demon is somehow the catalyst that sets young Regan's head-spinning, Lucifer-loving action in motion, back in Georgetown, USA.
Both movies are about the Satanic evil that possesses young women. And I think it's fair to say that both movies suggest the source of that evil is a stereotypically exotic, violent, alien locale. What's interesting is that in the 1970s, that alien locale was Iraq. Today, it's Louisiana. In tales of the supernatural, it would seem that cursed places are moving closer to home.