The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

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The Exorcist #1
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Four decades after it first terrified the world, William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist is back! 
An extraordinary classic work of horror and dark paranormal suspense. In this stunning 40th Anniversary Edition, a desperate mother and two priests fight to free the soul of a little girl from a supernatural entity of pure malevolence.

"But the devil keeps advertising, Father. The devil does a lot of commercials.”

When I think of 'The Exorcist', I think of a funny story involving my mother. She's never been a horror fan, although amusingly she likes Stephen King quite a bit, as well as psychological horror stories (which she argues aren't horror at all). She never was a reader either, so when I was a wee kid wanting to watch the latest slasher flick I saw advertised on the tube, she would vehemently say no. She claimed I was too young to watch that stuff and that it would mess with my mind, but she'd bring me to the used bookstore a few times a month and buy me whatever horror book I wanted. Makes sense, right?

When I was finally older and wore down her patience begging at the video store, she started letting me watch horror. The only one she kept refusing for me to watch was 'The Exorcist.' She claimed it was because of people having to go to therapy over it when she was growing up and the movie was released. At seventeen she finally let me watch it, after I argued I had read the book years before already anyway.

The book didn't live up to the hype then for my impatient teenage mind, but it lives up to it more now.. It took me chapters to get into the story because of Blatty's dry and detached writing style. It didn't warm me into the story much and seemed too academic almost, making my attention wane.

 I'm not sure at which point it is that the light-switch of interest is turned on, but suddenly the writing is more than fine, the story is fascinating, and I couldn't put this down until the horrors were told and the final tumble down the stairs came at last.

Would I call it especially creepy? To a degree. It comes across more eerie to me on page than screen, but more because of the psychological implications of it. I never found possession eerie, but maybe that's because it's been overdone to death. When the Exorcist was penned, the concept was more original, at least in that full-fledged stories hadn't been made popular yet about children possessed by demons. 


The possession isn't what draws me in, clearly, but the story staying fascinating is because of the procedures Damien does to discover what is true and what is not (such as deciphering the language and following the clues), the mother's reactions to her daughters situation, the internal struggles of the priests and what they encounter while they're already battling their own internal demons.

The "help" takes a more active role in the book too. I found their scenes added more oomph, as well as Kindermans, than the movie versions. The movie did a great job mirroring the book almost down to the last drabble of dialogue, with the exception of a few removed scenes.

Damien Kerras is such a great, conflicted character. While he mazes his way through to an actual possession, I found him more intriguing than Regan. It's an epic battle with a fitting ending. Coincidentally I also re-read Legion after re-reading The Exorcist, and the author William Peter Blatty died the next week. My timing couldn't have been better when it came to revisiting the authors stories. Even if his dry writing style didn't suit me at the start, he grew on me and showcased a true talent. If the first quarter of this book were better, this would be easily a five star.

Book Quotes

Publisher or Author Information (Extras)

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Movie Trailer

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