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Horror

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty | Review

11098034 - The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty | ReviewThe Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
Published by Corgi on 1971
ISBN: 9780061007224
Genres: Fiction, General, Horror, Media Tie-In
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased Book
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four stars - The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty | Review

Originally published in 1971, The Exorcist, one of the most controversial novels ever written, went on to become a literary phenomenon: It spent fifty-seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, seventeen consecutively at number one. Inspired by a true story of a child's demonic possession in the 1940s, William Peter Blatty created an iconic novel that focuses on Regan, the eleven-year-old daughter of a movie actress residing in Washington, D.C. A small group of overwhelmed yet determined individuals must rescue Regan from her unspeakable fate, and the drama that ensues is gripping and unfailingly terrifying. Two years after its publication, The Exorcist was, of course, turned into a wildly popular motion picture, garnering ten Academy Award nominations. On opening day of the film, lines of the novel's fans stretched around city blocks. In Chicago, frustrated moviegoers used a battering ram to gain entry through the double side doors of a theater. In Kansas City, police used tear gas to disperse an impatient crowd who tried to force their way into a cinema. The three major television networks carried footage of these events; CBS's Walter Cronkite devoted almost ten minutes to the story. The Exorcist was, and is, more than just a novel and a film: it is a literary landmark. Purposefully raw and profane, The Exorcist still has the extraordinary ability to disturb readers and cause them to forget that it is "just a story." Newly polished and added to by it author and published here in this beautiful fortieth anniversary edition, it remains an unforgettable reading experience and will continue to shock and frighten a new generation of readers.

The Exorcist.  Those two words just strike fear into any adult that is of a particular age.  Think about those words and scenes will crash into your head.  Visions of a sweet and innocent little girl called Regan.  Visions that will soon be replaced by those of a demon infested and quickly diminishing girl.  Now quickly I realised that I was going to be scared more by the book than by the movie.  I’ve seen the movie and its probably the generation I’ve grown up in but, I have seen far worse.  The Saw Franchise or Hostel to name but a few. 

 The Exorcist excels at atmosphere.  The way the plot careens on, all the things left unsaid, gave me the willies.  I’m not surprised that this novel caused global uproar upon its release.  Even now, as a seasoned horror reader, felt extremely creeped out some scenes – Regan in the bedroom with a crucifix, just to name one.  It’s a story essentially about good vs evil.  The light vs the darkness.  I imagine that most people are in one of two camps – either they have seen the movie, or they’ve read the book.  This is a cult classic and it certainly didn’t disappoint. 

The Exorcist largely had great characterisation.  However, two characters managed to press my buttons more than once.  The mother, Chris, and the Detective.  Chris is completely wrapped up in her own sense of importance and its all about her career, career, career.  I mean would any parent think that it was acceptable for their child to be aimlessly playing with a Ouija board.  Her parenting style left a lot to be desired.  Anyway, I digress – the author excels here brilliantly at throwing shade at the adults involved.  We could stand around all day trying to blame each other when the one at fault is something far darker and more insidious. 

The story deep down is one of faith and an unconditional love.  Father Karras is struggling with his dwindling faith.  With a background in psychology.  It seems a bit of a clash to be honest.  A Jesuit Priest who also has a doctorate in science.  He struggles between finding an explanation that is based in either psychology or physiology and is extremely reticent in assuming she is possessed.  He tries to gain the necessary evidence that she is indeed possessed to take to the church, if he is granted the possession that will be a definitive sign from god that his faith is real.  A struggle of the mind in also Karras. 

Yet I think the demon’s target is not the possessed; it is us . . . the observers . . . every person in this house. And I think—I think the point is to make us despair; to reject our own humanity, Damien: to see ourselves as ultimately bestial; as ultimately vile and putrescent; without dignity; ugly; unworthy.

the exorcist
four stars - The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty | Review

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