The Exorcist is one of those iconic movies that no matter when you were born, you probably heard about it. The movie was so intense for the time period that it is claimed it sent people reeling from the cinema in droves, which is believable, given no audience prior to had seen such atrocious scenes laid out before them. Night of the Living Dead was one such film of its timeframe in 1968, but by 1973, the film landscape had changed so vastly that Night of the Living Dead just seemed tame in comparison. Still to this day, few movies with more balls have been made. Can you imagine forced pedo-sapphic incest happening on screen today? Nope and this is why this film is still considered legendary. Having first seen this film in the 90’s, I thought it was tame. I honestly hate anything religious, especially religious horror, because the idea of possession is so mentally absurd, that I can’t suspend my disbelief to believe it is happening. Unlike Freddy, which we know isn’t believed by idiots, we can easily suspend disbelief. Regardless, I decided all these years later to give the book a go and this is my thoughts on Blatty’s iconic novel.
A young Hollywood actress’ daughter becomes “possessed” by a “demon” and you guessed it, an exorcism happens.
The only thing less developed then the 12 year old lead in this book is the supporting cast. Most are just there with nothing overly interesting about them. Karras and Lt. Kinderman are the only interesting characters in this novel as with the movies.
It’s alright, but it isn’t better than most New York Times bestselling books out there. Blatty had his moments, but it isn’t overly painful to read like Game of Thrones is, either.
Thematically the book deals with mental illness, religion, belief and other “fun” concepts, but subtext is pretty non-existent, minus one Youtuber who pointed out that the movie had great subtext for sexual abuse. Sadly, while I agree with it, the point of view and how this book is written, along with how the movie goes, pretty much refutes that. Blattly himself even said he didn’t intend for it that way. So, sadly, possession in both the movie and book are quit literal.
Hardly the worse book I’ve ever read, but it seems more like a parody of the movie. I mean, Regan is a dork, red head kid and the iconic scenes of the movie don’t register the same in the book, they seem weird and don’t fit. Calling the kids rags, is laughable and a horrible nickname. Everything people love about the movie, in this book, seems more mocking in tone, which was clearly not the intent. Mind you this book is 40 years old, along with the movie, but the movie, while I loathe it, holds up better. If you really want to give it a go, feel free to, but otherwise, much like how the book was received prior to a lucky chance appearance by Blattly on a talk show in the 1970’s which catapulted it to fame, I think it is better ignored.
3 out of 5