The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty is, of course, best known for the movie, but the book is even more terrifying than the movie. The story starts with father Merrin, a Jesuit priest who works in Iraq as an archeologist. One day he finds a small, old figurine of the Akkadian deity Pazuzu. Merrin is worried he has released an ancient demon by digging up the statuette. When some strange events start to happen Merrin gets more and more convinced in the believe he has brought something of pure evil in the world. Far away, in Georgetown in the United States, Chris MacNeil starts hearing strange things in her home. There are also a number of other strange phenomena that start to take place. Chris doesn't realize that a released demon has invaded her house. Her daughter, Regan, soon afterwards begins behaving erratically. All of a sudden, the child starts using the most obscene language and at a diner party she urinates, in front of dozens of people, on the ground. At first Regan thinks her daughter might be psychologically ill, but research from psychiatrists suggests that nothing is out of the ordinary. But after Chris has experienced a supernatural phenomenon up close, she is convinced that her daughter is possessed. Then the real horror begins.
The Exorcist is an exciting, suspenseful book that is written in its own original style. Often short, nervous phrases, but the interesting characters succeed in bringing the story to life. The book contains much more sexually suggestive scenes than the movie, which to some readers can be disturbing since it is about the possession of a twelve-year-old girl. But all the same The Exorcist is a must for those who love a good horror book and an exciting thrill.
Originally published in 1971, The Exorcist is now a major television series on FOX. It remains one of the most controversial novels ever written and 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 true 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.” 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.