William Peter Blatty’s “The Exorcism”

A Must Read 300Since we’re gearing up for Halloween, I figured I should review what is, quite possibly, one of the freakiest books ever written, and if you have read it, yourself, you know what I mean: William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcism. If you have seen the movie adaptation, don’t think you know what you are in for. Yes, the movie was scary. But as any avid reader knows, the book is always scarier. For those who don’t know the gist of the plot, an ancient evil awakens and searches for a host. Tragically, the entity finds a host in 12-year-old Regan MacNeil, daughter of a famous actress. Fallen-from-faith Father Damien Karras, a Jewish priest-turned-psychiatrist, agrees to see Regan as a psychiatrist only. Soon, the twisted happenings elevate in their disturbing nature, and Father Karras and the experienced Father Merrin must combat an evil that is millennia old and is determined to survive.

There is no way to describe this book other than downright scary. The human mind is capable of fabricating the most nightmarish scenarios and ghouls, and it is in this area that Blatty capitalizes. Just enough is left up to the imagination to keep the reader up at night, wondering if that noise really was something creeping just out of sight. Don’t get me wrong, the movie adaptation is very faithful, so you won’t really be surprised by much plot-wise. But the atmosphere and characterization of Father Karris, as well as the haunting (ha!) behavior of Regan’s possessor, is more than enough to cement William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcism as a horror novel that simply needs to be read.

Source: Jake Depew, Assistant Editor

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