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The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
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The Exorcist (1971)

by William Peter Blatty

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3,053861,857 (3.87)151
  1. 32
    Legion by William Peter Blatty (JonTheTerrible)
    JonTheTerrible: I quite enjoyed the characters in The Exorcist and felt that Legion gives you a bit more of the enjoyable Kinderman as well as the darkness of the demon. While Legion is not nearly as good as its predecessor it is still an essential read if you enjoyed the mood and pace of The Exorcist.… (more)
  2. 01
    The Case Against Satan (Penguin Classics) by Ray Russell (SomeGuyInVirginia)
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Showing 1-5 of 80 (next | show all)
This was a curious read. It wasn't really scary, but it was unsettling. I can definitely see why it caused quite the stir back when it first came out: it was disturbing. That being said, I didn't care for the writing style. I also had difficulty with the sexist/misogynistic language scattered throughout the book. I know I need to consider the time this book was written, but I still found it frustrating. Overall, the Exorcist rates an 'okay' with me. ( )
  clear_tranquil | Mar 27, 2016 |
The movie opens with Father Lankester Merrin (Max von Sydow) on an archaeological dig near Nineveh. He is then brought to a nearby hole where a small stone head is found, resembling a grimacing, animal-like creature. After talking to one of his supervisors, he then travels to a spot where a strange statue stands, specifically Pazuzu, with a head similar to the one he found earlier. He sees both an ominous figure and two dogs fight loudly nearby, setting the tone for the rest of the film.

Meanwhile, Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller), a young priest at Georgetown University, begins to doubt his faith while dealing with his mother's terminal sickness.

In the central storyline, Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn), an actress filming in Georgetown, notices dramatic and dangerous changes in the behavior and physical make-up of her twelve year-old daughter Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair). Regan first starts out by having seizure, but then exhibits strange, unnatural powers, including levitation and great strength, and often expresses vulgar language and blasphemy in a demonic male voice during these periods. At first, Chris believes that Regan's rapid mental and physical changes are products of the trauma of Chris's recent divorce. Regan is forced to endure a series of unpleasant medical tests as doctors try to find an explanation for her bizarre changes. When X-Rays show nothing out of the ordinary, doctors retire the belief that Regan has brain abnormalities causing her bizarre behavior. Chris is advised by a doctor that Regan should see a psychiatrist. After Regan assaults the psychiatrist, supernatural occurrences continue to surround her at the MacNeil's household, including violently shaking beds, strange noises and unexplained movement. The director of the film Mrs. MacNeil is starring in is found brutally murdered after being asked to babysit for Regan.

When all medical possibilities of explaining Regan's worsening condition are exhausted, a doctor recommends an exorcism, explaining that if Regan's symptoms are a psychosomatic result of a belief in demonic possession, then an exorcism would likewise have the psychosomatic effect of ending such symptoms. Chris consults Father Karras, since he is both a priest and a psychiatrist. Despite his doubts, Karras is eventually convinced that he should request permission from the Church to perform an exorcism.

Father Merrin, who in addition to being an archeologist is also an experienced exorcist, is summoned to Washington to help. In a climactic series of scenes, he and Father Karras try to drive the spirit from Regan.[2] Regan, or rather the spirit, claims she is not possessed by a simple demon, but by the Devil himself (in the novel, it is explained that Regan is possessed by the demon Pazuzu).

At the climax of the exorcism, Father Merrin dies of a heart attack that was possibly brought on by Regan. Father Karras tries to give him CPR, but to no avail, and notices Regan giggling as he tries to save him. Karras becomes infuriated and grabs her, and begins to strike her, and finally challenges the demon to leave Regan and enter him. The demon does enter Damien, but the priest immediately throws himself through Regan's bedroom window in order to stop the demon from murdering her. He falls down the steps outside where, at the bottom, a devastated Father Dyer, his best friend, administers the Last Rites as Father Karras dies. Regan is restored to her normal self, and according to Chris, does not remember any of the experience. The film ends as the MacNeil mother and daughter leave Georgetown to move on from their ordeal.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
After seeing the movie the book was a total let down. Its language is dry and there is a lot of product placement . The author uses one adjective sentences to describe things which are supposed to be disgusting or horrifying and doesn't even let them sink in by moving on quickly. There are paragraphs unrelated to the story. The characters are flat and never come really to live. There are some contradiction in the plot development and at the end at least one of the characters shows unreasonable out of character behavior , just because the author decides so.
The plot itself was interesting and had the potential of being turned into a really terrifying story. ( )
  toofan23 | Feb 21, 2016 |
I know most people have seen the motion picture and I have to say that the book is the screenplay of the movie (Really 'cause the author was in fact responsible for the movie's screenplay)so that you can see the movie scenes as you read it. Many say this is a horror title but I desagree. It seems to me more of a debate about faith, good and evil, than anything else. There's a lot of mystery and suspense in the book for strange things happen and nobody seems to be able to find out the answers, of course we know what it is all about... Neither the movie nor the book scared me, but like Regan's mother ponders it is way easier to believe in the devil than in God when you live in a world like ours... ( )
  Glaucialm | Feb 18, 2016 |
A young girl exhibits a radical change in behavior. Is it supernatural possession, psychosis or brain damage? A Catholic priest with problems of faith is called by the mother to determine the cause and to assist the child. If you are hesitant to read the book because you have seen the movie, I would recommend that you read the book since it provides more detail omitted by the movie. It is much better than the movie because the book unfolds in your mind which can be scarier than any movie. ( )
  John_Warner | Jan 23, 2016 |
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Dedication
To my brothers and sisters, Maurice, Edward and Alyce, and in loving memory of my parents.
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Like the brief doomed flare of exploding suns that registers dimly on blind men's eyes, the beginning of the horror passed almost unnoticed; in the shriek of what followed, in fact, was forgotten and perhaps not connected to the horror at all.
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Book description
The deceptively simple story focuses on Regan, the 11-year-old daughter of a movie actress residing in Washington, D.C.; the child apparently is possessed by an ancient demon. It's up to a small group of overwhelmed yet determined humans to somehow rescue Regan from this unspeakable fate.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061007226, Mass Market Paperback)

When originally published in 1971, The Exorcist became not only a bestselling literary phenomenon, but one of the most frightening and controversial novels ever written. (When the author adapted his book to the screen two years later, it then became one of the most terrifying movies ever made.) The deceptively simple story focuses on Regan, the 11-year-old daughter of a movie actress residing in Washington, D.C.; the child apparently is possessed by an ancient demon. It's up to a small group of overwhelmed yet determined humans to somehow rescue Regan from this unspeakable fate. Purposefully raw and profane, this novel still has the extraordinary ability to literally shock us into forgetting that it is "just a story." The Exorcist remains a truly unforgettable reading experience. Blatty published a sequel, Legion, in 1983. --Stanley Wiater

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:13 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Actress and single mother Chris MacNeil becomes increasingly terrified for her young daughter Regan as a malevolent force takes possession of the child.

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