The Exorcist: Book vs Movie!

This past Halloween season, many of us physical media devotees proudly assembled our favorite horror films to watch during the month of October. Under normal circumstances, my watch list would consist of such obvious choices as Halloween (1978), The Fog (1980), and The Exorcist (1973). This year, however, I challenged myself to watch horror films I’d never seen before and were available via streaming services. Although I saw some interesting flicks (God bless Shudder) I was never more grateful for my DVD/Blu-ray/4K collection come November 1st!

Despite skipping over William Freidkin’s masterpiece, I did indulge in its source material. William Peter Blatty’s 1971 book, “The Exorcist,” not only spawned the cult classic film but also helped usher in the golden age of “Paperbacks from Hell.” Its success (along with “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Other”) sparked the horror paperback craze by inspiring more publishers to also try cashing in on the demonic craze.

I honestly can’t say how many times I’ve seen the movie but I can say I’d never picked up the book; something I decided to rectify after coming across a copy of Blatty’s 2010 “40th Anniversary” updated version at Goodwill this past summer. This slight revision featured minor adjustments in dialogue and the addition of a hardly mentioned side character named Father Lucas (more on him later). In other words, it was an obvious cash grab but still had plenty of other insights and differences between the book and film worth noting. BTW it should go without saying that there will be spoilers for both, so proceed with caution… 

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