CBR 15 Bingo – Picture This: This book is all about the visual medium of cinema and television, discussing the Exorcist franchise from many perspectives.
The Exorcist is at first glance the story of a mother desperate to save her daughter from evils beyond her reckoning, but in the fifty years since it was first released it had gone on to become a beloved, long-running franchise rife with controversy.
I have never actually seen The Exorcist. Of course I know the movie and how iconic it is, and have heard plenty of the apocryphal stories surrounding its supposed curse, but I am not really into the horror genre and consequently have seen pretty much none of its classics. On the other hand, the impact of horror media on culture is something I have studied before and am still quite interested in – and as such, this book was right up my alley.
The author covers the long story of The Exorcist franchise, including not only the book that spawned it and the many movies and TV shows that followed, but the lives of the two men who have the greatest hand in bringing it to life, and what is believed to be the real case that inspired it. It’s a snappy, often tongue-in-cheek recounting from an author who clearly loves the franchise even as he recognizes many of its pitfalls. The discussion of the book, movies and TV show were also very accessible for someone who’d never consumed any of them due to the many sidebars.
However, while I appreciated the detailed recaps and discussions of where different versions of the story diverged from each other, I did feel that the book fell a little short on detailed analysis. I liked learning about how author William Peter Blatty’s Catholic faith and other personal beliefs underpinned much of The Exorcist (and later works), but wished we learned more about the specific decisions that were made in writing and shooting the films. I went away still unable to pinpoint the reason for The Exorcist‘s enduring impact.
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley. This is my honest and voluntary review.