on March 12, 2012
I reviewed this book for CineAction Magazine, Canada's leading film journal, in it's latest issue. I highly recommend this fascinating and well crafted anthology designed to present the Exorcist phenomena. The movie is still one of the highest grossing films in cinema history. The social impact it had on the public was amazing. Unlike the 1950 B-movie trailers that warned about people with weak hearts staying away, this movie was truly not for the weak of heart or spirit. I recall high school friends coming to me after seeing this movie complaining of nightmares and being unable to sleep. The childhood fears of the dark returned to them and suddenly there was nothing safe in the world anymore.
This collection of articles and interviews reflects this and how this film was crafted to create this explosion of imagination and primal fears in the viewers. The allegory of an innocent child being attacked by clergy in the name of religion was almost prophetic. Reagan, the possessed girl, also presaged the onslaught of psychology aimed at children when society attempted to find a blameless solution to uncontrollable children. In the case of Reagan, played by Linda Blair, the devil truly made her do it.
This collection contains extensive analsyis of the social impact of the film as well as the film's impact on the film industry. An interesting addition from other similar collections is a hard look at the progeny of the first film where Blatty and others attempted to create an Exorcist franchise to dismal financial and critical results. Hollywood gone bad at its worst perhaps.
If you are an avid fan of the book and movie you want this collection. If you are a student of film you want this book. If you just want some fascinating reading, you want this book.
on April 24, 2012
Unlike so many movies that are forgotten before the viewer leaves the theater, most people still have vivid memories of the first time they saw The Exorcist. Especially for those who were teenagers or young adults when the film dubuted in 1973, the movie's shocking juxtaposition of religion, carnality, and a young girl's grotesque transformation into an obscenity-screaming, vomit-spewing nightmare creature was almost more than audiences of the time were ready to absorb. People fainted or staggered from the theater in hysterics; one deranged movie goer tried to attack the demon on the screen.
Such was the power of William Blatty's The Exorcist, which both defined and challenged the conventional mores of the era.
In The Exorcist: Studies in the Horror Film, published by Centipede Press, Danel Olson, editor of the Exotic Gothic series, has put together twenty-five compelling essays, interviews, and reminiscences that examine the film as a sociological phenomena, a commentary on religion, gender, and the good versus evil narrative so familiar to horror fans. Outstanding among these is an essay by Mark Opsasnick, "The Haunted Boy: The Inspiration for the Exorcist" that examines the real-life exorcism that motivated Blatty to write the book and Barbara Creed's "Woman as Abject Monster" that takes a look at horror's obsession with the female body as a repository of evil. There is also an intriguing comparison between The Exorcist and that other headline-making movie of its day, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, in an essay written by Kendall Phillips.
At over 500 pages, this is an impressive and lavishly illustrated tome, a must-read for fans of the horror genre, movie buffs, and anyone who was ever terrified and fascinated by The Exorcist.
on April 9, 2014
Too bad, you need to LOVE horror movies, and more specifically, The Exorcist, to fully enjoy this book. There are very few questions that are not covered in this collection of awesomeness that covers all 3 of the series and 2 prequels (VIVA SKARSGARD!) lol. If you are looking for those E! "Mysterious disasters which occurred during filming" blah blah blah fluff pieces then you came to the wrong midnight screening. If you are looking for intelligent and dynamic writing/interviews/articles concerning the holy grail of horror then get your bibs and warm towels ready, you'll be drooling all over your spunked self in no time!
on August 27, 2012
At five-hundred pages, this is the "must have" for fans of both the book and the brilliantly adapted film.
Not only does it include several essays and interviews (old and new) with regards to the 1973 film, but it also has some similar published works pertaining to the sequels (from Boorman's notorious 1977 sequel to Harlin's and Schrader's prequels).
All in all, it's a well crafted "bible" and as extensive as humanly possible.
As a fan, I can't see anything being more in-depth.
on June 15, 2012
Olson's anthology, STUDIES IN THE HORROR FILM: THE EXORCIST, has become over night the seminal treatise on Blatty and Friedkin's filmic masterpiece. I cannot recommend enough this text to established and burgeoning scholars in Horror Studies, Monster Theory, and Film History, to university instructors looking for a comprehensive reader in all THE EXORCIST installments, or to collectors and bibliophiles who, quite honestly, will jaw-drop when they see this exquisite book.