Bookmans Recommends: Fox’s Revamped Horror Classic “The Exorcist”
Demonic possession is back, in a HUGE way. After years of domination by sparkly vampires and walking zombies, pop culture has fallen back in love with an good old-fashioned demon casting exorcism. What is the holy hype all about?
“The belief in evil and the belief that evil can be cast out.”
From these two strands of faith, author William Peter Blatty weaves a frightening, explicit and realistic tale of an innocent young girl inhabited by a malevolent entity. The Exorcist endures as a classic horror novel. Here we rediscover The Exorcist and its ghastly gravitas.
The story is loosely based on actual events that happened in Maryland in 1949. It involved a small boy who, distraught and feeling alone over the loss of his beloved aunt, begins to play with a Ouija Board. As time passes, he experiences poltergeist-like phenomena. The bed shakes and knocking sounds from the walls. Not knowing what to do, the family turns to their local Catholic church. The boy is brought to St. Louis, where permission is granted to perform the Rite of Exorcism. The ritual was deemed a success and the boy went on the lead a normal life under complete anonymity.
Several years later in 1971, Blatty recalls this story and sits down to write one of the most terrifying books of all time. It became an instant best seller. Published by Harper and Row, the novel is the basis of a film released two years later with a screenplay also written by Blatty. Fast forward to 2016 where there is a sudden rebirth of classic cult flicks in the form of inspired television series that have started taking over primetime. While series like Stranger Things have gained a following for their ability to prolong suspense over eight episodes, shows like Sleepy Hollow fell from the spotlight after only one season.
Loosely based on Blatty’s original concept, the new series by creator Jeremy Slater, stars Geena Davis (Beetlejuice), Alfonso Herrera (Sense 8), and Ben Daniels (House Of Cards). Described by Fox as a “propulsive psychological thriller”, the show will follow “two very different priests tackling one family’s case of horrifying demonic possession.”
“Father Tomas Ortega (Herrera) is the new face of the Catholic Church: progressive, ambitious and compassionate. He runs a small but loyal parish in the suburbs of Chicago. He has no idea that his quiet life is about to change forever. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, another priest finds himself locked in a life-and-death struggle with evil. Father Marcus Brennan (Daniels) is a modern-day Templar Knight, an orphan raised since childhood by the Vatican to wage war against its enemies. Father Marcus is everything Father Tomas is not: relentless, abrasive and utterly consumed by his sacred mission.
Caught in the middle is the Rance family, members of Tomas’ parish. On the surface, they’re a normal, suburban family, but all is not as it seems in this household. The patriarch, Henry Rance (guest star Alan Ruck), is slowly but surely losing his mind. Eldest daughter Katherine has become a recluse who refuses to leave her room. Her younger sister, casey (Hannah Kasulka), thinks she’s hearing strange noises coming from inside the walls. And mother Angela (Davis) has been plagued by recurring nightmares, each more frightening than the last. Angela believes there is something in the house, a demonic presence, growing stronger by the day. Desperate, she begs Father Tomas for help, unwittingly setting the naïve young priest on a collision course with Father Marcus. Separately, each faces an insurmountable task, but together they become the only hope against an evil force that has been mobilizing for centuries.”
Check out Fox’s Official trailer here, with many an homage to the film’s most iconic scenes , and proof that this new Exorcist will have just as much scare power as its forebears.