Monday, September 26, 2011

Where's My Bookmark: The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

It's another anniversary. This time, it's the 40th anniversary of William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist and HarperCollins has released a special hardcover edition to commemorate the special occasion.

Now, this is a new one for me. I've actually never read The Exorcist, though I have seen the movie. I was a little ambitious and thought that I would compare this new edition to an old copy I snagged back when I was a bookseller, but I'm not sure. Apparently, this new edition does have some additions to it. Here's the info from the publisher's site:

Originally published in 1971, The Exorcist, one of the most controversial novels ever written, went on to become a literary phenomenon: It spent fifty-seven weeks on the New York Times
bestseller list, seventeen consecutively at number one. Inspired by a true story of a child’s demonic possession in the 1940s, William Peter Blatty created an iconic novel that focuses on Regan, the eleven-year-old daughter of a movie actress residing in Washington, D.C. A small group of overwhelmed yet determined individuals must rescue Regan from her unspeakable fate, and the drama that ensues is gripping and unfailingly terrifying.

Two years after its publication, The Exorcist was, of course, turned into a wildly popular motion picture, garnering ten Academy Award nominations. On opening day of the film, lines of the novel’s fans stretched around city blocks. In Chicago, frustrated moviegoers used a battering ram to gain entry through the double side doors of a theater. In Kansas City, police used tear gas to disperse an impatient crowd who tried to force their way into a cinema. The three major television networks carried footage of these events; CBS’s Walter Cronkite devoted almost ten minutes to the story. The Exorcist was, and is, more than just a novel and a film: it is a true landmark.

Purposefully raw and profane, The Exorcist still has the extraordinary ability to disturb readers and cause them to forget that it is “just a story.” Published here in this beautiful fortieth anniversary edition, it remains an unforgettable reading experience and will continue to shock and frighten a new generation of readers.

I was in college before I actually saw the movie and I really wasn't a big fan. I know, I know. It's horror movie fan blasphemy to say such a thing. One of the things that drove me absolutely bonkers was the fact that there was no explanation where I wanted one. But, I also heartily admit that coming to a book or movie at the wrong time can deeply affect how you walk away from it. I saw Gone With the Wind as a teenager and hated it. The open ending drove me bananas.

So here I am, reading the anniversary edition of Blatty's The Exorcist and I plan to rewatch the film after. We'll see if my tastes have changed. I will say this, though, even if I disliked the movie, there's just as much of a chance I'll actually like the book. I made it past the hundred page hurdle last night without any real issue. And the action's just beginning to happen.

The Exorcist 40th Anniversary edition is due out October 4, just in time for Halloween horror reading!

No comments: