Find your next favorite audiobook

Become a member today and listen free for 30 days
The Exorcist: 40th Anniversary Edition

The Exorcist: 40th Anniversary Edition


The Exorcist: 40th Anniversary Edition

ratings:
4.5/5 (155 ratings)
Length:
12 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Oct 4, 2011
ISBN:
9780062125897
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

Four decades after it first shook the nation, then the world, William Peter Blatty's thrilling masterwork of faith and demonic possession returns in an even more powerful form. Raw and profane, shocking and blood-chilling, it remains a modern parable of good and evil and perhaps the most terrifying novel ever written.

Publisher:
Released:
Oct 4, 2011
ISBN:
9780062125897
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

William Peter Blatty is the bestselling author of The Exorcist, which he turned into an Academy Award–winning screenplay. The son of immigrant parents, he was a comic novelist before embarking on a four decade career as a Hollywood writer, penning the screenplays for A Shot in the Dark, What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?, the Julie Andrews romantic comedy Darling Lili, and The Ninth Configuration (which he also directed), among many other films. Blatty died on January 12, 2017 in Bethesda, Maryland.


Related to The Exorcist

Related Audiobooks
Related Articles

Reviews

What people think about The Exorcist

4.6
155 ratings / 44 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    "Incidentally, what an excellent day for an exorcism."Sometimes I wish there weren't so many amazing books to read. Because every once in a while I come across a book so intricate, so subtle and so intense, that without a second, slower, read, I know that there was zero chance that I captured a true understanding the book in its' entirety.William Peter Blatty's "The Exorcist" is that kind of a book. It's creepy, crude and scary. On more than one evening while reading in bed, I found myself half jumping across the room only to find the cat poking his head through the door to see if it was breakfast time. One morning on my bus ride into work, I almost elbowed a poor woman in the head, so throughout engrossed I was in Blatty's deeply affecting novel."The child was slender as fleeting hope."Blatty's novel, which he converted into the screenplay of the well-known film, is about an actress living in Washington, D.C., finishing the filming of a movie. Living on the doorstep of Georgetown University, several mysteries surround an undiagnosed illness of the actress' daughter, Regan. Her condition grows worse, and its' manifestations become more and more bizarre. I don't think I'm giving much away when I 'reveal' that the girl starts to show signs of a split personality - one of which is less than fully human."What looked like morning was the beginning of endless night.""The Exorcist" is rife with turbulent foreboding. Some elements of the horror are subtle, but Blatty's expectation-setting is not so much: "Like the brief doomed flare of exploding suns that registers dimly on blind men's eyes, the beginning of the horror passed almost unnoticed." I love this kind of deep, rich, relentlessly hammering melodrama. Another terrific line provides exposition while Chris MacNeil broods over her ever-sickening daughter: "...the Potomac's deceptively placid surface, offered no hint of the perilously swift and powerful currents that surged underneath...In the soft, smoothing light of evening, the river, with its seeming dead calm and stillness, suddenly struck her as something that was planning. And waiting."As with all great horror, the physicality of the frights is less imposing than the psychology that precedes it. The real story that orbits Regan MacNeil's seeming possession is one of faith. The plot's passion is driven by Father Damien Karras, a Jesuit priest and trained psychologist teaching at Georgetown. Blatty slowly serves Karras' back-story like a delectable appetizer before the main course. Father Karras seeks the truth of Regan's condition - all signs point to demonic possession, but Karras' faith, an innate and deeply embedded belief that he felt in his youth, has dissipated through the grim realities of life. He very much feels the realities of Regan's possession, but cannot escape his secular education and experiences, and Blatty masterfully teases out doubt through thoughtful and genuine psychological analyses. In a scene leading into the demon-exorcising finale, Karras enters Regan's bedroom where she's strapped tightly to her bed. It's been days since the personality of the girl has made even the briefest of appearances. Blatty writes that Karras "felt something in the room congealing"; the atmosphere is thick and heavy. That description terrifically sums up the mood of the book; there's a darkness that is more than just an absence of light, but something more material with real weight and depth. I really loved this book and couldn't recommend it more highly. It's scary and it's disturbing, but also deep and literate.
  • (5/5)
    Pure and simple, the greatest horror novel of all-time. Not only does it deal with the ultimate idea of good versus evil, but it also tackles pertinent issues of science and women's issues as well.
  • (4/5)
    While I enjoyed reading this book, I liked the movie much more, perhaps because I saw the film before reading Blatty's novel.
  • (4/5)
    I've been a massive fan of the movie for years, so I figured I should read the book. I'm glad I did, it was a great read. It contained very interesting analyses of possession, it was well-written and fast-paced. Overall, an excellent horror book. I'd read it again.
  • (5/5)
    A solid piece of very scary fiction, it's amazing to see how this book spawned an entire subgenre of horror, and rightfully so. Taut and well-paced, the book is surprisingly scientific and analytic about the possible real-world explanations for such a phenomena. I have not seen the movie, but there are number moments that will induce shivers and fright. The book skillfully deals less with cheap jumps and shocks and instead crafts an unsettling world disturbing close to our own that is relentlessly creepy in its eerie possibility. My only gripe is a sudden and unrealized ending.
  • (5/5)
    The scariest book I have ever read. I read it as a young teenager, before I ever saw the movie, and it really gave me the creeps because demon possession seemed like something that could happen to anyone! Suddenly, you wake up and the devil has you. That was before I lost my religion, and I haven't read the book since, but I suspect it might still have an impact. And the movie is pretty good, too.
  • (4/5)
    The book that the more famous movie is based on. I first listened to the audiobook narrated by the author, and found it scared me more than the aforementioned movie! Regan and her mother,Chris are living in a brownstone in Georgetown whilst working on a movie. Bored with her mother working all the time, reagen finds a ouija board and unwittingly invites in a demon. Faced with her daughters gradual and complete personality change, Chris consults doctor after doctor, finally turning in despair to the church after the murder of her director. Enter Father Damien Karras who is having a crisis of faith, and has to be convinced of the nature of Regans possession. When the church gives permission for the exorcism Father Merrin is called in having previously battled with the same entity.
  • (5/5)
    There is a subtle difference between the horrific and the truly dreadful. The ability to combine a sense of creeping dread with scenes of ghastly horror is an art form that few contemporary horror writers master. William Peter Blatty managed this harrowing combination with this 1971 classic, now eclipsed in the popular imagination by the nearly equally disturbing film.Beyond the shocking visuals and the torment the demon puts young Regan through lies a complelling discourse on the nature of faith best exemplified by three of the main characters. Chris Regan, Hollywood star actress, is a bonafide non-believer; in her world there is no room for a higher power. Detective Lieutenant Kinderman believes in his own abilities to solve crimes no matter how baffling they may appear to be; in the process, his obsession with them has alienated him from his wife. Father Karras begins to doubt his faith after the death of his poverty-stricken mother; perhaps becoming a Jesuit priest, whose order disavows material wealth, was unfair to his mother as he is unable to support her financially. Each of these characters is explored in depth as they struggle with their faith and assumptions in the face of mind-numbing horror. Their conversations as they explore these struggles illuminate the dark heart of the novel - the possibility that demons do exist and can exert complete control over a possessed individual, rendering the person psychologically unrecognizable to her loved ones. It is this threat of loathsome evil that powers the novel in its ability to wrap its tendrils around the minds of the reader and provoke intense disturbances in the psyche.If you're only familiar with the film, which is itself an almost faithful adapation by Blatty himself and one of the masterpieces of horror cinema, you owe it to yourself to read the novel. In a dark house. Alone. Pray your bed does not begin to shiver.
  • (4/5)
    I have no words for this book. It makes me wonder about what is in the mind of Mr. William Peter Blatty.
  • (4/5)
    So much of the supernatural has religious underpinnings, but much fantasy and even genre horror novels underplays or eliminates that aspect. Witches are lovable like Tabitha and Hermione, werewolves have a "furry problem" at worst, vampires are smexy. The Exorcist, on the other hand, brings me back to my Catholic upbringing where you take those things that go bump into the night very seriously. Indeed, my most vivid memory associated with the novel was a fellow student in my Catholic high school earnestly citing it as an authority for the dangers of atheism. ("It leaves the door open for the demonic!") According to Sister Eileen, so do tarot cards which she barred me from bringing in as "tools of the devil." (Thus losing to me my only--and very brief spell--of high school popularity.) Oh, the memories. So, so you need to be a believer to take The Exorcist seriously enough to enjoy? Well, it probably helps. However, if you are religious (or not), you might find yourself sickened by the graphic sex and violence in the book that goes well beyond head spinning, projectile vomiting or the use of profanity. If the film had been true to the book, it would have earned much harder than an "R." All that said, although I wouldn't call it particularly well-written (more than one metaphor in the book struck me as overreachingly clumsy) it certainly kept my interest, and the central characters of Father Damien Karras and Regan's mother, Chris MacNeil felt real.
  • (5/5)
    If you want to read a book that will keep you up at night, this is the one.
  • (5/5)
    This is one of the most engaging books I've read in a long time. I was already familiar with the story thanks to the movie version, but there was a lot more depth to the book and I couldn't put it down.
  • (5/5)
    Great book, quick read, and a good scare. I saw the movie before I read the book, so I knew what to expect. However I was still a little creeped out. I think this is a must read for horror fans.
  • (5/5)
    I bought The Exorcist early this year for fifty cents at a friends of the library sale. I picked it up with the sole intention to read it for the month of October. And the book did not disappoint. I had first seen the movie version of The Exorcist when I was twelve years old. I know the exact age I was because when I saw the movie, what scared me the most was that this terrible thing happened to a girl of my age. Anyway, needless to say the movie absolutely terrified me. It didn't make me run from the room, screaming (like The Amityville Horror did, but I was eight when my family tried to get me to see that one and once I heard the creepy song and saw the sort-of pumpkin shaped house with it's creepy eyes/windows, I just ran from the room), but that was mostly because I was too scared to move. This movie traumatized me so much that I became scared that I was going to get possessed and would sometimes think that my bed was shaking at night (over-active imagination much?) Ever since then, I feared anything to do with possession. That didn't stop me from watching horror movies about it, though. With this deep-ingrained fear, I still picked up The Exorcist four days ago. You see, I thought I was over my fear and felt that I could brave reading it. And I could. As long as it was bright as hell outside and it was in a campus full of other relaxation deprived co-eds. I absolutely refused to pick it up when it was dark out. And I did try. But then I started thinking about the movie and how the really truly scary parts hadn't come up yet and did I really want it to come up when everyone in the house was asleep and yet I was awake and prone to prowling the house at all hours of the night? The answer to that was a definitive no. So, the actual novel, terrifying. Granted, I thought it wasn't as terrifying as the movie, but that's just because I'm a visual person. One part of the book that had me getting goosebumps on my arms was the part where the demon yells "Merrin" automatically knowing that he's there. I did have a deeper connection to the characters while reading the book, though, as opposed to watching the movie. I felt myself caring for Father Karras and Chris and especially Reagan. I was a little disappointed that you really didn't get to know anything about Father Merrin. I knew this in the movie, but assumed that the book would have a bit of a backstory on him. So, that was the one teeny-tiny, miniscule thing that I was bothered by. Anyway, if you're a huge fan of the movie, I would definitely suggest that you pick up The Exorcist. It's well worth the read and it is deeply disturbing. I'm disturbed just thinking about it again. I don't think I'll be prowling tonight.
  • (4/5)
    I have to say, the book was a bit creepier than the movie for me. Though I won't deny that seeing the crab-walk backward down the stairs will forever stain my mind, reading about her following an assistant in that way made my back shiver.I read this on a plane, on my way down to New Orleans. It didn't keep me up at night, but it did make me sit and think during the landing. The way it was written is truly dark, and Blaty has a way of shaking a person from the inside out. I would recommend this to any horror fan if not just to know the original story behind the best-selling movie.
  • (5/5)
    I originally read this book 20 years ago - back in 7th Grade, when others were still browsing Babysitter's Club and comic books. I became an instant fan of William Peter Blatty's dark style and the movie still holds very high marks. The book, just like the movie, is my gauge for what a great horror novel must contain.
  • (5/5)
    Compelloing and frightening. Maybe it is the Catholic in me, but I was drawn to this novel. It made me ponder the role of good and evil in our lives. Are there demons? This novel leaves the question open to specualtion and faith.
  • (2/5)
    When I was a kid (I can’t remember exactly how old I was, but I was younger than 10), I had my first glimpse of The Exorcist. My parents were watching it in the living room and I sat down to join them. Now, I was no stranger to horror movies. I had grown up with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th. Freddy Krueger, arguably, babysat me more than anyone else. But The Exorcist scared the shit out of me.When I went to sleep that night, I saw Regan in my closet and I was too petrified to flee my room. And I didn’t even make it through the whole movie.As far as plot is concerned, the movie was very faithful to the book. The book, however, offered some stuff that the movie lacked. Some of the possession scenes were far more graphic in the book. Which makes sense, as filming them would probably have led to a “X” rating. But, more importantly, Father Karras was given much more attention.Father Karras is one of my favorite literary characters, and not just because we share a pronunciation. He was a strong, fiercely intelligent character who was plagued by doubt and sacrificed more than anyone I have ever heard of, living, dead, or created in someone’s imagination. To face the devil (not to mention all of your sins from the past), while not having an unwavering belief in God, is quite the undertaking. I also liked Father Merrin very much. He kind of came in at the last minute, like a spiritual cowboy. He and the demon were old chums from way back.My only issue with the book was the horrible dialogue, mostly coming from Chris. Her character was prone to saying “gee” far too often. Blatty even made an attempt at some sort of regional (I think) dialect that came across atrociously. In my opinion, a writer must be careful when trying to emphasize how a character’s speech sounds.Much, much better than expected.
  • (4/5)
    It's a shame that the film version has in many ways overshadowed this excellent novel. That's not to say that he movie wasn't faithful, indeed the novel reads itself much like a screen play and many scenes are rendered still by still in accordance with the book, however I fear many will have passed this by having either seen the film or worse still only heard of the hype. Not being a fan of the horror genre I would normally have steered clear myself, but happening to see an early edition in my favourite charity book store for the princely sum of 60p. From the first line I was hooked. I read the 300 odd pages in a couple of days, me being a slow reader with little time for the pursuit this is a mark of honour.What I found was one the best explorations of faith in a popular novel I have read thus far. Themes of faith, guilt and death, which could so easily turned sour, think Dan Brown, are cleverly explored with a unique, if frequently repellent device. Much of this was in the film, but it is far more explicit here. Inevitably the medical science is a little dated but other than that it's remains an outstanding novel and well worth a try.
  • (5/5)
    This is simply one of the best horror books of all time. It ranks with Dracula.
  • (5/5)
    One of the best horror books that I've ever read! A must read for anyone who really enjoys a good horror story. Creepy and classic!
  • (4/5)
    I saw the movie in 1981 and it never occurred to me to read the book until my daughter asked for it. The book was a very pleasant surprise because it is extremely well written and vastly more subtle than the movie. It is perhaps a symptom of incipient middle age that it struck me as pointing at an interpretation that I simply could not have grasped in 1981. I was struck, for example, by how, after witnessing the first serious episode of her daughter Regan, Chris is nonetheless still distracted by thoughts about her financial arrangements and the movie she has been asked to direct. The intriguing possibility is that in the contrast between what is happening (her child is behaving very strangely indeed) and what occupies her thoughts (money, work) Chris herself is depicted by Blatty as being possessed. Her demons are very low intensity compared to Regan's but just as out of control. If this is what's happening Blatty is really beautifully painting with all shades of gray. And I think he is, because this is a pattern visible in other aspects of the book: the private tragedy of the Swiss butler Karl (which in the movie has been completely removed, if I recall correctly) coexists with the much deeper horror of the possession and with the lighter horror still of father Damien's unresolved issues with his mother. Also interesting (and absent from the movie) the treatment of Burke, who, as the story develops, is hinted to be far less harmless than just a drunk lout (for example, why does he hate Karl so much? what really happened when he was left alone with Regan? did Regan attack him or viceversa?) Anyway, all in all a really fulfilling novel, where things are much more nuanced and multi-level than they appear at first. The most incredible thing in the book, however, is the ease with which one could obtain medical appointments with specialists (even house calls!) and immediate intervention from ecclesiastic authorities.
  • (3/5)
    If you read the preface and understand the context in which it was written, it adds to the value of this book, which created the awareness of so-called demon possession today. Very few people knew what an exorcist was, it was limited to obscure satanic volumes in new age bookshops. The author tackled this subject in a wonderful way, and was quite brave to do so. Sadly, if you grew up after the movie was made, it may leave you disappointed. Having said that, this book genuinely scared me at times, especially the interaction with the demons.
  • (5/5)
    The film was cheesy and mediocre - the book is fantastic. Blatty is a master in the horror genre.
  • (3/5)
    When I first read this book (1976 ish) I thought it was great. I picked it up and re-read it this past weekend. I found that it didn't hold up over time.
  • (5/5)
    Far and away one of the most frightening books ever written. Brought the term 'demonic possession' into the modern lexicon. Excellent book and highly recommended for horror fans.
  • (4/5)
    Still one of the most frightening books ever. Excellent read.
  • (5/5)
    This book is excellent, because it is one of the scariest books that I have ever read. It is in the Top 5 for scaring me.
  • (3/5)
    good book but, it's one of the few books that have been made into a decent movie by staying close to the book. if i were you i would just watch the movie and spend more time on something more like Les Miserables.
  • (4/5)
    I read this book when I was 14 and it really scared me. I was fasinated with the movie but the book was 10 times better.