The Exorcist (A book review)

Rating 4/5

The ExorcistIt’s seems every decade has had it Satanic panic, the 1960’s had it’s Manson murders, Rosemary’s baby, The First Church of Satan and the old Barbara Steel films. The 1970’s saw the rise of poltergeist mostly in the way of Enfield poltergeist, Damien of The Omen fame and of course William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist; often quoted by British film critic Mark Kermode as the greatest film ever made. The 1980’s saw the true Satanic Panic, cults on every street corner, any heavy metal album played backwards would enter you in to a pact with Old Nick to sell your very soul, except the records of christian heavy metal band Stryper for obvious reasons. The 1990’s again saw music being responsible with such acts as Marilyn Manson being held up as the poster boy for all that was unwholesome at the time.

Blatty’s Exorcist is for me the corner stone of all possession stories if you have read A Head full of Ghost. you will notice it is an uplift to Blatty’s 1970’s blue print. The story centers around Regan the daughter of a well heeled Hollywood actress, who happens to be working on her next project in Washington at the local Jesuit college.

It starts off slow, there are the usual bangs and knocking one would associate with a haunting. Stuff goes missing and appears in placing, there is an Ouija board too. Regan starts to become ill and traditional medicine has now answers so it’s to psychology and aliments of the mind becoming the reason of the illness. Enter priest Father Karras who happens to be both of the cloth and a physiologist, who is struggling with his own faith.

The story is a slow boil and is both a horror story and a physiological thriller, I am not sure by reading it, is Blatty  pro or against the Catholic church. it never crosses the line in to praise or scorn. Blatty’s style and prose is not straight forward either paragraphs switch between characters who may not even be in the same room.

“He walked up the stairs”

“While he was walking up the stairs across town she was boarding a bus”

It is an interesting style and does take some getting use to it maybe a detraction for some readers but after a while one gets to enjoy it. The real gem of the story is the brilliantly realized Kinderman , LT of detectives across between Columbo and Phillip Marlowe. A character that needs seeking out and devoured in the best sense.

Faith, loss, a mothers love are recurring themes through out the book Regan’s mother knows what happens to at least one person does she do the right thing?

It may be a little dated at times, but it works will and you can understand why the film always pops up in them 101 horror movies to see before you die lists. it is a slow boil but a lot of the best horror is. Read that then read A Head full Of Ghost the fitting homage to Blatty.

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Freedom…

I was in Wood Green the other day. For those of you who don’t know what or where Wood Green is ; it is a large area of north London. Filled with £1 shops and a large mall that straddles the road. Deviate of the main strip and it becomes a warren of terrace housing and crime. Think of Vegas done of a budget of £1.50 and you get the idea.

 

The religious were out in force when I was down there. In front of this gleaming bastion of capitalism faith was heavily represented , all on a drive to attract followers.

 

If you are regular reader of the Markdini blog it might become apparent I am with out a region. To me no religion offers what we as human beings need : Freedom. Once we join a religion we become subservient to that religion and that’s not for me.

 

True freedom is a commodity that we are losing in the west. Certain parts of free-speech in the UK are being removed in case you upset a religious person. When we should have tighter controls on what the religious say. I am not one to jump up and down behind my copy of the Daily Mail and say the brown people are taking over, this would all be better with more Church of England churches. One they are not and two it wouldn’t.

 

But we are losing the right to offend people in the UK especially if you offend religion. Some parts of the world you can’t speak out about anything. This is why it so important to keep it in the west. Before it’s gone.

 

If you are a non-theist like myself the religious can hurl all sorts of insults

at you. “You will burn in hell” etc. But if you shout back “Leave them choir boys alone” they take offence. It has to be two way street after all what happened to all that “turn the other cheek” stuff?

 

Don’t be subservient to a religion. Be your own god as countless philosophers have taught us. Be nice to people, don’t be a cunt and enjoy life. Speak out when things are not fair and try not to kill anyone. You don’t need a book to be reminded of this or a place to go on Sunday. Most of us have this hard wired in to us already. Be strong don’t turn the other cheek if someone smites you. There are a lot of shitty people out there deal with them the best you can. That’s a real belief system.

 

You can believe what ever you want. You can call me anything you want for not following you. But don’t get offended when I call you names back. After all aren’t you suppose to turn the other cheek?

 

If we allow the UK to turn back in to a true religious country then we are all fucked. Remember Cromwell. Be your own god. Enjoy life. Do what you want to do and don’t impose your views on others.