In this special crossover episode, Kaylia (Pages and Popcorn) and Matt (Ghosthropology) talk about that 1970s classic: The Exorcist. We discuss the “true story” that inspired the novel, the novel that inspired the movie, and the movie that has inspired fear for almost 50 years.
The Exorcist is a 1971 horror novel by American writer William Peter Blatty. The book details the demonic possession of eleven-year-old Regan MacNeil, the daughter of a famous actress, and the two priests who attempt to exorcize the demon.
The novel was inspired by a 1949 case of demonic possession and exorcism that Blatty heard about while he was a student in the class of 1950 at Georgetown University. As a result, the novel takes place in Washington, D.C., near the campus of Georgetown University.
The Exorcist is a 1973 American supernatural horror film directed by William Friedkin and written for the screen by William Peter Blatty, based on his 1971 novel of the same name. It stars Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Lee J. Cobb, Kitty Winn, Jack MacGowran (in his final film role), Jason Miller and Linda Blair. It follows the demonic possession of a young girl and her mother’s attempt to rescue her through an exorcism conducted by a pair of Catholic priests.
This episode was written by Matthew Armstrong with music by Matthew Armstrong and production assistance from Kaylia Metcalfe.
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Show Notes and Sources
The Take: Surprising Politics of The Exorcist
Stuff You Missed in History Class
US Conference of Bishop’s Q+A on Exorcism
Chambers, A. C. (2021). ‘Somewhere between science and superstition’: Religious outrage, horrific science, and The Exorcist (1973). History of the Human Sciences, 34(5), 32–52. https://doi.org/10.1177/09526951211004465
Van Wirt, Bill (1974). The Exorcist: Radical therapy. Jump Cut, no. 1 pp. 4-5. https://www.ejumpcut.org/archive/onlinessays/JC01folder/exorcist.html