The Exorcist: 40th Anniversary Edition by William Peter Blatty

Posted October 1, 2014 by christina in Reviews / 15 Comments

The Exorcist: 40th Anniversary Edition by  William Peter BlattyThe Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
Narrator: Eliana Shaskan, William Peter Blatty
Published by Harper Audio on 04 October 2011
Length: 12 hrs and 51 mins
Genres: Horror
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Rating Report
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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.

©2011 William Peter Blatty (P)2011 HarperCollinsPublishers

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Holy crap! I can remember watching this as a kid in the dark. I loved being so freaked out and so scared and curious about the world and if this kind of thing can actually happen. Not much has changed in those twenty years! I’m still really curious and still love being scared, which is why I jumped at the chance to review the audio version of The Exorcist!

Not only am I excited that this is in audio but I’m super excited that the author is narrating this! He has a really interesting voice that adds to the drama of the story itself. A sense of hypnosis happened while listening to his voice which again, just adds to the zen before the horror starts. I think it’s also great when authors narrate their own stories. They are the only ones that know exactly where they want the anticipation to heighten or when to add in a softness that other narrators may not pick up on.

Overall this was amazing. There are a few differences if you compare the book and the movie. Firstly is being able to get into the thoughts of the characters more. I was able to completely understand how the mother is really into making sure that Reagan is ok after her parent’s divorce. She is very into Reagan’s life and in the beginning of Reagan’s “illness” she is trying to take Regan to everyone she can think of to get Reagan better. She even has a career opportunity that she gives up for Reagan and I don’t remember any of that coming through in the movie. Being able to hear how solid and secure she is and then watching her entire self get slowly chipped away was a huge thing that I think wasn’t in the movie. Chris is completely flabbergasted and at her wit’s end! I could feel her tension in every part of the book, even when it seems like nothing is going on that is that crazy.

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Also, there is Father Carries. He is completely unable to believe in God or Demons which creates another huge amount of tension. He’s a normal guy that is just faced with some real questions in life. Something we ALL go through.

So, I was loving the story, three hours in the intensity goes from ok, this is creepy to HOLY CRAP!! IT has started!

Going back to how the narration is done I am in love with William Peter Blatty’s voice. He has an almost guttural quality, or a scratchiness that totally lends itself to this type of book. At times his voice could be soothing and welcoming or sounding completely insane! He easily transformed between the two. The only downside is that the second narrator, Eliana Shaskan, only had small parts. I think it may have added even more if she voiced more female parts but it didn’t really take away from the story because (yet again I’m gushing here) William Peter Blatty was amazing!

As the story intensifies I did notice quite a few of the scenes were in the movie. I was pleasantly surprised because these became the iconic scenes and statements. Like when Linda Blair’s head does a 360, or when the demon is calling Regan a sow. All of the gruesomeness that I loved in the movie was there, and more! It’s a lot to pack into a two hour movie but just enough for a book. The intensity does ratchet up quite a bit but there are some down times to the plot. Kinderman is trying to figure out the crime while the priest is trying to be a psychiatrist, and the people in the house are dealing with this gruesome being that used to be a sweet little girl.

In short: This was a seriously intense but fantastically horrific listen. I was sad to see that books two is not in audio. I would buy them today!

About William Peter Blatty

William Peter Blatty is an American writer and filmmaker. He wrote the novel The Exorcist (1971) and the subsequent screenplay version for which he won an Academy Award.

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15 responses to “The Exorcist: 40th Anniversary Edition by William Peter Blatty

  1. Oooh! Me too! I’d love to listen to the audible of this one! I read the book MANY years ago. I remember I read it while sitting in a hospital ward (back when only curtains separated the beds) and when a nurse came up to check on my husband, I screamed. They asked me to quit reading that book. LOL!

  2. My Wish List is easy….I’d really like to listen to The Exorcist.
    My favorite is a little more difficult. I’m listening to Daniel O’Malley’s THE ROOK based on the recommendation of RIFFLE’s Horror Editor. It’s more fun than scary….horror lite???

  3. I haven’t read this book, but I loved the movie. Most of the horror that I’ve read is Stephen King. I need to venture out and try some other great horror authors. Great review.

  4. skinmaan

    I don’t do a lot of horror titles on audio, but I listened to the original Dracula for the first time last year. I must say I liked the book better than any movie version I’ve ever seen.

    • I was a little worried about this one with the demon voice thing but there was actually so much more so it wasn’t too scary, honestly. I was pleasantly surprised about how good it turned out! And of course the books are almost always better!

  5. I think my favorite horror audio book to date has been Let Me In by John Ajvide Lindqvist and read by Steven Pacey in that it was a gripping tale, a perfectly matched reader and completely unforgettable. But there are many others I’ve enjoyed as well. As for what I’d get, I think I’d pick up The Lesser Dead by Christopher Buehlman, since I’ve enjoyed his Between to Fires and The Necromancer’s House immensely.

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