Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Exorcist - A Review

So, as mentioned earlier I was reading the book "The Exorcist". Since it has at least tangentially involves the Catholic Church (at least it's portrayal in the media), I'll talk about it a bit.

First, it should be noted that The Exorcist has scenes that are intensely lewd, grotesque, and sacrilegious. Maybe that should be obvious since the subject matter is demon possession. People who are deeply disturbed by violence or sexuality really should not read this book, and young people should stay away from it as well.

Secondly, it is very hard to tell exactly what the author's opinion of the Catholic Church is. He is very positive about many aspects of it, but also negative about some (homosexuality in some priests, lack of faith among clergy, etc.) Now, one might counter and say that he did a good job of balancing the Church, because we would probably be liars if we tried to claim that these things don't exist in the Church, no matter how limited.

As for the story itself, again, who really knows? While I believe in exorcism and demon possession (I think the gospels are pretty clear about it), I have very little understanding of what it actually involves. I've never met an exorcist, to my knowledge never met anyone who is/was possessed by a demon, and I've never witnessed an exorcism in person. Obviously the Church keeps pretty tight wraps on that. So, is it a realistic story or is it purely speculative fiction?
Some would argue that it was more realistic than not:

"According to Rev. Father William O'Malley (who played Father Joseph Dyer in the film), the events depicted in the film are approximately 80% true. He claims the major differences between the movie and the actual event were the gender of the subject (a boy in the case and girl in the novel) and that the possession occurred just outside DC in Cottage City, MD and not in Georgetown proper. Also, in the actual event, the boy's head did not rotate 360 degrees, though he claims that nearly everything else in the movie actually occurred." - From the bastion of truth, Wikipedia.

Whatever the case might be, it was an above average horror novel. Better than most that I have read, and will keep you up late gripping the book with your white knuckles until you collapse in exhaustion. Worth a read if you are mature enough to handle it. Now I just need to convince Seraphina to watch the movie with me.....

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