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On this week’s annotated deep dive, The Cultists Present William Friedkin’s ‘The Exorcist’ (1973). In 1949, a boy known now as “Ronald Doe” begins acting out, ultimately becoming the recipient of a rare exorcism procedure that would one day change the course of cinematic history. In 1971, William Peter Blatty reads an article about Ronald Doe and writes a novel about a child possessed. In 1973, William Friedkin signs on to helm the transfer of Blatty’s novel-turned-screenplay into a film. A film that became so popular that movie-goers would stand in lines in the December streets just to watch it again. Now, almost 50 years after its initial release, The Exorcist has remained one of the most successful, enduring horror films of the 20th century. But what is it about this film that has captivated movie watchers for half a century? London and Benji set forth to find out.
Deep dives include: the folklore of Pazuzu; the science of Ouija Boards; film production details and effects; early Benedictine vs. modern Catholic exorcisms; and how The Exorcist franchise managed to create two entirely separate studio versions of the same prequel.
Episode Safeword: “atheism”