Exorcising the past: ‘Legion’ (1983)

In this series, I look back at past entries in the “Exorcist” saga as we await word of the renewal or cancellation of the Fox TV series that continues the movie saga into modern day.

William Peter Blatty obliquely returns to the world of “The Exorcist” in “Legion” (1983), which was later adapted into the movie “Exorcist III.” Although the MacNeils are not in the novel (or even directly mentioned), Lieutenant Kinderman returns – this time as the main character – and there are other surprise tie-ins to the 1971 novel.

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Exorcising the past: ‘The Exorcist’ novel (1971)

In this series, I look back at past entries in the “Exorcist” saga as we await word of the renewal or cancellation of the Fox TV series that continues the movie saga into modern day.

I was inspired by last fall’s “Exorcist” TV series to look back at early material in the franchise. First up, of course, is “The Exorcist” novel (1971) by William Peter Blatty, who died in January at age 89 shortly after the TV series wrapped its first season. I had read this book before, on an “Exorcist” kick for the 2000 theatrical re-release, but remembered only that it was a good read. From the library I picked up the 40th anniversary edition (2011), which includes new material, but I’m not familiar enough with the original to notice the differences. (The web tells me Father Karras’ dream sequence is the most notable new scene. Most of the 40 additional pages of material comes from added dialog for the sake of pacing. Blatty never got a chance to write a second draft of the original publication, and he always felt it could use a polish.)

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First episode impressions: ‘The Exorcist’

It’s hard to imagine what new ground can be broken in the “Exorcist” universe, which has spawned five movies and two William Peter Blatty novels. But creator Jeremy Slater, who penned last year’s solid horror movie “The Lazarus Effect,” is giving it a shot anyway with a TV series version of “The Exorcist” (9 p.m. Fridays on Fox). While there’s no sign after one episode of what that new ground will be, the pilot itself is enjoyable for what it is.

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