Horror News Network is sad to announce the death of The Exorcist writer William Peter Blatty. The news was announced today by collaborator and friend William Friedkin on twitter. Friedkin directed the adaptation of Blatty’s novel which was scripted by Blatty himself.
The Exorcist is considered by many experts as the greatest horror film of all time. The supernatural shocker captivated audiences in 1973 and currently sits at number nine on the all-time box office list (when adjusted for inflation). The film not only terrified movie goers, but also inadvertently increased attendance at local churches around the country and the world, putting “the fear of God (or more likely Pazuzu)” into lapsed Catholics everywhere.
Blatty also wrote a sequel to the Exorcist in 1983 called Legion. He would go on to adapt and direct the story in the form of the film The Exorcist III. Although the film was not initially well received by critics or fans in 1990, it has since been given new life by those who have warmed to the differences between the classic original and Blatty’s direct sequel.
The Fox Network recently adapted the Exorcist into a television series, using Blatty’s work as the source material. The show’s creator Jeremy Slater spoke about the tough task of adapting a classic and said that Blatty was “…incredibly excited. We can’t wait for him to come visit on set because this really is his baby. This is the world he created and right now we’re just trying to do it justice.”
William Peter Blatty was 89 years old. He will certainly be missed by every horror fan who ever read one of his novels or watched his ground breaking film.