Washington D.C., Jan 13, 2017 / 17:06 pm
William Peter Blatty, whose fictionalized vision of demonic possession and Catholic exorcism transfixed a great swath of the American public, died on Thursday.
In the 1960s he became a novelist and screenwriter, with only modest success. But then his 1971 novel The Exorcist portrayed the demonic possession of a 12-year-old girl and her exorcism by two Catholic priests. He had drawn inspiration from a 1949 Washington Post story about a Jesuit priest's successful exorcism of a 14-year-old boy in Mount Ranier, Maryland.
For Blatty, the point of his the story was "that God exists and the universe itself will have a happy ending."
The book sold 13 million copies. Blatty wrote the screenplay for the movie, which became a blockbuster whose disturbing imagery and depiction of supernatural evil helped redefine the horror genre and the American religious imagination.