Few movies have ever reached the dreaded heights of The Exorcist. For four decades now, the William Friedkin movie has been synonymous with the genre, becoming, in a way, a symbol of all that horror is capable of achieving when it fires on all cylinders. It broke boundaries, not just narratively or technically, but culturally, embedding itself into the popular consciousness of our society in a way that horror rarely does anymore. So naturally, at least in the lexicon of Hollywood, that makes the film ripe for a reboot.
The Exorcist makes the jump from the big screen to the small screen this fall when FOX premieres its reboot of the horror classic. It’s an eyebrow raising move, to be certain, with many people rightfully wondering how the story of the movie (and the William Peter Blatty novel that inspired it) can be adequately translated for network television. But so far the buzz has been largely positive, and the trailers we’ve seen so far indicate that the Geena Davis (Me Him Her) starring adaptation will make a decent effort to update the story in a way that’s true to the spirit of its sources.
Now a new, head-turning (pun absolutely intended) image has been released that further supports this idea, giving horror fans hope that the series won’t ruin the original.
FOX released the image today via EW, and it hits all of the right notes for fans of the original - while hinting that the series won’t skirt around the things we all want to see once it hits the air. The goosebump-inducing visual serves as a reminder that FOX isn’t afraid to push boundaries of their own when they want to, and foretells of some serious potential for their upcoming series.
A play on the famous head spinning scene from the movie, it’s difficult not to feel alternating waves of terror and excitement when looking at the image of a girl sitting alone in her attic. It’s a visually striking promo that pairs well with the stunningly creepy SDCC trailer released last week. Still, any reticence you might feel about the series is valid: The Exorcist didn't become the cultural touchstone it is on creepy imagery alone. The film and the book both touched on dark fears of society of its time and was driven as much by character as it was by horror. This aspect is something a lot of modern horror directors have forgotten as more and more the genre moves towards cheap jump scares and gore to replace nuance and thought.
The series would do well to keep this in mind as it unfolds, especially considering that the imagery of the story will necessarily be toned down for television. If The Exorcist is going to be a hit, it’ll need to make its case with its characters in addition to its horror. Horror audiences are often more sophisticated than given credit for, and alienating their base with cheap tricks and cut corners could spell disaster for the series.
Still, given what we’ve seen so far, everything is at least looking solid for the upcoming television reboot. It’s a hard sell, for sure, but FOX has thus far gone out of their way to display reverence to the original while showing that this version of The Exorcist is entirely new and entirely its own thing. It’s easy enough to be cynical, but FOX seems dead set on winning over its doubters in the lead up to the series premiere, and so far the series looks like it’ll hit all the right creepy beats. There’s sure to be more coming ahead of its September premiere, and we’ll keep you posted on all Exorcist news as it’s available.
The Exorcist premieres Friday, September 23 on FOX.