File under things nobody asked for, Morgan Creek has announced a reboot of the 1973 horror classic The Exorcist slated for 2021. The news is somewhat surprising being that The Exorcist is considered to be The Godfather of horror movies. Many consider it to be the scariest film of all time. In its 47 year history, it has undergone director’s cuts, re-releases, sequels, series, and a video game. Though a reboot seems like the natural step, it feels that whatever an audience would get at this point couldn’t possibly match the expectation it needs to exceed.
One can only surmise that the recent revival of Halloween has something to do with this. Halloween‘s 2018 reboot, which saw the disintegration of all sequels after the original, grossed nearly $160 million domestically on a $10 million budget. The original release of The Exorcist did better than anyone predicted back in 1973, costing $11 million to make and earning $193 million domestically. The following director’s and extended cuts only adding to its all-time gross of $441 million.
The Exorcist sequels didn’t fare as well at the box office but hold a special place in horror lovers’ hearts. The Exorcist III, written and directed by William Peter Blatty, was given the Scream Factory treatment (the equivalent of Criterion editions for cult horror) back in 2016. Blatty was the author of the book The Exorcist, the catalyst for the franchise.
More recently, The Exorcist underwent TV treatment in 2016. The continued battle between Reagan and Pazuzu on the small screen saw middling results. Though well-received critically, viewership declined severely in its second season resulting in its cancellation.
Finally, The Exorcist found its way into your gaming platforms. The Exorcist: Legion VR began releasing episodes in 2017 to some acclaim. The first episode put you in the shoes of a detective investigating a gruesome murder inside a church and was a genuinely frightening experience. From then on, it got rather tame in my opinion. After the first episode, the game wasn’t as frightening and a couple of times laughable.
Though part of me is curious to see what a 2021 reboot of The Exorcist will be like, most of me knows it won’t even come close to comparing to the original. There’s no way half of what happens in that movie could even be fathomable by today’s standards. Then there’s the lore surrounding the film itself. Evangelist Billy Graham told his audiences that seeing the film on a projector was an invitation for demonic possession. Morgan Creek may need a new evangelist to help build that kind of hype.
The reboot has only just been announced—we will update you with more as production commences.