Offscreen Notes

William Peter Blatty, RIP, (January 7, 1928 – January 12, 2017)

January 17th, 2017

American author and filmmaker William Peter Blatty has died at the age of 89. Blatty’s novel The Exorcist is perhaps the single most influential and defining horror creation of the 20th century. With the recent reboot of the classic tale of religious and psychological horror as a television series, Blatty’s influence continues strong into the 21st century. Even though the creative history between the Roman Catholic Blatty, and the director of the adaptation, William Friedkin, an atheist Jew, was fraught with differences both spiritual and aesthetic, in the end it was a perfect marriage. A perfect union of two creative minds who, over the years, came to understand and appreciate their creative differences. Blatty was also a film director of considerable talent, especially his uniquely operatic and theatrical debut film, The Ninth Configuration. The Ninth Configuration was based on a novel by Blatty and adapted by him to the screen as a novel blend of psychological art therapy horror. The film is wonderfully literate, visually sophisticated and blessed with one of the most remarkable male casts of character actors ever put together: Stacey Keach, Jason Miller, Scott Wilson, Neville Brand, Ed Flanders, Moses Gunn, Robert Loggia, Joe Spinell, Alejandro Rey, Tom Atkins, and Richard Lynch. And then there is The Exorcist 3 and the hospital corridor scene. Perhaps the single greatest jump scare in horror history. Blatty’s place in the horror pantheon is secure.

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