Tag Archives: The Exorcist

“Where certain fungal infections are common…”

61. Come Closer – Sara Gran

Extremely short at 168 pages, and not a young adult book, this was a bit of a surprise take on possession – from the inside.

The demon has apparently been fond of Amanda since she was a young child but didn’t try to take full possession then. She waited. Then, once Amanda was basically getting her shit together, she pounced.

One of the amusing parts of the book involves the failure of self-help for Amanda. She finds Demon Possession Past and Present, a book that has a checklist and levels of how possessed one may be. As she becomes more and more possessed, she isn’t allowed to read books that might have helped her, she even finds that she’s burned several of them in her fireplace. The doctor recommended by her husband tells her to eat more salt and turns out to be possessed too – somehow salt makes the demon stronger in this story as opposed to being a purifying element and something demons can’t cross. The psychiatrist recommended by the doctor before she knows the doctor is possessed is also concerned as to why she wouldn’t want to be more active in her own life, taking control, doing weird stupid stuff that’s detrimental to her health and relationships but also more active…he’s possessed too.

And for once in a possession story, there’s no fight. No holy water. No “The power of Christ compels you!” Just a girl and the demon that tells her she’ll never leave her.

Peregrine is the pig that will never leave me. She’s not even a demon; she’s just nice that way.

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The body of an angel and the head of a wood owl

  1. My Best Friend’s Exorcism – Grady Hendrix

Hendrix has definitely made some novelist progress since Horrorstor. There are many details in My Best Friend’s Exorcism that really work – the descriptions of Charleston and summer activities in the south in general, the extreme specifics of cassette destruction, and lots and lots of fluids (although I can’t say I ever associated pickles with cadaver labs and I frankly don’t want to, I’ve never thought formalin and pickles had a similar scent either). The description of Margaret in her bed was stomach churning. And I very deeply understood what Abby’s mom was on about when she told her that her rich friends would use her as a scapegoat. I understand that position better than I ever wanted to, the powerful trying to keep the powerless in their place. The book also reads like a shot and I did stay up to keep going to find a non-paranoia inducing scene the second night I was reading it. I have very specific memories of the first time I watched The Exorcist that were invoked reading this (damn it, Regan-me similarities, you still bother me!) and those never make me feel comfortable going to sleep. My imagination is very strong and will not be denied.

On the other hand, the sense that I was being told too many things bothered me at several points. These characters were stronger than the ones in Horrorstor, but they’re still being written with a sense of remove – like they were conceptualized as types and not people and there’s some fight against that but the distance won. The exorcism itself also didn’t work for me; it seemed to go by really quickly and there was a lot of time and build up of what was going on with Gretchen that just didn’t square with the way the exorcism happened. Maybe if WHAM! had been involved instead of Phil Collins. You know Phil Collins made some kind of deal…you know it.

“The power of Phil is not compelling, Belvedere! I didn’t even like ‘Sussudio’!” Pickles will not be exorcised. She was never possessed, so it makes sense.

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Such an interesting monster should have an interesting hairdo.

20. The Monster of Florence – Douglas Preston & Mario Spezi

If you go to Florence, try not to get accused of murder. They have this guy who likes to throw blame in a sensational manner and he will tap your phone and stick listening devices in your car and accuse you of joining ancient, secret cults, and listen to this lady who runs a conspiracy website over you. And don’t purchase a doorstop. Because Mr. “Satanic Roundtable Cult of Doorstop Owners” will totally try to persecute you…he did it to Douglas Preston, Mario Spezi, and Amanda Knox over two different murder cases. I think he may have seen Suspiria one too many times. And internalized The Exorcist. What’s that noise in the attic? Obviously it’s Satan. Someone was murdered? Obviously Satan, or someone playing ritualized sex games to worship Satan. I have cold. It must be Satan. That cult must have thrown some sort of mucous causing spell at me so that Satan would give me a summer cold. If one is in tune with reality it is possible to see how little Satan has to do with the murders tied to the long-running unsolved case of the Monster of Florence or the murder of Meredith Kercher. Until recently, I could not fathom how people who were so terrible at their jobs were allowed to keep them, now I see it happens all over the world.

On a side note, Thomas Harris (as in Silence of the Lambs Thomas Harris) was present during the trial of one of the accused Monsters of Florence, he was doing research for his novel Hannibal. The film version of Hannibal used the house of a count who spoke to Douglas Preston about the Monster of Florence case… And the film version of Silence of the Lambs uses the song “Goodbye Horses” by Q Lazarus and Marcus Garvey during a pivotal scene that everyone remembers for some very serious dancing. My guinea pigs tend toward not liking music of any kind. However, one night after I nearly won a quiz because I knew that “Goodbye Horses” was from Silence of the Lambs I played it in near-triumph and who should pop up out of his cage but – Danger Crumples! He twitched his little head much like the dramatic prairie dog and seemed to be very intrigued… I think we all see how clear the connections are. Danger Crumples is the true Monster of Florence. Guinea pigs. Serial murderers, the lot of ‘em. I should take away his little wooden bridge, it’s obviously a time traveling device…for Satan!

Il mostro? Moi?

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