Remember the movie, The Exorcist? The adolescent Regan McNeil (Linda Blair) levitates, vomits, and speaks in tongues. Her mother, Chris McNeil (Ellen Burstyn), eventually finds solace within Catholicism. Since her daughter's possessed, the woman urges two priests into her home. Their faith is tested beyond belief, but they perform a successful exorcism. Authors like Stephen King and Dean Koontz provide a thrill; however, The Exorcist molds horror. Its writer, William Peter Blatty, introduces supernatural entities to the world. Without him, the scare of ghosts or demonic forces harnesses little potency.
RIP William Peter Blatty, who wrote the great horror novel of our time. So long, Old Bill.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) January 13, 2017
While the 70s reminds Americans of Richard Nixon's resignation, the Beatles' rift, and the Vietnam War, Blatty offers an escape. When the president is embroiled in scandal, icons disband, and soldiers die, citizens need relief. Blatty's genius couldn't come at a better time.
It's the 21st Century now, but people don't forget. As individuals inaugurate President-elect Donald J. Trump into office, Blatty leaves Earth for his permanent vacation. At the age of 89, he passed away on January 12, 2017. Unfortunately, the United States kickstarts a new year with two losses: President Barack Obama and William Peter Blatty. Hopefully, better days are ahead.
Blatty's no longer alive, but his legacy forever lives. His other screenplays -- A Shot in the Dark (1964), Legion (1983), and Exorcist III (1990) -- leave a remarkable impact on the motion-picture industry.
Aside from his career, his six (of seven) children survive him: Paul William Blatty, Michael Blatty, William Peter Blatty Jr., Christine Charles, Mary Joanne Blatty, and Jennifer Blatty. They're grown, and their own daughters and sons are parents, too. Who knows? Maybe one of his great-grandchildren will honor their great-grandfather with the ultimate testament: an Exorcist adaptation.
Better yet, s/he should develop a farce. Like Blatty states, "And the sad truth is that nobody wants me to write comedy." People would benefit from a chuckle or two, including Blatty.