The Exorcist — FOX's TV adaptation of William Friedkin’s 1973 horror classic — was given a spine-chilling trailer at this year's Comic-Con, but if that wasn't enough to get you on board with the reboot, don't worry: FOX has released yet another creepy visual to put you in the right (er, backwards?) headspace. The new The Exorcist poster pays homage to the original film's most unforgettable scene, and it's as terrifying as it's indicative of what lies ahead for the show.
The Exorcist film was already an adaptation, based on William Peter Blatty's novel of the same name. The film version remained fairly faithful to the book, and centered around the demonic possession of 12-year-old Regan MacNeil, as well as the priest who attempts to exorcise the demon out of her. Though the classic is filled to the brim with iconic scenes, the poster alludes to a pretty important one in particular: The scene where a possessed Regan turns her head all the way around in the type of contortionist maneuver that can only be described as inhuman. The image has haunted the psyches of its audience for decades, and just one look at the TV reboot's reimagining of it, will remind you why.
In case you need refreshing, watch the head turning scene from the original Exorcist film below:
It's challenging to not feel a bevy of differing and contradicting emotions when looking at the poster, and more broadly, thinking about the reboot. Fear. (Obviously.) Anxiety about whether or not the TV show will ruin the original, or even more interestingly, surpass it in some way. Certainly the promo does what it should — that is, reference the original, but hint at all the ways in which the TV show will differ. (The special effects for one, will be superior.) It's a fine line to balance for any reboot, but for something as iconic as The Exorcist, it's going to be extra tough. The Exorcist didn't become a classic film because it was scary. It became a classic film because it highlighted fears that were deeply ingrained in the culture of the 1970s. If the TV show can hit those same chords with a modern audience, then it just might be destined for success.
Considering that The Exorcist will be a network television show, it's fair to have all these hesitations. For starters, how Fox handles the serialization of the story will be a challenge. The show needs to not only posit itself as something that's entirely separate from the original film, but also needs to be constantly aware of how utterly iconic its roots are — and it needs to do all of this for a weary audience that's already scrutinizing its every move.
Luckily, this poster seems to be a step in the right direction. We'll see how the rest unfolds when The Exorcist premiers September 23.
Images: Warner Bros.