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‘The Devil Inside’ Explores The Legacy of ‘The Exorcist’

The Devil Inside is a sharp, hard-nosed aesthetic and cultural investigation into what everybody was throwing up about fifty years ago. It succeeds as criticism, history, and social analysis.”

— Charles Taylor, film critic at Esquire, and author of Opening
Wednesday at a Theater or Drive-In Near You

In 1973, The Exorcist left moviegoers gripping their rosary beads, vomiting in their popcorn buckets, and fainting in the sticky aisles. Cynically marketed as a cursed production based on a “true story,” The Exorcist quickly became one of the most controversial films ever released. With its groundbreaking special effects, relentless pace, and terrifying finale, the film revolutionized the horror genre and paved the way for future blockbusters.

In The Devil Inside, Carlos Acevedo goes beyond the myths to examine the national uproar The Exorcist caused, as well as the dark, real-world effects it had on a jittery audience. Until now, books about The Exorcist have largely perpetuated its legends while overlooking its cultural background. The Devil Inside places the film in its cinematic and social context—as a product of the New Hollywood, when maverick directors hijacked the film industry, and as part of the supernatural trends of the times, when the occult permeated music, books, and movies.

From the original possession case that inspired the novel to the troubled production to the conflicts on the set to the uptick in demands for actual exorcisms, The Devil Inside sheds new light on a shocking phenomenon that has remained a pop-culture touchstone for fifty years. 


Absolutely fascinating! Carlos Acevedo takes us step by step from the ‘true life’ inspiration to the novel to the movie to the global
feeding frenzy. He cuts through myths and embellishments, shares terrific backstage stories and bios, and offers his own first-rate film
criticism. This rich work of cultural history is both highly informative and wildly entertaining.

— Christopher Bram, author of Gods and Monsters

“For far too long The Exorcist has been in the domain of hacks and hagiographies. In The Devil Inside, Carlos Acevedo offers a truly
critical probe into one of the most unusual cinematic releases in history. Unsparing, fair, and eloquent, Acevedo leaves no stone unturned
as he sloughs off decades of PR bunk and challenges the (it turns out) numerous myths promulgated by Messrs. Friedkin and Blatty.
Scrupulous and panoramic, The Devil Inside delves into the original possession case that inspired the film, recounts its infamous production,
and analyzes its extraordinary impact on an unsuspecting America. Acevedo shows once again, as he has long shown in his masterful boxing writing, that he is a peerless prose stylist and synthesizer of ideas.”

― Sean Nam, contributor to Cineaste, and
author of Murder on Federal Street



CARLOS ACEVEDO is the author of Sporting Blood: Tales from the Dark Side of Boxing, The Duke: The Life and Lies of Tommy Morrison, and the forthcoming American Hellfire: Cults, Killings, Possessions, and Hoaxes of the Satanic Age, all from Hamilcar Publications. He lives in Brooklyn.

HAMILCAR PUBLICATIONS is a Boston-based publisher focused on professional boxing, true crime, hip-hop, jazz, and more. Our books appeal to fans of these fascinating, often-intersecting worlds as well as to readers who are simply passionate about great nonfiction storytelling and beautiful book design.

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