FOX’s new genre series “The Exorcist” premiered Friday (Sept. 23). It’s the latest trend of movie-to-TV adaptations that aim to tell a different story than what the iconic films conveyed. That’s not to say that the new series misses the mark — those final moments in the episode, titled “Chapter One: Let My Cry Come Unto Thee,” really make up for some of the slower beats.
Still, with the iconic prowess that William Friedkin’s classic 1973 movie has on popular culture as a whole, one has to wonder what connections are made between the new small-screen iteration of the classic horror film. Aside from the vastly different story this time out, there are little gems that pay homage to the 43-year-old film.
The hat stylings of Father Merrin
Stylistically, “The Exorcist” does shout-out its predecessor in a few cool ways. The first that’s pretty evident is the Father Marcus Keane’s (Ben Daniels) choice of head coverings. Much like Father Merrin (Max Von Sydow) before him, he’s sporting a pretty basic-looking fedora.
Combine that with his all black everything, the imagery conveys a nice update from the original visuals seen in the film.
Demonic possession of young girl
In the film, Father Merrin runs into a demon named Pazuzu when on an archeological dig in Iraq. In the new series, Father Marcus Keane is shown performing an intense exorcism in Mexico. Both beginnings provide an international flair for the weathered priest, and both stories end up teaming up the experienced man (Keane) with a rookie preacher by the name of Father Thomas Ortega (Alfonso Herrera).
As we see in the final moments of the first episode, this new demon finds its home in another unfortunate young girl.
The Georgetown Steps
The most glaring reference to the original movie happened at the halfway point of Friday’s episode and if you blinked, you may have missed it. It transpired when Father Ortega sat down to do some research about exorcisms. After looking up info on Father Keane, he happened upon a news story that shows an image of the now famous Georgetown Steps.
At the very end of “The Exorcist,” Pazuzu takes the life of Father Merrin only to have Father Karras (Jason Miller) go to one final length to save Regan’s (Linda Blair) life. Inviting the demon into his body, he proceeds to throw himself from the bedroom window and topples to his death down that ominous staircase.
Finally, it really wouldn’t be “The Exorcist” without Mike Oldfield’s iconic music. Keeping the audience waiting until the final moments of the premiere episode, we were eventually treated to the eerie soundtrack that continues to send chills down peoples’ spines four decades later.
“The Exorcist” airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.