Pazuzu (The Exorcist)

Pazuzu (The Exorcist)

Pazuzu is a fictional character and the main antagonist from "The Exorcist" horror novels and film series. Created by William Peter Blatty, the demon appears in all five films and two novels and is commonly recognizable in the film "The Exorcist" for possessing Regan MacNeil, although it is often misidentified by the public and press as being Devil himself. Wizard magazine listed it as the second greatest villain of all time in 2006.

Pazuzu is often depicted as a combination of animal and human parts with its right hand pointing upwards and its left hand downwards. It has the body of a man, the head of a lion or dog, eagle-like taloned feet, two pairs of wings, a scorpion's tail, and a serpentine penis.



Pazuzu first appeared in William Peter Blatty's "The Exorcist" in 1973. [Warner Bros. copyright date; release date of 1974] The novel is about a young girl, Regan MacNeil, possessed by a demon. The demon is later revealed to be Pazuzu, the demon whose statue was found in northern Iraq by Father Merrin. After Regan's mother worries about her daughter being possessed, Merrin and Karras arrive at her house and performs an exorcism on Regan and successfully brings the demon out of Regan's body. But along with this, both priests die in the end.

Pazuzu returned in "Legion", wanting to take back revenge from being thrown out of Regan's body. He does this by driving the Gemini Killer's soul into Father Karras's dead body. Although not directly identified as Pazuzu, the Gemini Killer refers to 'others' who would see his work continue. In the end of the novel, the Gemini Killer leaves the body of Father Karras when Kinderman accepts that he is in fact the Gemini Killer, satisfied that his work has been recognized and his past avenged.


Two years after the novel was published, Pazuzu debuted on the silver screen in "The Exorcist". The film was adapted from Blatty's novel, who wrote the screenplay for the film himself. In the beginning of the film, Father Merrin seeks Pazuzu in Iraq, where he finds a ruined statue of the demon. Pazuzu was referred as Captain Howdy early in the film, an affectionate name that Regan appears to have created prior to its gaining of her trust and completely taking her over. Pazuzu is ultimately exorcized out of Regan's body after Merrin dies of a heart attack, and Father Karras sacrifices himself by luring Pazuzu into his body and hurling himself though a window and down a flight of stairs.

In "", Pazuzu returns to haunt Regan, even though she moved out of Georgetown, the setting where "The Exorcist" took place. There are flashbacks of Merrin battling the demon in Regan, and also flashbacks of Merrin's exorcism of Pazuzu from a boy named Kokumo in Africa many years earlier. In the end of the film, Regan and Father Lamont return to Georgetown where she was possessed, and Pazuzu tempts Lamont by offering him unlimited power. However, he resists and later cuts out its heart. Afterwards, Regan banishes the locusts that were in the room, and Pazuzu possesses Sharon. Its plans backfired, though, because Sharon kills herself.

"The Exorcist III" takes place fifteen years after the original film, ignoring the previous sequel. Lieutenant Kinderman, who was also in the original film, has been on a murder case about mysterious deaths done by an anonymous person. It is later found out that Satan (or Pazuzu claiming to be Satan) convinced the Gemini Killer, who died at the same time asFather Karras, to inhabit his body as punishment for saving Regan. However, as result of his suicide, his brain was severally damaged, which demons/spirits need when they possess a body. The Gemini Killer spent years stimulating his brain so he would be of use, and then began committing murders by possessing the bodies of the other inhabitants of the hospital where Karras had been staying. In the end of the movie after a turbulent exorcism is done, Karras regains control of the body and asks Kinderman to kill him, which he does by shooting him in the head, keeping him from being possessed again. Although Karras/Gemini Killer show supernatural abilites and later a demonic appearance, he was not a demon and Pazuzu was never directly mentioned as being the antagonist of the movie.

In ' and ', Pazuzu is shown in his first encounter with Father Merrin in Africa in the duel that "nearly kills Merrin," referenced in the very first movie. Although the plot of both of these versions center around Merrin's African exorcism many years earlier, they take a sharp departure from the original scenes in "" where Merrin exorcises a young boy named Kokumo. No effort was made to keep the stories consistent beyond that central idea.

Concept and creation

William Peter Blatty's creation of Pazuzu and "The Exorcist" were based on reported events in Maryland of the possession of a 14-year-old teenager named John Hoffman. Blatty, who was a student at Georgetown University, read about the story in Washington, DC newspapers in 1949 and created "The Exorcist" twenty years later. [ [ The Exorcist ] ]

Make-up effects

There are several scenes in which the viewer can see the face of a demon flashing quickly on the screen in "The Exorcist". The demon mask used in the movie "Onibaba" (1964) inspired William Friedkin to use a similar design for the makeup in the shots. In each of the shots, the demon Pazuzu is played by Linda Blair's stunt double, Eileen Dietz. Dietz, who underwent makeup tests for the "possessed Regan", wore one of the alternate make-ups in her role as the demon.

In popular culture

Pazuzu has been featured in numerous spoofs/parodies. A notable example is "Scary Movie 2", in which the scenes of the exorcism of Regan are spoofed in the prologue. The character was also spoofed in the film "Repossessed"; Linda Blair starred in the film and reprised her role as the demon.


External links

*imdb character|0003864

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