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Pazuzu

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The Exorcist character
Pazuzu
Pazuzu
Classification: Demon
Location Hell
Known relatives
Signature weapon Possession, physical and psychological torture
First appearance: The Exorcist
Created by: William Peter Blatty
Portrayed by: Billy Crawford (when possessing Cheche)
Mary Beth Hurt (voice from Cheche)
Joey Green (when possessing Kokumo
Linda Blair and Karen Knapp (when possessing Regan MacNeil)
Eileen Dietz (face of Pazuzu, and segments as Regan)
Mercedes McCambridge (voice from Regan)
Jason Miller (when possessing Damien Karras)
Colleen Dewhurst (voice from Damien)

Pazuzu is the name of a very powerful demon that is the most prominent antagonist of the Exorcist series of films. Based upon the demon of religious lore, Pazuzu is depicted as being a very high-tier demon that serves as king of the demons of the wind. Within the series, Pazuzu's archenemy is Father Lankester Merrin, a gifted priest who battled with the demon himself for the lives of more than one of Pazuzu's victims and ultimately gave his life in the effort to free a little girl, Regan MacNeil, from Pazuzu's grasp. Though Pazuzu masquerades as his master, Lucifer, Merrin recognizes his old enemy as the demon recognizes (and fears) him. To attack his enemies, Pazuzu typically employs not only physical pain but also psychological attacks crafted from Pazuzu's reading of the victim's past.

History

Origin

Being a Judeo-Christian demon, Pazuzu was created as an angel to worship and serve God. After rebelling against God with Lucifer, God banished them and all their cohorts from Heaven, and they became demons. As a demon, Pazuzu sought to violate and destroy God's favored creation, humans.

He took the form of a pale skinned human-like ghoul, with brown irises, sagging lower eyelids, and yellow teeth. Sects of humans who worshipped him as a deity depicted him in statues with stubby horns, sharp teeth, two pairs of eagle-like wings, and a long, serpentine penis.

Pazuzu, along with the rest of his demonic brethren, was given limited power to alter what God had created, but not to create. He could cause levitation, and psychically alter humans' perceptions of what they saw and heard. He could imitate and mimic the sound of any human and animal with precise detail, including all manner of languages and accents, and loud, terrifying animal bellows.

Perhaps, being a demon, Pazuzu's greatest ability was the complete overtaking of a human or animal victim, known as possession. A demon's plan of attack in possessing a human was to search for an individual with a spiritual weakness. Then they would begin infestation, by taking residence in their victim's home. Slowly, and methodically, they would then begin oppressing their victim until they had completely broken down their defenses, at which point the demon could enter the victim's body, taking it over as a vessel. It was not uncommon for multiple demons to reside within a single victim.

Pazuzu was a violently cruel and blasphemous being, uttering all manner of profane language and behavior. He would often cause his victims to vomit, sometimes in projectile streams.

Plaguing Africa

Pazuzu plagued Africa with swarms of possessed locusts. As the king of the wind demons, this was a fitting exertion of Pazuzu's power, as the locusts rode on the back of the wind to spread Pazuzu's influence across the continent. It was here however that Pazuzu would eventually meet what would become his greatest enemy on the Earth.

Meeting Lankester Merrin

At some point about twelve years before the events of The Exorcist, Pazuzu took hold of a young African boy named Kokumo, transforming the boy into a violent and unrecognizable shadow of his former self. It was then that Pazuzu's path crossed that of Father Lankester Merrin, who was called to attempt to exorcise the demon from the boy. After a months-long battle of wills with the demon that nearly killed Merrin, Pazuzu was ejected from Kokumo's body as Pazuzu departed, forced out by Merrin's strength of will and his resolve to save the boy from damnation. This encounter caused Pazuzu to fear Merrin to an extent, and the demon never forgot Merrin's triumph over him as he fled.

The Possession of Regan MacNeil
Pazuzu-Regan
Pazuzu in possession of Regan MacNeil.

Eventually, Pazuzu, having been vanquished twelve years prior by Lankester Merrin, was ready for a final showdown with him. When 12 year-old Regan MacNeil began using a Ouija board she had found in her basement, Pazuzu, along with at least two demon cohorts, answered her call. Pazuzu identified himself to Regan as "Captain Howdy". Regan, being an unbeliever in God, and currently going through emotional distress from her parents' divorce, was set up for demonic oppression.

Pazuzu and his cohorts took residence within Regan's house, and began scratching at the walls and attic floor. Regan's mother, Chris, investigated her attic one night when she heard the scratchings, believing they were coming from rats. She searched around with a candle, and to frighten her Pazuzu made the candle's flame flare up before Chris' face. Slowly but surely, Pazuzu increased his hold over Regan, causing her personality to take a dramatic shift into violence just as Kokumo had done before her. After a series of bizarre events involving Regan's new personality took place, her mother decided to seek a medical remedy from the field of medicine, believing her condition to be a physical malady without considering spiritual turbulence. After all medical possibilities were exhausted, Chris MacNeil was advised by the doctors to have an exorcism performed on Regan and sought the counsel of the skeptical Father Damien Karras, a psychiatrist and priest who was undergoing a crisis of faith while also dealing with the loss of his mother.

Damien met with Regan at the request of her mother (hearing one instance of expressed fear of someone named "Merrin" from the demon's mouth), and though he remained skeptical due to his shaken faith, he sought permission from the Church to have an exorcism performed on Regan. One of the few known exorcists with experience was Lankester Merrin, now famous for his ordeal with Pazuzu twelve years prior. Merrin arrived in Georgetown and, with the assistance of Father Karras, began the ritual to drive the demon out of Regan's body. The ordeal escalated as the two old enemies battled once more for yet another life. While Merrin was fairly immune to Pazuzu's psychological attacks due to his prior experience with the demon in Africa, Pazuzu sought to exploit Father Karras' lingering guilt over the death of his mother in an attempt to undermine the exorcism. After Karras showed signs of faltering due to the demon's psychological torture, Merrin, weakened by his frail health, attempted to confront the demon alone, but suffered a fatal heart attack at the hands of the demon's power. Though Karras returned and attempted to revive Merrin, Pazuzu, still in possession of Regan, merely giggled. At this, Karras viciously assaulted the possessed girl, challenging the demon to enter his body instead in an attempt to coax it out of Regan. Eventually, Pazuzu took the bait and left Regan's body, possessing Karras instead. Karras was able to regain control long enough however to throw himself from Regan's bedroom window and down a long flight of stone steps, resulting in fatal injuries to his body and depriving Pazuzu a functioning body to inhabit. With this, it is presumed that with his defeat, Pazuzu was forced back to Hell.

Exorcism of the Gemini Killer from Damien Karras

Though Pazuzu's plan to destroy Regan MacNeil was thwarted by Lankester Merrin and Damien Karras, the vengeful demon decided, before being sent back to the pit of Hell, to exact revenge upon Karras. To this end, Pazuzu entreated the departing spirit of a serial killer, the Gemini Killer, who was killed at the same time as Father Karras, to attach itself to the dying body of Karras. Though Karras' fall had caused serious brain damage and he was buried, the presence of the Gemini Killer's soul kept the body (and thus Karras) alive but held hostage. He escaped Karras' grave and wandered the streets before being found, amnesiac and lost, and committed to a psychiatric ward. For 15 years, the Gemini Killer had possession of Karras' body, and the wounds inflicted on Karras' body by the fall healed. Due to Karras' confinement, the killer's spirit would flit in and out of Karras to take possession of other residents of the ward to commit murders in the same fashion as the killer did in life.

Eventually, Lieutenant Kinderman traced the killings to the ward and discovered, to his great shock, Karras' presence there. After discovering the truth of how the Gemini Killer was committing the murders, Kinderman was able to help Karras regain control of his body long enough for Damien to plead with Kinderman to kill him and end the killer's hold over him. Kinderman complied with Karras' final request, shooting him in the head and breaking the killer's hold over Karras, allowing the priest to move on and for the killer to go where he was originally destined to have gone, Hell.

Legacy

Pazuzu had accomplished the diabolical goal of destroying countless humans' lives through the ages. Pazuzu would come to be banished to Hell forever, never again to torment a human soul.

Known possessed victims

  • Cheche
  • Kokumo
  • Regan MacNeil
  • Damien Karras
  • Creepy Christ Statue (possible while in the church in the opening of The Exorcist III)

Known murdered victims

  • Burke Dennings
  • Lankester Merrin

Quotes

  • "You're a weak vessel." - while possessing Cheche.
  • "I will destroy you." - in Cheche.
  • "I will kill you both." - from Cheche, to Lankester Merrin, referring to both Cheche and Merrin.
  • "Keep away! The sow is mine!" - referring to his newest victim, Regan MacNeil, and Legion's millennia-past banishment into a herd of swine by Jesus.
  • "Do you know what she did? Your cunting daughter?" - Pazuzu to Chris MacNeil, projecting a hallucination of Regan's head twisting around backwards, and impersonating Burke Dennings, whom Pazuzu had murdered by snapping his head around backwards.
  • "I'm not Regan." "Well, then let's introduce ourselves. I'm Damien Karras." "And I'm the Devil. Now kindly undo these straps." "If you're the Devil, why not make the straps disappear?" "That's much too vulgar a display of power, Karras." - Pazuzu and Damien Karras' first encounter.
  • "Can you help an old alter boy, father?" - impersonating the derelict Karras had seen days before.
  • "Your mother is sit here with us Karras. Would you like to leave a message? I'll see that she gets it." - Trying to convince Karras that his recently deceased mother's soul went to Hell.
  • "What an excellent day for an exorcism." "You would like that?" "Intensely." "But wouldn't that drive you out of Regan?" "It would bring us together." "You and Regan?" "You and us." - Pazuzu and Damien Karras, of the demons' eventual possession of Karras.
  • "How long do you plan to stay in Regan?" "Until She lies stinking in the earth. What's that?" "Holy Water." "You keep it away. Ah, it burns! It burns!" - Karras and Pazuzu, who pretends to be burned by normal tap water, to cast doubt of his authentic presence.
  • "Nowanami, nowanami!" - proclaiming "I am no one, I am no one!", backwards, when asked for his identity by Damien Karras.
  • "Merrrrin!" - demanding a showdown with Lankester Merrin.
  • "Your mother suck cocks in Hell, you faithless slime!" - to Karras during his exorcism.
  • "You killed your mother! You left her alone to die! Bastard!" - convicting Damien Karras.
  • "No. He's mine, he's chosen me. Puzuzu's Regan is the only Regan. Be joined with us, Father. Kill her."
  • "No, once the wings have brushed you, you're mine forever."
  • "Kill her, we command you." - Pazuzu commanding Lamont to kill Regan.
  • "You again. You've interrupted me. Well, come in, Father Morning. Enter, knight. This time you're going to lose." - while possessing Damien Karras.

Behind the scenes

  • From Pazuzu's line referring to Regan as a sow, it is possible he was among Legion, the demon horde that was exorcised from a man by Jesus and sent into a herd of swine.

Appearances

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