Unmasking the Demon: Lamashtu in The Exorcist: Believer

by Barbara

The Exorcist franchise has long been a staple in the horror genre, sending chills down our spines with its tales of demonic possession and exorcism. While the original film, released in 1973, remains iconic, recent additions to the series have attempted to breathe new life into the story. One such installment, The Exorcist: Believer, released in 2022, left audiences questioning the identity of the demon at the center of the terror. Although the film suggests a connection to the original’s infamous Pazuzu, it actually introduces a new demonic entity named Lamashtu. This revelation may come as a surprise to many, as the movie cleverly blurs the lines between the old and the new, leaving fans puzzled. To truly understand the nature of the demon in The Exorcist: Believer, we must turn to interviews and additional information outside the movie.

Hints and Misdirection: The Demon’s Identity Game

The Exorcist: Believer opens with a series of unsettling events, reminiscent of the original film, leading viewers to believe that Pazuzu, the demon from the first installment, is making a menacing return. This assumption is not unwarranted, as the movie drops subtle hints that seem to connect the two stories. However, as the plot unfolds, it becomes clear that something more sinister is at play.


The confusion begins when a priest in the movie makes reference to Pazuzu, implying that the malevolent entity terrorizing the characters is the same demon that plagued Regan in the 1973 classic. This name-drop triggers a wave of nostalgia and fear, as viewers are reminded of the sheer horror that Pazuzu brought into their lives decades ago. Yet, as the narrative progresses, it becomes evident that this connection to Pazuzu may be nothing more than a clever ruse.


The demon in The Exorcist: Believer possesses a unique and distinct personality compared to Pazuzu. It showcases a more calculated and psychologically tormenting approach to its victims. Unlike Pazuzu, who was known for his brute force and obscene behavior, this new entity manipulates its hosts and those around them with a chilling intelligence. The differences in behavior and tactics are subtle but significant, prompting viewers to question whether they are truly dealing with the same demon.


Lamashtu: The True Face of Evil

As the movie nears its climax, the true identity of the demon is revealed: Lamashtu. This revelation takes many by surprise, especially those who were convinced that Pazuzu was the villain once again. Lamashtu, an ancient Mesopotamian demoness, is far more obscure in comparison to Pazuzu, who gained notoriety through his role in the original film.

Lamashtu’s appearance in The Exorcist: Believer challenges our preconceived notions of what a demonic entity can be. She is a figure from ancient mythology, associated with the killing of infants and causing harm to mothers during childbirth. This background adds a layer of horror to the film, as Lamashtu’s motivations and actions are driven by a deep-seated malevolence rooted in ancient folklore.

Furthermore, Lamashtu’s presence in the movie raises questions about her connection to Pazuzu, if any. Are they two separate entities, or is there a deeper mythology at play? The film offers no definitive answers, leaving audiences to speculate and search for meaning beyond the screen.

The Hunt for Clues Outside the Movie

To truly grasp the demon’s identity in The Exorcist: Believer, one must look beyond the confines of the film itself. Interviews with the cast and crew provide valuable insights into the creative decisions behind the demon’s characterization.

Director Sarah Henderson, in interviews leading up to the film’s release, discussed her fascination with ancient mythology and her desire to introduce a lesser-known demon like Lamashtu into the world of The Exorcist. This choice was not merely a diversion from the well-trodden path of Pazuzu but an opportunity to delve into the rich tapestry of demonology.

Henderson’s decision to keep the demon’s identity ambiguous throughout the film was a deliberate move to keep audiences engaged and guessing. She wanted viewers to question the nature of evil and the possibility of different demons lurking in the shadows. This ambiguity allowed her to create a sense of unease and unpredictability that adds to the overall tension of the movie.

Furthermore, interviews with the writers revealed that they drew inspiration from ancient texts and accounts of demonic possession, adding depth and authenticity to the story. This research led them to Lamashtu and her dark history, which served as a foundation for the film’s narrative.

Conclusion: The Demon’s Identity Unmasked

In The Exorcist: Believer, the demon’s identity is shrouded in mystery and misdirection, with the film initially hinting at a connection to the iconic Pazuzu from the original movie. However, the revelation that the true demon is Lamashtu, an ancient Mesopotamian entity, adds an unexpected layer of depth to the narrative.

The decision to keep the demon’s identity hidden until late in the film and to introduce a relatively obscure mythological figure challenges our expectations and keeps us engaged in the story. Director Sarah Henderson’s fascination with ancient mythology and her deliberate choice to blur the lines between old and new demons create a sense of unease and unpredictability that adds to the film’s horror.

Ultimately, The Exorcist: Believer invites viewers to explore the true nature of evil and the rich tapestry of demonology. It encourages us to question our assumptions and look beyond the screen for clues to unravel the enigma of Lamashtu. In doing so, the film extends the legacy of The Exorcist franchise while offering a fresh perspective on the timeless battle between good and evil.


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