The Exorcist (film series)
THE EXORCIST (18)
D: William Friedkin
Warner Bros. (William Peter Blatty)
USA 🇺🇸 1973
W: William Peter Blatty [based on his novel]
DP: Owen Roizman & Billy Williams
Ed: Norman Gay, Jordan Leondopolous, Evan Lottman & Bud Smith
Mus: Jack Nitzsche (& Mike Oldfield)
PD: Bill Malley
Ellen Burstyn (Chris McNeil), Max Von Sydow (Father Merrin), Jason Miller (Father Karras), Lee J. Cobb (Lt. Kinderman), Linda Blair (Regan McNeil), Mercedes McCambridge (voice)
One of the most iconic horror films of all time and deservedly so, faithfully adapted by William Peter Blatty from his own best-selling novel.
Chris McNeil (Burstyn) doesn't quite know where to turn when her 12-year-old daughter, Regan (Blair) is seemingly possessed by a malicious demon. She turns to a young priest, who enlists the help of an elderly priest with experience dealing with the occult, as they both try to rid the evil manifestation from the girl's soul.
All the performances in this horror classic combine dramatic reactions with those of sheer horror, whilst technical special effects provide for the more grizzly scenes such as Regan's head turning 180 degrees and penetrating herself with a crucifix whilst her bed levitates.
Director William Friedkin expertly captures the atmosphere of the book and presents one helluva scary movie. Perhaps it's impact is lessened with the wake of the goreporn horror, but considering this film is over 40 years old, it really has to be respected. Two sequels followed, in 1977 and 1990 respectively, followed by a shambolic prequel in 2004.
EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC (18)
D: John Boorman
Warner Bros (Richard Lederer & John Boorman)
USA 🇺🇸 1977
W: William Goodhart [based on characters created by William Peter Blatty]
DP: William A. Fraker
Ed: Tom Priestley
Mus: Ennio Morricone
Richard Burton (Father Philip Lamont), Linda Blair (Regan McNeil), Louise Fletcher (Dr. Gene Tuskin), Kitty Winn (Sharon Spencer), Max Von Sydow (Father Merrin), Paul Henreid (The Cardinal), James Earl Jones (Kokumo), Ned Beatty (Edwards)
This could quite easily be the worst sequel ever released by a major Hollywood studio. It has very little to do with events of the original story, but wants a big piece of the first film's success.
A new priest, Father Lamont, investigates the evil that manifested itself in Regan (Linda Blair) four years earlier, and makes a discovery that the demon, thought to be exorcised, is merely sleeping.
In between huge slabs of religion versus science mumbo-jumbo, there's many scenes of stock footage which are completely irrelevant to the story and not much happens for the rest. A talented cast all deliver lazy performances and the writing is even lazier. The film was a huge commercial disaster, released in two versions, neither of which make any sense.
THE EXORCIST III (18)
D: William Peter Blatty
20th Century Fox/Morgan Creek (James G. Robinson & Joe Roth)
USA 🇺🇸 1990
W: William Peter Blatty [based on his novel "Legion"]
DP: Gerry Fisher
Ed: Tom Ramsey & Peter Lee Thompson
Mus: Barry de Vorzon
George C. Scott (Lt. William Kinderman), Ed Flanders (Father Dyer), Brad Dourif (James Venamun), Jason Miller (Damien Karras), Nicol Williamson (Father Morning), Scott Wilson (Dr. Temple)
The first (and only) true sequel to 1973's The Exorcist.
A detective investigates a series of serial killings and discovers that the young priest from the original story is now possessed with an evil spirit.
A massive improvement on the terrible 1977 film (Exorcist II: The Heretic), with a much better thought out plot and some scary moments. The biggest negative is that it probably came out a decade too late and failed to capture the audience who scared out of their wits by the original movie.