Have an Awfully Good Halloween with one of the worst sequels ever made to a horror classic (that isn’t BELIEVER)… EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC!
Now that David Gordon Green has sent another horror franchise to hell with The Exorcist: Believer, the time is right this Halloween for Awfully Good Movies to tackle one of the most awfully good sequels ever made… Exorcist II: The Heretic!
While the late William Friedkin and William Peter Blatty were hellbent against any follow-ups to their seminal horror classic, the suits at Warner Bros. felt otherwise and rolled camera on a follow-up four years later from another prestige filmmaker, John Boorman, despite Boorman passing on the first film and calling it a “repulsive” tale about “child abuse”. So instead, Linda Blair returns as Regan MacNeil one last time (until Repossessed and Exorcist: Believer, that is) to fight the satanic demon nipping at her heels once more, thanks to a mind synchronization device that is just the tip of this sequel’s deeply insane iceberg.
Whether it’s a visibly drunk Richard Burton as the new priest sent to save Regan’s soul and clear Father Merrin’s name, Louise Fletcher slumming it after her Oscar for Nurse Ratched playing Regan’s harried psychologist in place of the absent Ellen Burstyn, or James Earl Jones wearing a locust costume atop his head, they’re all complicit in John Boorman’s craziest concoction since Zardoz, with the now-debunked pseudoscience of ESP (“the sixth sense”) proving central to the plot in overlong hallucination sequences and flashbacks with a begrudgingly returning Max von Sydow as the young Father Merrin. And did I forget to mention the demon’s name is Pazuzu? (Yes, I know it’s his name in the book, but still!)
It all combines to create one of the most spectacular failures in the history of sequels, with all the scares now replaced by unintentional laughs or long stretches of boredom… you know, much like Exorcist: Believer! But at least The Heretic has some pretty photography, a great Morricone score, and an unlikely fan in none other than Martin Scorsese. Yes, folks, Scorsese thinks that Exorcist II is cinema, which is more than anybody can say for Exorcist: Believer.
Happy Halloween from AWFULLY GOOD MOVIES!
Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/exorcist-ii-the-heretic-awfully-good/