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Four 'Exorcist' films!

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Over the past two days I've watched all four "Exorcist" films. Prior to this, I'd only seen the 1973 original — and I wanted to find out what went on in the three sequels. Here's my take on all four productions.

— O —

The Exorcist My rating: Excellent
Directed by William Friedkin
Written by William Peter Blatty
Produced by William Peter Blatty, Noel Marshall and David Salven

My opinion of The Exorcist is that it's an all-time classic, brilliantly made. I saw it in the cinema on its first run, in the company of a friend who was (he isn't anymore) a Catholic priest. He thought it was a thoroughly-entertaining film, as did I; and the only negative criticism he expressed regarded the character Damien Karras' assertion that ritual exorcism is a largely-unknown procedure within the Church: In fact, the Church has a long-standing system in place for dealing with exorcism.

That's a very-minor point, of course, in reflecting upon The Exorcist. This is one of my favorite films, hence I've grown weary of the one or two popular clichés which comprise media-based recognition of the film. For its time, The Exorcist was quite shocking; and I believe that even today it can be fully appreciated by anyone who's willing to sit down, shut up and watch the film. Blatty, Friedkin, Marshall and Salven should be given every honor for having achieved this brilliant cinematic triumph. *suggests night-time viewing in low light*

Ellen Burstyn....Chris MacNeil
Max von Sydow....Father Lankester Merrin
Jason Miller....Father Damien Karras
Lee J. Cobb....Lieutenant William Kinderman
Kitty Winn....Sharon Spencer
Jack MacGowran....Burke Dennings
Linda Blair....Regan Teresa MacNeil
Reverend William O'Malley....Father Dyer
Barton Heyman\t....Doctor Klein
Peter Masterson....Doctor Barringer, clinic director
Rudolf Schündler....Karl
Gina Petrushka\t....Willi
Robert Symonds....Doctor Taney
Arthur Storch....Psychiatrist
Reverend Thomas Bermingham\t....Tom, president of university
Vasiliki Maliaros....Karras' mother
Titos Vandis....Karras' uncle
Wallace Rooney....Bishop Michael
Ron Faber....Chuck, assistant director / demonic voice
Donna Mitchell\t....Mary Jo Perrin
Roy Cooper....Jesuit dean
Robert Gerringer....Senator at party
Mercedes McCambridge....Pazuzu (voice)
William Peter Blatty....Producer
Mary Boylan....First mental patient
Richard Callinan....Astronaut
Mason Curry....(voice)
Eileen Dietz....Pazuzu's face
Yvonne Jones....Bellevue nurse
John Mahon....Language laboratory director
Reverend John Nicola....Priest
Vincent Russell....Subway vagrant

— O —

Exorcist II: The Heretic My rating: Poor
Directed by John Boorman
Written by William Peter Blatty, John Boorman, William Goodhart and Rospo Pallenberg
Produced by John Boorman, Richard Lederer and Charles Orme

Help! This film is really bad! I don't know what happened or what the director was thinking, or if he was thinking at all, but the result is third-rate at best. Here you've one of the very-best actors of the 20th Century in Richard Burton, you've Louise Fletcher coming off her excellent performance in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, you've Max von Sydow whose brilliant career is easily equal to Burton's, you've Linda Blair in a position to make a great impression upon the cinematic cognoscenti; and yet, their performances are leaden — as if the director either wasn't paying attention or didn't care.

Furthermore, the screenplay has everybody and everything running off in all directions at once — without any continuity whatsoever; and the result is that Exorcist II: The Heretic seems like a children's comic book cobbled together in a rush for some Saturday-morning television cartoon. Whose fault is this? It's the director's and producers' fault, that's who. They have ultimate responsibility for what ends up on film; and what ends up on this film isn't worth crossing the street to see free of charge. Boorman, Goodhart, Lederer, Orme, Pallenberg and to a much lesser extent Blatty should be publicly humiliated for having foisted such a poorly-made film upon the citizenry. *suggests this film should be pointed out as an example of how not to make films*

Linda Blair....Regan MacNeil
Richard Burton....Father Lamont
Louise Fletcher....Doctor Gene Tuskin
Max von Sydow....Father Merrin
Kitty Winn....Sharon Spencer
Paul Henreid....The cardinal
James Earl Jones....Older Kokumo
Ned Beatty....Edwards
Belinda Beatty....Liz
Rose Portillo....Spanish girl
Barbara Cason....Mrs. Phalor
Tiffany Kinney....Deaf girl
Joey Green....Young Kokumo
Fiseha Dimetros....Young monk
Ken Renard....Abbot
Hank Garrett....Conductor
Lorry Goldman....Accident victim
Bill Grant....Taxi driver
Shane Butterworth....Gary Tuskin
Joey Lauren Adams....Linda Tuskin
Robert Lussier
Charles Parks
George Skaff
Richard Paul....Man on the airplane
Karen Knapp....Pazuzu
Dana Plato....Sandra Phalor

— O —

The Exorcist III: Legion My rating: Good
Directed by William Peter Blatty
Written by William Peter Blatty
Produced by Carter DeHaven, Steve Jaffe, James G. Robinson and Joe Roth

This is a good film, above average in my view. It would be a great film were it not for the meddling harm done by producers DeHaven, Jaffe, Robinson and Roth: They wanted the public to believe this was a sequel to The Exorcist, whereas director Blatty wanted it to be a straightforward film of his book Legion; and the result was that it was almost both but ultimately neither. Nevertheless it's a very well-done film which is greatly superior, by many magnitudes, to Exorcist II: The Heretic and merits the distinction of being the only worthy follow-up to The Exorcist.

What I like best about this film is the manner in which it employs the point of view of detective Lieutenant Kinderman: George C. Scott did a really-good job of carrying on Lee J. Cobb's original Kinderman character; and Exorcist III: Legion — like The Exorcist itself — is written for a discerning and intelligent audience which nevertheless appreciates the scary-movie genre. I think you, dear reader, would enjoy watching this film; so, go get it! *waits*

George C. Scott....Lieutenant William "Bill" Kinderman
Ed Flanders....Father Joseph Kevin Dyer
Brad Dourif....The Gemini killer / James Venamun
Jason Miller....Patient X (Father Damien Karras)
Nicol Williamson....Father Paul Morning
Scott Wilson....Doctor Temple
Nancy Fish....Nurse Allerton
George DiCenzo....Stedman
Don Gordon....Ryan
Lee Richardson\t....University president
Grand L. Bush....Sergeant Atkins
Mary Jackson....Mrs. Clelia
Viveca Lindfors....Nurse X
Ken Lerner....Doctor Freedman
Tracy Thorne....Nurse Keating
Barbara Baxley\t....Shirley
Zohra Lampert....Mary Kinderman
Harry Carey Jr.\t....Father Kanavan
Sherrie Wills....Julie Kinderman
Edward Lynch....Patient A
Clifford David....Doctor Bruno
Alex Zuckerman....Korner boy
Lois Foraker....Nurse Merrin
Tyra Ferrell....Nurse Blaine
James Burgess....Thomas Kintry
Kevin Corrigan....Altar boy
Peggy Alston....Mrs. Kintry
Bobby Deren....Nurse Bierce
Jan Neuberger....Alice
Debra Port....Waitress
Walt MacPherson....Police sergeant
David Dwyer....Police officer #2
Danny Epper....Police driver
William Preston\t....Old man in wheelchair
Chuck Kinlaw....Attendant
Demetrios Pappageorge....Caspereli
Nina Hansen....Little old lady
Shane Wexel....Dream boy #1
Ryan Paul Amick....Dream boy #2
John Coe....Old man in dream
Jodi Long....Dream woman #1
Kathy Gerber....Dream woman #2
Samuel L. Jackson....Dream blind man
Jan Smook....Radio man
Amelia Campbell....Young girl in dream
Cherie Baron....Nurse
Larry King....Himself: radio talk-show host
Dr. C. Everett Koop....Himself: surgeon general of the United States
Patrick Ewing....Angel of death
Father Joseph T. Durkin S.J.
Michael Criscuolo....Mental patient
Colleen Dewhurst....Satan (voice)
Randy Aaron Fink....Student
Jeff Henry....Angel
Manley Pope....Angel
John Thompson....Himself: coach, Georgetown University basketball team
Brad Waller....Asylum inmate

— O —

Exorcist: The Beginning My rating: Average
Directed by Renny Harlin
Written by William Peter Blatty, William Wisher Jr., Caleb Carr\t and Alexi Hawley
Produced by Aaron Dem, Guy McElwaine, Wayne Morris, Will Raee, David C. Robinson and James G. Robinson

Well, this film is what I'd term an "average" scary movie. It's not "good," it's just all right. It's the sort of film you'd go watch on a date, because it wouldn't require your undivided attention — at least I hope it wouldn't. (One never knows, does one?) The theme of this film encompasses what the character Lankester Merrin did years before the scenario of The Exorcist came about, so it's been accorded that disgusting label "prequel" by the flock of producers it seemingly takes to get a film made these days. By the way, this film was almost entirely re-shot under its ultimate director — there having been a huge last-minute corporate re-shuffle of key personnel involved with Exorcist: The Beginning.

In brief, a faithless post-war Merrin pokes around Kenya in his role of archeologist investigating a dig plagued by strange happenings. I'd say Exorcist: The Beginning resembles a made-for-television film rather than a made-for-the-cinema film. In fact, I'll go so far as to say plot- and execution-wise it reminds me more of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series in its below-par final two seasons than anything else — but with older actors in the leading roles. Watch this film if you have to, but don't waste any of your time hoping it's going to come good in the next scene.

Stellan Skarsgård....Father Merrin
Izabella Scorupco....Sarah
James D'Arcy....Father Francis
Remy Sweeney\t....Joseph
Julian Wadham....Major Granville
Andrew French\t....Chuma
Ralph Brown....Sergeant major
Ben Cross....Semelier
David Bradley....Father Gionetti
Alan Ford....Jeffries
Antonie Kamerling....Lieutenant Kessel
Eddie Osei....Emekwi
Israel Aduramo\t....Jomo
Patrick O'Kane\t....Bession
James Bellamy....James
Cecilia Amati....Little Dutch girl
Matti Ristinen....Medieval priest
Lidia Darly....Sebutuana's wife
James Paparella....Boy in market
Silvio Jimenez Hernandez....Stricken Turkana worker
Yemi Goodman Ajibade....Turkana shaman
Michel Leroy....Tribesman in hospital
John Sesay....Turkana warrior #1
Sayoh Lahai....Turkana warrior #2
Alessandro Casula....Preacher with Pazuzu
Roberto Purvis....Corporal Finn

— O —

post #2 of 3
I've seen 1 and 2.

The first one was when i was about 22 when it came back to the cinema and my MIL had to come and sit with me while my husband went out with friends on the friday night and i'd seen the film nearly a week previous!!, i was terrified because i do believe in evil forces like that

But when it was shown again 7 years ago it didn't frighten me one bit?!.

Mind you ask me to sit and watch it in a cinema on my own and i'd refuse!!
post #3 of 3
I have watched the 1st one once. I don't think I would be able to watch it again as I am so scared! haha
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