31 Days of Halloween 2016 #22 – The TryHard Exorcist III
I’ve thought about reviewing The Exorcist III several times over the years because it’s an interesting subject. You’ve got the Exorcist angle and the sequel angle, which is obvious, but I think maybe this movie could have been more without both of those things altogether. I have read different places that this was never supposed to be an Exorcist sequel and I find that hard to believe, mostly because it’s directed by William Peter Blatty and features many allusions to the original Exorcist. But hey, maybe it is true. Then again, maybe Blatty is trying to get sympathy for his troubles on this crappy mess.
Mostly, this movie is gibberish with some detective elements thrown in. It has a mystery about a Gemini killer and an exorcism thrown in for fun. Blatty tried to diverge from the source material and create a new story, but the film studio didn’t want that. They wanted more exorcisms. To prove his point, Blatty wrote his new ideas into a bestselling novel called Legion. Legion is a good book and has the sales numbers to prove its popularity.
Legion has elements of Catholicism and possession like in The Exorcist, but has a lot of themes that don’t come out in Blatty’s movie. It also has character types who contrast the usual tropes, like a rude and dismissive psychiatrist who isn’t an idiot liberal. There’s some characters who are seniors and strange psych ward patients who become philosophers. It’s the opposite of The Exorcist, with its young cast and middle-aged dramatics.
Unfortunately, The Exorcist III is not the story of Legion, although it sorta resembles it. There’s some story beats that are the same, and some of the novel’s characters are there. They investigate the Gemini Killer. The seniors are there like in the novel. I was confused about the inclusion of Damian Karras in the novel, the priest from the first film. Some demon jerk possessed his body when he died or something. That was weird. Karras is the one given the pseudo-exorcism and allowed to die for real. There’s also a lot of philosophical and religious talk about the nature of life, none of which is in the film.
I really would hate to be George C. Scott. The guy’s a legend and he can’t even get some dumb studio to release the movie he wants to star in. He wanted to be in Legion, but he got The Exorcist III. Too bad.
PS, it’s interesting to note that Brad Dourif built on his work in this film to go to star in a similar role in THE X-FILES. He’s a psycho in The Exorcist III but he’s a little more mellow in The X-FILES. Still, he’s got that creepy vibe down in both.
31 Days of Halloween 2016
31. Young Frankenstein (1974)
30. Jason X (2001)
29. Cloverfield (2008)
28. The Monster Squad (1987)
27. Bad Moon (1996)
26. The Haunting (1963)
25. Splinter (2008)
24. Frenzy (1972)
23. Aggression Scale (2012)
22. The Exorcist III – This post
21. At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (1963)
20. Silver Bullet (1985)
19. Joy Ride (2001)
18. Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
17. The Funhouse (1981) by Tobe Hooper
16. Videodrome (1983)
15. Re-Animator (1985)
14. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
13. Cube (1997)
12. Evil Dead
11. Day of the Dead (1985)
10. Tales of Halloween (2015)
9. They Live (1988)
8. The Innocents (1961)
7. Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
6. Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)
5. I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle (1990)
4. Hatchet (2006)
3. The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
2. Halloween II
1. Silence of the Lambs