The Drudgeon reviews The Exorcist III

The Exorcist IIIaka The Exorcist III – Legion, William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist III, The Exorcist 3
110 min., 1990
Written by William Peter Blatty
Directed by William Peter Blatty
Language: English
My rating: ★

They did it again!!!!!!!!!

* * *

The movie picks up fifteen years after the end of number one. We meet Father Dyer (Ed Flanders) and William Kidnerman (George C. Scott). A priest and detective who were there at the exorcism and ever since they have been going to see “It’s A Wonderful Life” on the day that it happened. Why? Because they both feel they need to take care of each other. Then we learn about the Gemini Killer, who was killed but the killings are starting up again. Is it a copycat or is he actually back and continuing his work?

The acting is way too over the top. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE is just pushing themselves way too hard. The simplest lines come out like bullets through a machine gun right at your face. Way too much! This movie needed a lot more subtlety from the characters, but we got chaos from all fronts. The Gemini Killer (Brad Dourif) is the only character that actually works being overplayed, and Brad Dourif delivers.

The effects were…wait, there pretty much wasn’t any, as almost everything took place off camera. Which is okay most of the time, but this time I wanted to see something, anything, but we get pretty much nothing. Fail!

It’s happened again. They release another movie that tries to get rid of a different sequel. At least with Candyman and Jaws, they didn’t keep the numbers rolling; instead they just omitted the numbers and went with a subtitle. This time they kept the numbers, which is even more of a crock. Will it ever end?  Probably not.

As a whole the movie is barely watchable, with the terrible acting, lack of effects, hell lack of anything going on. When it’s over you just want to scream and question why there was this much money spent on it. The only real saving grace is Brad Dourif, who is the only character that should be overplay, and he did it to a T.

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About The Drudgeon

I don't remember my real name or where I came from. All I know is that I'm traped in an underground cave with nothing but a TV, DVD player and a notebook and pen. They keep calling me The Drudgeon, I don't even know what that means. Someone keeps dropping horror movies in and yelling at me to watch them and write about what I watch. Then I eat the DVD and case, because they tell me if I consume the horror I will understand the horror. I think there are three of them. So if you are reading this right now, HELP ME!!!!!!! OUCH!!!! Someone just poked me with a sea urchin attacked to a pool cue, what the fuck is going on?
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10 Responses to The Drudgeon reviews The Exorcist III

  1. Lackey says:

    I never thought I’d ever say anything in defense of Exorcist III, but…

    It’s happened again. They release another movie that tries to get rid of a different sequel.

    This is one instance where this could and probably should be forgiven. Exorcist III is based on Legion, Blatty’s sequel to the Exorcist novel, and as such Legion doesn’t take Exorcist II into account either.

    My problem with Exorcist III is that it retcons the ending of The Exorcist so that the most powerful plot and thematic element (that is, Fr. Karras’s sacrifice) is removed. To me, The Exorcist is as much Karras’s story as the MacNeils’, if not more, and it’s a significantly weaker film if Karras doesn’t die.

  2. The Drudgeon says:

    To me novels and movies are two different entities, so when I watch movies I don’t take the novels into consideration. So Legion being the sequel to the novel of The Exorcist has no baring on how I look at the movie or its sequels. Also the novel is called Legion, the movie is called III, and that’s where my main problem is. As stated, Candyman, Jaws, Sleepaway Camp, Halloween, Pumpkinhead, etc… all stopped with the numbers and they almost seem to take place in a different reality as compared to the other movies, but calling it The Exorcist III pretty much forces that II took place, or it wouldn’t be called III. If it was called The Exorcist: Legion or just Legion then I would be a little more accepting.

    I agree with how the ending of The Exorcist is really destroyed by Legion. At least II continues with that, but Legion just wipes it away. Lame! That is my other problem, it doesn’t just get rid of number II, but it also deletes the end of the original, and there should be a punishment for that.

    • Lackey says:

      I do see your point there when it comes to the numbering (although I’m not sure I agree—I would say it’s Jason Miller reprising the role of Karras that defines the film as a continuation of the franchise, not the use of the number). Would you consider this acceptable if the title of the film had been Exorcist: Legion, as was Blatty’s original intent? The title Exorcist III was apparently imposed either by the studio or the production company.

  3. John Bruni says:

    This is what happens when writers get to direct movies made from their books . . . . Actually, the only other instance I can think of with this happening is Stephen King’s MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE. Hm. Well, Mickey Spillane got to play Mike Hammer in THE GIRL HUNTERS, but I don’t think he directed it. Shit. Anyway . . . .

    • Lackey says:

      Blatty also directed the film version of The Ninth Configuration, a 1978 novel he considers to be the “true Exorcist II,” at least in thematic terms if not plot (and a lot of people from the first and third Exorcist movies are in it, including Jason Miller and Ed Flanders, albeit in different roles).

      If you really cared, you could probably argue that there’s two streams of continuity in the Exorcist movies, one which goes ExorcistExorcist IIExorcist III and another that goes ExorcistNinth ConfigurationExorcist: Legion.

    • Lackey says:

      Also, The Girl Hunters was directed by Roy Rowland, who also directed The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, based on Dr. Seuss’s only feature-length screenplay.

  4. Charlie Bremner says:

    I really liked Exorcist 3. I found it to be effectively creepy. The problem with the Exorcist sequels is the first Exorcist movie. It is difficult when you have a religious “boogey-man” like the Devil, which people still believe. It comes down basically to a Protestant vs. Catholic direcor mentlity, if that really has anything to do with a scary movie. The Exorcist 3 film in itself was fought over in terms of editing, plot and etc. If there is an alternative film version out there with the true directors vision, I’d love to see it. With the prequels, we have that choice.

    I think the score, effects are very well done. Once again, the Exorcist had the whole range of subtle to over the top frights. This movie is very much like a detective story, albeit a supernatural one. It continues on with the same characters in the first, but the MacNeils have definitly moved out of the picture. I found it to be a natural progression.

    If I were the reviewer, I’d give 3 and half stars for several more reasons… but to each their own in opinion.


    • Lackey says:

      It comes down basically to a Protestant vs. Catholic direcor mentlity, if that really has anything to do with a scary movie.

      Actually I believe Friedkin is Jewish (I could be wrong). Although, yes, I do believe that Blatty being Catholic and Friedkin not being Catholic probably has some influence in how the respective movies were made.

      I do find it interesting that there’s a theory that you can only fully appreciate The Exorcist if you’ve had a Catholic upbringing. I don’t really agree, because the idea of demonic possession isn’t unique to Catholicism amongst Christian denominations.

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