Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Underrated and Forgotten: The Exorcist III

The Exorcist franchise spans many films, and to be honest, most of them are rubbish. You'd probably die happy if you just saw the original classic (and die unhappy if you didn't), but a major good word has to be said for the third installment. And here that kinda word is.

William Peter Blatty, the author of the initial book both pens and directs this installment, based off his novel Legion, which was based off a screenplay he wrote as a sequel to The Exorcist. Funny how things go. Rightly ignoring The Exorcist 2: The Heretic, the film is based on Lieutenant Kinderman (the detective from the first film) investigating a series of satanic murders that appear to be the MO of the Gemini killer, a serial killer who is dead.

Great detecting there, chief.

Tone-wise, this film is closer to William Friedkin's than any other, which I can imagine as having been one of the biggest things holding it back when it was released (smack dab in the middle of Return of the Living Dead and Scream). The film is very serious, which is difficult for any film that has to contend with years of parodies and media saturation that the first film created, not to mention the lash back effect of the very poor second film. Yup, the film wasn't exactly given its accolades at the time, but now, now we can rectify this grave misdoing.

It's A Wonderful Life? I love that film! This is 
definitely going to be a fun romp!

Go in to this with an open mind. It isn't an easy film, but a lot of the worthwhile ones aren't. It is bleak and intelligent, bar the final scenes, that were reshot at the behest of the studio (and don't quite live up to the nihilistic tone of the rest of the film).George C. Scott, Brad Dourif and Jason Miller give amazing and solid performances, as do the whole cast, that unsettle, confuse and just outright creep out the viewer. There are many scenes that have stuck with me months after viewing the film, but the stand out has to be the hospital hallway (don't search it up or do a Google Image search, you'll just spoil it on yourself).

Instead, look at this still from a scene that must be important,
yet I don't remember at all.

So, really, I can't say much more on the film. All I can do is implore you, the experimental horror fan, to take a change of pace and try this gem that is closer to a classic horror film but scarier than most of the boatload of films out there. It's not an easy task, but this is one underrated film that deserves its second life.

PS. Though the steps don't really play any part in the film, they cover the promotional material, and in years before I saw the film, captured my imagination as to what this film actually was. They just don't make em like this any more.

Mmm... VHS...