10 Days of Halloween – The Exorcist I / III

4 – The Exorcist/The Exorcist III

I considered all sorts of movies for today, and most of them revolved around possession: The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Exorcist, The Last Exorcism, etc. I decided I was going to do The Exorcist, but decided at the last minute to do the only decent sequel, The Exorcist III, based off William Peter Blatty’s book, Legion. Legion was a very good book and I enjoyed it totally. It dragged a bit with Kinderman’s constant soliloquies on religion, life, and morality, but they were good thoughts and so I got through it.

Scene From 'The Exorcist'

As we know, The Exorcist is a classic, still widely considered to be the scariest movie of all time. I have seen it so many times that I am largely desensitized to it, though the book can still scare the crap out of me. The dialogue in the movie, when taken out of context, is hilariously dirty. When put in context, it’s kind of frightening, even now. Watching it in the dark and alone will still freak me out. Listening to the audio book (expertly read by the author) at night…well, I have stopped trying to do that, as I prefer my pants remain unsoiled. It involves the possession of a pretty young girl, Regan, and the priests who try to help her, Karras and Merrin. It’s sort of a medical loop, as they try to prove what we all know — Regan is the unwilling bitch of the demon Pazuzu. It ends…happy and sad. There are deaths, yet the friendship between Karras and detective Kinderman (who is investigating a related murder), lives on between Kinderman and Father Dyer.

Your host for The Exorcist III

Your host for The Exorcist III

The Exorcist III picks up several years later with Father Dyer and Kinderman going out to a movie on the anniversary of Damien Karras’ death. Kinderman is brooding over a murder spree currently going on. There are some peculiarities and patterns which would not be out of place in a Hannibal Lecter novel or an Alex Kava crime mystery. All these killings follow the same pattern. A familiar pattern. The hows and whys are the meat of the story, but a great deal of the supernatural and demonic intrudes.

I don’t think The Exorcist III got its fair chance. After the snooze fest that was part two, nobody was interested. Blatty got to direct Legion, but they didn’t think it would do well without the “Exorcist” part of the title. The studios renamed it and made Blatty throw in an exorcism at the end to fit with the theme. Even so, it was very interesting and kind of terrifying. Parts of it still give me the chills.


There is one scene (pictured above) that literally made my friend scream, made me jump almost out of my chair, and gave us both goosebumps. It’s the most effective scare in the movie and several better horror films could learn from the technique. If you have to do a slow build/boring ramp, and then something like a jump scare, this is how it’s done. Take notes, kiddies.


~ by Darren Endymion on October 24, 2014.

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