The Exorcist III

04/17/2017 19:48

Film: The Exorcist III

Year: 1990

Director: William Peter Blatty

Writer: William Peter Blatty

Starring: George C. Scott, Ed Flanders and Brad Dourif



This film I sought out not realizing there was a second sequel to The Exorcist. The fact that this is actually based on the sequel novel that director and writer of the screenplay, William Peter Blatty, penned made it even more interesting. I will be honest, I thought this was okay the first time I saw this, but its taken a few viewings now to fully appreciate it. The synopsis is a police lieutenant uncovers more than he bargained for as his investigation of a series of murders, which have all the hallmarks of the deceased Gemini serial killer, leads him to question the patients of a psychiatric ward.

We begin 15 years after the events of The Exorcist. We see Georgetown through the eyes of someone as they walk down the street until we see the body of a boy is found by the water. We learn that he is strung to a makeshift cross and his head has been removed, being replaced by a head of a Jesus from a statue in blackface.

The officer that is investigating is Kinderman (George C. Scott). This is the same officer from the original film, just played by a different actor. We see him as he meets a friend on the anniversary of the death of Father Damien Karras. This priest that Kinderman meets is Father Dyer (Ed Flanders). He is also the same one from the first film, just a different actor. Kinderman was held up at home and is late meeting him for a movie, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’.

There is then another murder, this time of a priest. We see as he is listening to a woman give her confession and the things she starts confess are horrible. The priest is then killed. The nature of his death is not normal either. Before it cuts away, we see an elderly woman along with another.

Both of these victims have a drug in their system that is used during electro-shock therapy. The victims are paralyzed, then killed while they’re being tortured. Kinderman is sure that the fingerprints will match, but is stumped when they don’t. He doesn’t understand how there can be two different killers when they are so similar in how they were done. They are even matching details of the original Gemini Killer that weren’t released to the press.

Father Dyer is then admitted into the hospital. Kinderman is upset, but tries not to show it as he messes with him. Dyer doesn’t seem to be too distraught about being in the hospital and is really downplaying it. Kinderman that night has a nightmare where he is in heaven and meets people along the way. He meets the murdered boy who is fine now, just with his head sewn back on. He sees people like Fabio, Samuel L. Jacson and Patrick Ewing. He ends up running into Dyer there. He asks if he is dreaming too and he learns that Flanders isn’t. He is awoken by the phone ringing.

He goes to the hospital to find that Dyer has been murdered. His blood has been drained from his body into cups that are used for urine tests. There is also a message written on the wall, stating that ‘It’s a Wonderfull Life’. None of his blood was split though. He wants the hospital almost on a lockdown to try to investigate this case. There is a point where he is leaving that we see there is a statue that is missing its head. Things take an even darker turn when he finds a patient being held in a locked down ward that makes Kinderman’s blood run cold. Who is committing these murders and how are they doing it?

I have to say that this is the third time I’ve seen this film. It really had a great premise and I also have read the novel this is somewhat based on, Legion. I also have read up on some trivia and this film could have been much better if the studio would have let Blatty make the film that he wanted. Despite that, I think this film is still really good. I love the idea that the person in the lock down room, known as Patient X (Jason Miller), has been kept alive despite the trauma to the body. The death occurred the same night as The Gemini Killer’s execution and his soul was transferred. It is plausible that the brain damage sustained would take 15 years to fix itself.

The relationship between Kinderman and Dyer is good too. We only get that for about the first half hour of the film, but it actually reminds me of my friendships. We will bust each other’s chops for fun, but we would do anything for them. The death of Dyer really spurs Kinderman to really need to solve this case. It definitely becomes personal.

As you can tell, I do like the story and concept of this film. I don’t even mind having an attempted exorcism at the end. It makes it similar to the first one, especially since we don’t really see much of Father Morning (Nicol Williamson) until it happens. He gets even less time during the exorcism as well than what Max Von Sydow did in the original one. It does feel like it wasn’t part of the film and that makes sense as I was reading up on the production of this.

To move to the pacing of the film, which I used to feel like it was boring, but after this viewing, I could see how things fit together now and it makes sense. There’s actually some excellent writing here of things that are brought back up later in the film and I’m all on board with that. I think the mystery of what going on is a bit slow, but as things really get revealed, I’m all for it. I do fee like there are some slight plot-holes, but nothing to fully ruin this. The ending is fine, even though I would have liked to see what Blatty really wanted to do.

The acting for the film is really great actually. Scott is a legend and I’ll be honest, he’s one of my favorite actors of all time. He’s one that I really didn’t get into his filmography until a bit later in life, but once I did, he just has such a screen presence. Flanders is good in his role, especially how well he plays off Scott. Brad Dourif is The Gemini Killer and I really loved his performance. I got chills this time, because I could hear his most iconic role as the voice of Chucky from Child’s Play this time. What I like is that I interpret, he’s not really there, but this is what Patient X sees themselves as Kinderman talks to him. Miller is solid in his small role. Also want to shout-out to Williamson, Scott Wilson and Nancy Fish, the all have solid performances while the rest of the cast rounded out the film for what was needed.

The last thing to cover would be the effects of the film. We don’t get a whole lot and a lot of them are later in the film. There is an amazing jump-scare that everyone talks about. There is also a really creepy scene that involves someone walking on the ceiling that unnerved me. Most things here were done practically, which I liked, especially the look of The Gemini Killer and Patient X later in the film. Overall I’d say these were pretty well done in the grand scheme.

With that said, I would recommend this film if you are interested in seeing all of the films that were in this series. This one is good and a solid follow-up to the original film. The story and concept are good; it is kind of a supernatural slasher if you really think about it. The studio interference I feel like does make this a bit disjointed. The cast of the film is good. There is a bit of the film that is a bit slow, but I think that overall it makes sense for how things play out. The effects of the film are good, I didn’t have any issues there and the soundtrack is fitting for what they needed. To be honest this could be viewed by itself or along with the original. This is definitely a good film in my opinion, but might not be for everyone, especially if you are looking for The Exorcist.


My Rating: 8 out of 10