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George At 

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Exorcist II: The Heretic

Updated: Oct 4, 2023

You want to see something really scary for Halloween? Check out 1977's EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC. OK, let me clarify. I dont mean scary, its not. I mean scary BAD, ALL-TIME-TURKEY, all-time worst sequel in film history bad.

In hindsight, Director John Boorman (Deliverance, Excalibur) might have been too eclectic a choice to follow William Friedkin's footsteps directing the original, chilling, still scary today blockbuster.

Boorman doesn't really seem all that interested in putting together a story worth following. Instead, he introduces us to Regan four years after her possession. She's living in NYC now and still played (very, very badly) by Linda Blair. When the demon left, he apparently took all her acting talent with him.

Her movie star Mom is not around (Ellen Burstyn must have read the script) so we have Regan's analyst Dr Tuskin, played by Louise Fletcher doing everything she can with a badly written role.

She is treating Regan with a hypnotizing machine that allows the evil back into Regan, or something like that, its never really clear.

Luckily, Richard Burton torches every scene he's in with a broad, overacted performance. Burton seems to think the more he looks earnest and shouts, the better the dialogue will sound. Nope.

James Earl Jones shows up, dressed up like a giant locust for half his screen time. Max Von Sydow gets in and out quickly, reprising his role as Father Merrin for a couple minutes and reminding you oh so briefly of that much better film.

Favorite moments (he says sarcastically):

*Blair clod-hopping around in heels and a glittery top hat during a dance recital that seems closer to hell than anything Pazuzu offers up

* Expensive special effects shots with us flying with the demon, who I think is a locust, or maybe the good guy is a locust, I never knew what the hell was going on

* Boorman throwing everything at the finale, going back to that previously scary Washington Brownstone, driving a car through the gates, blowing out the windows with a giant locust storm and eventually just breaking the entire house up as Burton and Blair ride a four poster bed into hell

At least that's what I think was going to happen. In the years since this mega-bomb hit theatres, the stories around it are better than the movie itself.

Blair has said that Burton started out sober but was drunk for pretty much the last half of filming.

Burton said later that he was about to get another divorce from Liz Taylor and he needed the money, obviously.

William Peter Blatty, author of the original "The Exorcist" novel, attended the premiere and said he started busting out laughing about ten minutes in and by the time the film was over, the audience was throwing things at the screen in protest.

Who could blame them.

I just wish I had invested in styrofoam pellets in 1977. That year saw both this stinkbomb and Irwin Allen's bust "The Swarm", between them using millions of them as locusts and bees.

The best thing in the film is probably Ennio Morricone's music score, famously sampled decades later by Quentin Tarantino for "The Hateful Eight".

How bad is this? Consider the fact that Ned Beatty makes an appearance as a plane flying man named Evangelical Edwards, five years after his "squealing like a pig" appearance in Boorman's "Deliverance".

After seeing this mess, my bet is Beatty would rather go camping again.

The only thing scary about this garbage is just how bad it is. EXORCIST II gets an F.

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