The Exorcist III is so damn close to being excellent. You can smell the compromise oozing out of the screen when you watch it, but the stuff that works is as effective as the original film. Writer/director William Peter Blatty was forced by Morgan Creek to do extensive re-shoots and cutting in post-production (the original film was titled Legion after Blatty’s 1983 novel, but was changed to The Exorcist III for obvious marketing purposes. Only problem was that the story didn’t have an exorcism, so one was hastily written into the film’s climax), and has mostly disowned the current version. The footage that was excised was considered lost for a long time, but it sounds like that might not be the case anymore.
Destroy the Brain noticed that the Morgan Creek Twitter account has been very coquettish when asked about a possible director’s cut Blu-ray of The Exorcist III. Then, Blatty fan-site The Ninth Configuration was able to confirm through Blatty himself that Morgan Creek are working on putting out a Blu-ray of his cut of the film.
It’s always intriguing to see a director take another swing at their film, especially when their initial attempt was heavily interfered with. Does this always mean that the new version will be great? No, but we should always welcome a fresh glimpse at something, and I’m more than willing to give a new version of The Exorcist III a watch. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. It doesn’t require seeing the second film (though you should see that because it’s one of the most bizarrely wrongheaded sequels ever made) and has genuine moments of dread that are often rare in horror films. As soon as we get some more concrete news about this new release, we’ll post it.
Thanks to commenter HORSEFLESH for the heads-up on this (and for cheering me up during one dick of a day)!