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THE EXORCIST III appreciation thread

post #1 of 189
Thread Starter 

I know some of you are out there.

 

This was the real sequel to THE EXORCIST, directed and written by William Peter Blatty.  It was based off his novel LEGION, but Warner Bros. demanded that it be retitled "THE EXORCIST III" and ordered reshoots that imposed a new character, a retooled climax with a special effects-laden exorcism, and the inclusion of Jason Miller from the first film.  The end product was a flop and is often overlooked by folks who would dig it due to the understandably toxic effect THE EXORCIST II had on the franchise's reputation.

 

The existence of a lost cut and Jeff Dahmer citing it as his favorite picture has given this cult film something of a mythological status, but all context dismissed, there's also just a really worthwhile, provocative and entertaining movie here, even with the compromised vision.  It's witty as fuck, features an incredible performance by Brad Dourif, and possesses (ho ho!) one of the all time great jump scares ever.  It's an intelligent, funny and frightening serial killer film with supernatural elements.  I find it very rewatchable, and a few goofy bits aside, I'm not at all tempted to throttle people who consider it better than the original.

 

I can remember someone making the case that if you cut out THE EXORCIST II: HERETIC and the Renny Harlin version of the prequel and included THE NINTH CONFIGURATION, you have a fairly incredible, though certainly flawed, religious-horror saga on your hands.

 

Also, why did Blatty only direct two movies, when they were both so good?  Pisses me off.

post #2 of 189

I am absolutely on board with you FD.

It IS great, quirks aside.  (Fabio is a quirk)

post #3 of 189

I have always loved this movie.  Granted, over time Brad Dourif's scenery chewing can start to grate, but when is Brad Dourif not chewing scenery?  Also, this is the only movie that has ever made me scream in the theater.  Well, more of a "Woah!" than an actual scream.

post #4 of 189

Was it when you saw Patrick Ewing?  Cause that happens. 

post #5 of 189
Thread Starter 

Some of the quirky elements, like that dream sequence, the eyes on the Jesus opening in the intro, the old lady crawling around the ceiling, and the statue that temporarily turns into a grinning dagger-wielding Joker, I find kind of brilliant in their wackiness.  There's a certain perverse playfulness to this movie that I really admire.

 

The way that attack on the daughter plays out at the end is pretty silly though.

 

 

But whatever.

 

Also, I'm always caught off-guard by the "May the Schwartz be with you" line.  Hilarious.  The dialog between Kinderman and Dyer is fantastic, with George C. Scott's monologue about the fish in the bathtub and Ed Flanders' explanation for being addicted to lemon drops being standouts.

post #6 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalyn View Post
 

Granted, over time Brad Dourif's scenery chewing can start to grate

 

I'll grate your soul in Hell for such blasphemy.

post #7 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by Merriweather View Post
 

 

I'll grate your soul in Hell for such blasphemy.

Listen, Brad.  I enjoy your performances for the most part, but sometimes you just need to turn it down from 11 to 9.  Like in this.  And that other death row prisoner you played on the X-Files.  Remember One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest?  That was sublime.

 

Just a notch or two, man.

post #8 of 189

So painfully wrong.

post #9 of 189

The book LEGION is great too.  It leans more towards the Gemini killer and his history, how he came to be in the servant of Satan and gifted another go around.

Scott's exhaustion is sometimes trying but I generally liked his relationship with Father Dyer.  (Dyer is the priest that whispers last rights to Karras at the bottom of the famed stairs)

The EXORCIST is a perfect movie and pairs so nicely with this.        

 

Stolen from Wiki:

An upcoming book titled The Evolution Of William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist III: From Concept To Novel To Screen by author Erik Kristopher Myers will reveal the whole story behind the film's development, and publish never-before-seen images, the original script, studio notes, various drafts of the story as it has evolved, and interviews with Blatty, Brad Dourif, Mark Kermode, John Carpenter, and many others associated with the film.[3] Myers in an interview said that The Exorcist III "has sort of turned into horror genre’s equivalent to Orson WellesThe Magnificent Ambersons, in that it was originally a very classy film that the studio hacked apart and turned into a commercial piece [...] I'm basically trying to chronicle how a film can get away from the auteur and be transformed into a purely commercial product." [10]

 

post #10 of 189

Erik's on Wikipedia!

post #11 of 189
Thread Starter 

I feel like I've been reading about that supposed upcoming book for a decade now.  Has there been any status update on it in recent memory?  Isn't Erik Myers a Chewer?

 

It's heartbreaking that Blatty made an effort to find the footage to reassemble his original version but was apparently told by Morgan Creek "we don't have it" and not allowed into the vaults.  Dude's 85 now.

post #12 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatherDude View Post
 

I feel like I've been reading about that supposed upcoming book for a decade now.  Has there been any status update on it in recent memory?  Isn't Erik Myers a Chewer?

http://www.chud.com/community/t/120824/happy-birthday-the-exorcist-synchronized-guy

post #13 of 189

Just wanted to chime in here and say that I'm also a really big fan of this film.  Even if the movie's only virtue was the alluded-to jump scare (one of the best, for sure), the movie would be worth seeing; luckily, there's a lot more of worth than just that.

 

Regarding Blatty's original cut, Mark Kermode - an EXORCIST historian if there ever was one - has been trying to track down the missing footage for years, and to back up what others here have said, Morgan Creek has told him several times that they don't know where the footage is; Kermode's tried to get them to let him personally hunt around for it, but as of yet he hasn't made much progress with them.  It's a shame.  At this rate, I'd settle for even a Blu-ray release of the theatrical cut.

post #14 of 189
Thread Starter 
Quote:

 

Wow.  Please provide more context for this!  I clearly missed out on some jolly good fun.

 

Originally Posted by Belloq87 View Post

 

Regarding Blatty's original cut, Mark Kermode - an EXORCIST historian if there ever was one - has been trying to track down the missing footage for years, and to back up what others here have said, Morgan Creek has told him several times that they don't know where the footage is; Kermode's tried to get them to let him personally hunt around for it, but as of yet he hasn't made much progress with them.

 

It wouldn't surprise me at all if the material was there and Morgan Creek's response is code for "We don't feel like looking, but we don't feel like letting you look either."  I say that because NIGHTBREED, another 1990 Morgan Creek film, has pretty much the same story - studio interfered and cut the film up.  Clive Barker's quest to recover the lost reels and re-edit his version had a happy ending in the form of the "Cabal Cut" announced this year for a release through Shout! Factory.

 

It's not like it's impossible that the Exorcist footage is really lost, but it seems no real search has been embarked upon.  It seems more plausible to me that Blatty's preview cut would have been left to rot on a shelf somewhere rather than melted down to make bootheels.  Barker may also have more "star power" with Morgan Creek, and since Blatty filed a lawsuit against the studio at one point over Exorcist re-release profits, there may be bad blood.  You'd think they could freaking open the doors and let Blatty check while he's still got a heartbeat.

post #15 of 189

I love Exorcist III, flaws and all, but would really like to see the dream cut.  Exorcist II: The Heretic, well, the less said the better.  Even Pazuzu hung his head in shame. 

post #16 of 189
Thread Starter 

What's amazing about HERETIC's suckitude is that reasonably talented people made that movie.  Sounds like it was a classic case of a screenplay being mangled at every turn.

 

If it's ignored, THE EXORCIST III functions pretty decently as a direct sequel - the only part you have to gloss over is the movie's portrayal of Kinderman and Karras' relationship having zero basis in the first film.  George C. Scott reflecting that "Karras was my best friend and I loved him" is pretty boggling if you're not coming from the book or you didn't come away with the impression that his chat with Karras at the track in the original meant an awful, awful lot to him.

 

 

Incidentally, the character of Kinderman in the first film demonstrates exactly why that movie holds up - because it gives a shit about the characters.  From a plot standpoint, the detective is more or less there to complicate things for Chris by needing to solve the murder (in which Reagan is implicated).  In a lesser movie, this character would have just been a dick for the sake of convenience.  Instead, he's given an actual personality, is played by the marvelous Lee J. Cobb, and is allowed to be someone likeable and reasonably developed and genuinely there to do his job.


Edited by FatherDude - 12/18/13 at 10:54am
post #17 of 189

Ya.

'best friend' is a stretch, unless you imagine Kinderman is being super cop and digging around.  Maybe in the EXORCIST movie there's some extended cut, a montage of them fishing and going on rollercoasters, laughing and high fiving and laying under the stars together.  See, they ARE best friends, and then he was taken by Pazuzu.

post #18 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatherDude View Post
 

What's amazing about HERETIC's suckitude is that reasonably talented people made that movie.  Sounds like it was a classic case of a screenplay being mangled at every turn.

 

If it's ignored, THE EXORCIST III functions pretty decently as a direct sequel - the only part you have to gloss over is the movie's portrayal of Kinderman and Karras' relationship having zero basis in the first film.  George C. Scott reflecting that "Karras was my best friend and I loved him" is pretty boggling if you're not coming from the book or you didn't come away with the impression that his chat with Karras at the track in the original meant an awful, awful lot to him.

 

 

Incidentally, the character of Kinderman in the first film demonstrates exactly why that movie holds up - because it gives a shit about the characters.  From a plot standpoint, the detective is more or less there to complicate things for Chris by needing to solve the murder (in which Reagan is implicated).  In a lesser movie, this character would have just been a dick for the sake of convenience.  Instead, he's given an actual personality, is played by the marvelous Lee J. Cobb, and is allowed to be someone likeable and reasonably developed and genuinely there to do his job.

 

While not best friends, their rapport in The Exorcist is so beautiful, including that great exchange about film, ending with "You wanna know who I think did it?  The Dominicans, go pick on them."  "I could have you deported ... I lied, you look like Sal Mineo."  Classic stuff.  Lee J. Cobb was brilliant in the part and I've never seen a performance like what Jason Miller did with Karras. 

 

Did you all know that Jason Miller was a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and is the father of Jason Patric from Lost Boys and Joshua Miller from Near Dark and The River's Edge?

post #19 of 189
Thread Starter 

I don't know what to feel about the fact that Jason Miller's involvement in THE EXORCIST III was a consequence of the studio's demands.  Apparently, the original version did not have him, but I find the switching between the two personas to be a really cool conceit.  Unlike the exorcism, that was a case of Blatty being able to make the best out of studio meddling.

post #20 of 189

Erik's not the Synchronized guy.

post #21 of 189
Thread Starter 

I was a bit confused about that...surely this is Erik.  Erik!  Get in here!

 

Someone must tell me the story about this other guy some day, though.

post #22 of 189
Well this thread has certainly moved this film to the "re-watch ASAP" column. I haven't seen this for more than 20 years/since I was 10ish. Wasn't even old enough to process what I was seeing. I'd just always assumed it to be another forgettable horror sequel..
post #23 of 189
Sorry I'm late to the party. Yes, I'm the guy writing the book, but I'm not the guy responsible for the utterly brilliant EXORCIST SYNCHRONIZED. More's the pity.
post #24 of 189
Thread Starter 

So um, cough, how's it coming?

post #25 of 189
It's been an adventure. Plot twists and sudden reveals. A book needs to be written about the making of the book. That's as much elaboration I can offer in regards to why it's taken five years or so, other than to say that new information (and leads) are constantly popping up out of the ground. One would be surprised how much misinformation (and drama) surrounds a second sequel to a classic horror film.
post #26 of 189
Thread Starter 

Has Blatty given up on cutting through the Morgan Creek red tape?

post #27 of 189
That, sir, is quite an interesting question. I wish I could give a simple answer.
post #28 of 189

http://talkbacker.com/movies/versus-the-exorcist-vs-the-exorcist-3/id=1326

 

Quote:

VERSUS: The Exorcist VS. The Exorcist 3

 

The Exorcist 3 is superior to the first film because it works on a level of metaphysical Horror that was beyond the ken of William Friedkin, who took Blatty’s rather obvious novel and shoved our faces into the bloody crotch of a 13 year old girl.

 

The Exorcist is completely unsubtle and the whole premise seems designed to be sensationalistic rather than attempt to truly unnerve people the way part 3 does. Yeah, 3 has some shock jumps (and that stupid fucking Exorcism) but if you read Blatty’s original novel Legion, you’ll see how much more powerful a story it is.

For instance, one of the thing’s that has always bothered me about The Exorcist is the fact that there is no reason for the Devil, or any other demon, to possess that 13 year old girl. I know a lot of you will say “but the Devil has no purpose beyond evil”. But there must be a reason why out of all the people in the world to possess, it chooses this girl in particular?

 

I know a lot of you will say it was about Father Merrin facing his (literal) demons and Father Karras’ crisis of faith in the wake of the death of his mother but that, IMHO, makes it no different than some police drama about the old timer and the young guy who questions if he’s doing any good. There’s others who will say it’s about how a mother must turn to the church when modern medicine and science fails to help her daughter.

 

Or maybe it’s, as some have suggested, that the movie is really about a parent panicking over her daughters emerging sexuality due to puberty and unable to control her daughters raging hormones with medicine and science, she goes medieval and has two celibate men torture her back into submission.

 

But none of these theories give any reason why it’s THIS girl in particular and that has always bothered me. To me it’s just “oh, let’s spin her head around and have her jam a cross into her cunt!”. The Exorcist feels like Mel Gibson’s ‘The Passion of the Christ’ which settles for torture and grue over any real sort of theological reasons why audiences should feel that they’ve seen an act of spiritual salvation. In both cases the movies seem to say that physical pain has some sort of cleansing properties which helps a person become of one with the divine. That sounds like bullshit to me and Rodney King sure as fuck didn’t become a Priest after the LAPD beat his ass.

 

In comparison, The Exorcist 3 presents the Horror of an executed killer using the re-animated body of a “saintly priest” to commit hideous murders through the possession of comatose patients – “A Horror to the eyes of all men who seek faith” as the Gemini Killer puts it as opposed to a sweet, innocent little girl talking dirty and puking GREEEEEEEEEEENNN SLIIIIIIIIIIIMMMMEEE, GREEEEEEEEENNN SLIIIIIIIIIIMMMEEE, GREEEEEEEEEN SLIIIIIIMME which seems a bit Special ED for the Devil if you ask me. This also presents a crisis for Sgt. Kinderman who must accept that these thing’s are happening and who must, in the end, kill his friend in the face of the punishment that he could be subjected to for doing so. He doesn’t take this lightly and only does so once he discovers the Gemini’s secret and after the murder of his friend Father Dyer not to mention the near murder of his own daughter.

 

But the main reason that I think that The Exorcist 3 is superior to the original is because of the incredible mood and atmosphere that Blatty achieves not to mention the outright surreal and weird shit that goes on. Like I said, he resorts to jump scares here and there, particularly the infamous Hallway sequence, but that scene’s where Kinderman is dreaming of the afterlife is more haunting and FUCKED UP than anything Friedkin did.

 

Blatty’s Exorcist movie is like Kubrick’s The Shining where as Friedkin’s is like the Stephen King novel. Or another comparison would be that Exorcist 3 is like The Silence of the Lambs film, mostly a series of gripping conversations between two opponents, where as Friedkin’s movie is more like Hannibal, baroque grand guignol designed to simply shock and horrify.

 

Blatty’s movie has more on it’s mind and he’s a much better Director than Friedkin who’s like a bull in a China shop. If you needed further proof of Blatty’s superior skills then watch the two movies that made Friedkin famous, The French Connection and The Exorcist, and compare them to Blatty’s fantastic The Ninth Configuration (the middle part of his Faith Trilogy including The Exorcist and Legion) and The Exorcist 3.

 

On a final note, I will say that one of the benefits of the studio imposed re-shoots on Exorcist 3 was that they were able to get Jason Miller in to shoot the scene’s which were juxtaposed with Brad Dourif’s work thus adding to the dual nature of Patient X who was host to not only the Gemini Killer but also the emerging spirit of Father Karras.

post #29 of 189
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by erik myers View Post

That, sir, is quite an interesting question. I wish I could give a simple answer.

 

Well, hopefully you'll be selling it to me soon enough.

post #30 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatherDude View Post

Well, hopefully you'll be selling it to me soon enough.
I'm hoping to have news on the sooner side of later.
post #31 of 189
Thread Starter 
My income needs disposing of.
post #32 of 189
Thread Starter 

So despite the claim last December that a director's cut was in the pipeline, we've heard nothing since, and I'm starting to get worried.

 

Now, Shout! Factory announces a collector's edition release of THE EXORICST III in October.  A two-disc release.  Extras: pending.  Could it be?

 

EDIT: Apparently Blood Disgusting has the answer:

 

Quote:
We know that the biggest question you might have is: Will there be a “Director’s Cut” of the film? The answer is yes—but with some caveats. We are working on putting together a version that will be close to Blatty’s original script using a mixture of various film and video tape sources that we have been provided with. This is still a work in progress and we will update you with more details at the time we announce the full list of bonus materials.

Edited by FatherDude - 7/12/16 at 12:55pm
post #33 of 189
Thread Starter 

Well, the bonus features have been revealed and those crazy diamonds at Shout! completely hit it out of the park:

 

Quote:

DISC ONE: The Exorcist III (Theatrical Cut)

  • NEW 2K Scan Of The Interpositive
  • Vintage Featurette
  • Deleted Scene/Alternate Takes/Bloopers
  • Deleted Prologue
  • Vintage Interviews (Featuring Behind-The-Scenes Footage) With Writer/Director William Peter Blatty, George C. Scott, Jason Miller, Ed Flanders, Grand L. Bush, Executive Producer James G. Robinson, Production Designer Leslie Dilley, Larry King And C. Everett Koop
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • TV Spots
  • Photo Galleries

DISC TWO: Legion (Original Director's Cut) 105 minutes

  • NEW Audio Interview With Writer/Director William Peter Blatty
  • NEW A "Wonderfull" Time – Interviews With Producer Carter DeHaven, Actors Clifford David And Tracy Thorne And Production Assistant Kara Reidy
  • NEW Signs Of The Gemini – An Interview With Brad Dourif
  • NEW The Devil In The Details – Interview With Production Designer Leslie Dilley, Assistant Designer Daren Dochterman And Illustrator Simon Murton
  • NEW Music For A Padded Cell – An Interview With Composer Barry DeVorzon
  • NEW All This Bleeding – A Look At The Re-shoot And Makeup Effects With Production Manager Ronald Colby, Editor Todd Ramsay, Effects Artists William Forsche, Mike Smithson, Brian Wade And Actor/Body Double Charles Powell

 

I don't care what quality the director's cut is in.  The fact that we'll have it with Blatty's commentary just secured Shout! Factory's permanent place whereever great home video distributors are worshipped as gods.

post #34 of 189

Where do you see commentary listed?

 

There's an audio interview with Blatty, but no commentary.

post #35 of 189
Thread Starter 

D'oh, I completely read "audio interview" as commentary.  Still, I'll take it.

post #36 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatherDude View Post
 

D'oh, I completely read "audio interview" as commentary.  Still, I'll take it.


Oh yeah, I'm excited about it too and have already pre-ordered. Although Cliff MacMillan of Shout! mentioned that the director's cut uses some footage from the reshoots, which makes me a little wary.

post #37 of 189
Thread Starter 

I'm just seeing the interview you're presumably referring to.  Hopefully they'll be providing details on exactly what was replaced.  I'm not clear on how footage from the reshoot can somehow paper over lost footage from the preview cut?

post #38 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatherDude View Post
I'm not clear on how footage from the reshoot can somehow paper over lost footage from the preview cut?

They may be using reaction shots from George C. Scott and possibly FX stuff. Whatever minor things weren't finished in the dailies that could be replaced by similiar images from the reshoots.

post #39 of 189
Thread Starter 

I'm struggling to wrap my mind around how that would work.

 

The other thing is that if they're sourcing the unseen footage from dailies they presumably have to re-edit those scenes from scratch.  Even Blatty wouldn't be an authority on how that stuff was initially cut at a precise level; no one's memory is that good.  And that's just the picture cut.  Dunno how they're going to tackle sound mixing.

 

This will be...interesting.  I've definitely adjusted my expectations from "We're getting the preview cut!" to "We get to see much of the footage from the preview cut."  In better news, the audio interview is referred to as a commentary in that interview, though I'm not taking that as authoritative just yet.

 

I swear the film elements will turn up in twenty-five years in a canister mislabeled as WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S II or something.

post #40 of 189
Something good would have to come from Weekend at Bernies II.
post #41 of 189
Thread Starter 

I mean, there was that Seinfeld episode where it appeared as a "Gene Pick" at the video rental store, so let's not be too quick to commandeer a Delorean.

post #42 of 189
Thread Starter 

My copy of this came in, and of course the first thing I did was watch the director's cut.

 

We already know the bad news: the reinstated footage comes largely from pan-and-scanned, VHS-based dailies, though some it is film-sourced as well.  The good news is that the result doesn't feel incomplete, though it would be nice if Shout! explained exactly what the difference is between the lost edit and their approximation of it.  I suspect they had to re-assemble the footage without a reference point and it seems they had to use the reshoot's version of certain dialog lines or camera angles in the Dourif material.  But maybe that's it?

 

Story-wise, main difference between the two versions is what's been reported all these years: the original cut features no Jason Miller, no Nicol Williamson, and no exorcism climax.  The exorcism plainly hurts the theatrical cut, but the impact of Miller is way harder to assess, because his inclusion in the theatrical version is used to excellent effect, and after all if Patient X really is Karras's body, then Karras is what he should look like.  On the other hand, it's wonderful to see Dourif's original performance, where he plays Patient X all the way through.

 

I think the director's cut is the better film, but it also made me appreciate the theatrical cut more in terms of how well Blatty rose to the occasion when having to deal with idiocy from the studio.  Obviously, he couldn't make the exorcism work because it has no place in the movie, and the image of Nicol Williamson appearing like Superman and all the effects that follow remain ridiculous and out-of-place, but he really made the mandate to include Jason Miller work brilliantly, to the point where I believe the ideal version of the film would include the Miller/Dourif dynamic from the theatrical cut and the low-key ending of the original cut.

 

The deleted prologue where George C. Scott visits the body of Karras/The Gemini in the morgue appears as an isolated deleted scene, suggesting Blatty had cut it even out of his version.  The infamous image of the decapitated priest appears neither in the director's cut nor as a standalone deleted scene.  Most likely it was never going to be in the movie:

 

 

I am grateful that Blatty was able to curate something close to his original movie, however compromised the audio/video might be.  I will forever hold out hope that the film elements are uncovered someday, but until then we have a much better idea of what this movie was supposed to be.

post #43 of 189

It was very bizarre watching the DC and seeing characters look at a photo of Brad Dourif and say, "Yeah, Father Karras."  

post #44 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatherDude View Post
 

My copy of this came in, and of course the first thing I did was watch the director's cut.

 

We already know the bad news: the reinstated footage comes largely from pan-and-scanned, VHS-based dailies, though some it is film-sourced as well.  The good news is that the result doesn't feel incomplete, though it would be nice if Shout! explained exactly what the difference is between the lost edit and their approximation of it.  I suspect they had to re-assemble the footage without a reference point and it seems they had to use the reshoot's version of certain dialog lines or camera angles in the Dourif material.  But maybe that's it?

 

Story-wise, main difference between the two versions is what's been reported all these years: the original cut features no Jason Miller, no Nicol Williamson, and no exorcism climax.  The exorcism plainly hurts the theatrical cut, but the impact of Miller is way harder to assess, because his inclusion in the theatrical version is used to excellent effect, and after all if Patient X really is Karras's body, then Karras is what he should look like.  On the other hand, it's wonderful to see Dourif's original performance, where he plays Patient X all the way through.

 

I think the director's cut is the better film, but it also made me appreciate the theatrical cut more in terms of how well Blatty rose to the occasion when having to deal with idiocy from the studio.  Obviously, he couldn't make the exorcism work because it has no place in the movie, and the image of Nicol Williamson appearing like Superman and all the effects that follow remain ridiculous and out-of-place, but he really made the mandate to include Jason Miller work brilliantly, to the point where I believe the ideal version of the film would include the Miller/Dourif dynamic from the theatrical cut and the low-key ending of the original cut.

 

The deleted prologue where George C. Scott visits the body of Karras/The Gemini in the morgue appears as an isolated deleted scene, suggesting Blatty had cut it even out of his version.  The infamous image of the decapitated priest appears neither in the director's cut nor as a standalone deleted scene.  Most likely it was never going to be in the movie:

 

 

I am grateful that Blatty was able to curate something close to his original movie, however compromised the audio/video might be.  I will forever hold out hope that the film elements are uncovered someday, but until then we have a much better idea of what this movie was supposed to be.

Thanks for the appraisal!  If/when you get a chance, let us know how the special features are.

post #45 of 189
Without the inclusion of Miller, you literally have no ties to the original film.

Marta's is recast due to Miller's alcoholism in failing health. But on top of that, you have George C Scott as Kinderman, Ed O'Malley stepping in as Dyer, and even the Father Birmingham character is re-written to become father Kanavan after Blatty wisely realized that killing his real life mentor on screen was distasteful.

So no matter how good Dourif was, Miller was always going to be a necessity in order to make this work. It's even more detrimental in the earliest drafts, which were designed to be entirely divorced from the EXORCIST altogether and featured new characters.
post #46 of 189
Thread Starter 

I think a version with no Exorcist connections could have worked, but once you have them you definitely benefit from the glue of a familiar face.  It's interesting that it was originally scripted to be that way.  I mean, doesn't the novel contain all of the same reprisals?

post #47 of 189
Early drafts were dependent upon the glue of which you speak, but when the audience doesn't know the Karras stand-in, it's a firecracker that fizzles rather than pops.

To dispel a long standing rumor: the decapitated head was never filmed. There were set photos only. Blatty changed his mind on set because he knew he'd be too tempted to use the footage.
post #48 of 189

Apparently anything that wasn't a close-up shot of Jason Miller was a body-double in Jason Miller makeup (?!)

post #49 of 189
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by erik myers View Post

To dispel a long standing rumor: the decapitated head was never filmed. There were set photos only. Blatty changed his mind on set because he knew he'd be too tempted to use the footage.
 

He makes it clear in the audio interview that he cut it out because it was too grisly, but I wasn't aware that they never rolled camera on it.  That's interesting.

 

Blatty also makes it clear that he feels the Dourif-only version of Karras is superior, saying that there are "no tricks."  And he's right - there's a certain purity to that version.  In addition, Dourif's performance is appreciably different in the original shoot.  In the featurette where Dourif is interviewed, he explains that the reshoot was rushed and he felt his performance wasn't as good.  I also wonder if modulating Dourif's voice Freddy Krueger style is something they only came up with after the reshoot.

 

But the counterpoint to all that is the concept of Patient X is communicated far better in the theatrical cut.  When I watched the director's cut last night, even coming at it with all this background, I was still slow to grasp that Dourif was, from a visual standpoint, simply meant to be Karras recast.  It only occurred to me in retrospect that James Venamun isn't actually depicted in the director's cut (since the mug shot bit is from the reshoots).  To be fair, that probably just makes me an idiot.


Edited by FatherDude - 10/13/16 at 8:46am
post #50 of 189

Dourif always struck me as a professional and also a "No bullshit" kinda guy. 

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