CHUD.com Community › Forums › THE MAIN SEWER › Movie Miscellany › THE EXORCIST III appreciation thread
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

THE EXORCIST III appreciation thread - Page 3

post #101 of 187
It’s just a shame it’s so obviously unfinished.

When I saw it in New York, I watched an Avid mixdown. There was a crudely-rendered logo at the front (“EXORCIST IV”), yellow on white. Then the film played out with timecode. It looked unfinished, but being a filmmaker, I could mentally fill in the blanks. That in large part informed my review.

That said, I was horrified when Schrader sent me a DVD prior to release, and apart from opening and closing titles and the removal of timecode, it was literally the exact same film. It wasn’t properly colored or contrast-corrected, the FX were unfinished, and Mary Beth Hurt’s temp vocals for the demon were retained. I just couldn’t believe how badly he was screwed in that regard.
post #102 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by erik myers View Post

Mark is a very solid dude, and I’ve had some fantastic conversations with him. He’s incredibly opinionated, but so am I, and so is everyone.

 

I'm a big fan and think of him as heir to the throne left vacate by Ebert's passing. Just can't stand his Boorman stance is all. My bias is showing given Excalibur is one of my all-time favorite films.

post #103 of 187
I admired that he didn’t walk back on his stance that LEGION is the better film than EXORCIST III, despite the fact that it clearly isn’t.

Once Blatty leant me the various shooting scripts, coupled with the knowledge that a lack of Jason Miller robs the Karras reveal of any power, it was clear that the studio may have been on to something after all....
post #104 of 187

Yeah, I've seen some of Legion and I have to say... let's give Morgan Creek credit on that one. I don't really think the Exorcism works that well in the movie, but it did need a lead up to Karras getting shot. 

post #105 of 187
The original ending is very, very ballsy. And shocking.

And anticlimactic.
post #106 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by FilmNerdJamie View Post
 

I'm a big fan and think of him as heir to the throne left vacate by Ebert's passing. Just can't stand his Boorman stance is all. My bias is showing given Excalibur is one of my all-time favorite films.

We all have our biases.  I do think Kermode has been unfair to Boorman's post-HERETIC work, but at the same time, I'm 100% with him when it comes to his appraisal of how bad THE HERETIC is.  As I've said before, EXORCIST II plays like a personal insult from Boorman towards anybody who loved the first film, or felt it meant something to them.  It's unforgivably bad.

 

No, it doesn't tarnish Boorman as a whole for me - EXCALIBUR is terrific - but I'll never be able to fully embrace him.

post #107 of 187
Blatty and I discussed Boorman at length (after THE HERETIC, the two ran into one another abroad, and the former made a point to be very rude to the latter); and for all his complaints about that sequel, he absolutely lit up once I mentioned my love of EXCALIBUR. Beatty was a fan, and for reasons beyond Nicol Williamson.
post #108 of 187
Thread Starter 
Quote:

Originally Posted by erik myers View Post

It’s just a shame it’s so obviously unfinished.

When I saw it in New York, I watched an Avid mixdown. There was a crudely-rendered logo at the front (“EXORCIST IV”), yellow on white. Then the film played out with timecode. It looked unfinished, but being a filmmaker, I could mentally fill in the blanks. That in large part informed my review.

That said, I was horrified when Schrader sent me a DVD prior to release, and apart from opening and closing titles and the removal of timecode, it was literally the exact same film. It wasn’t properly colored or contrast-corrected, the FX were unfinished, and Mary Beth Hurt’s temp vocals for the demon were retained. I just couldn’t believe how badly he was screwed in that regard.

It's a testament to Schrader that even as a released rough cut his version is miles ahead of what the studio concocted after him. The movie's not tremendous, but it's a solid stand-up double of a film, and certainly more thoughtful a piece of work than anyone could have realistically hoped for (and indeed, than the studio was prepared to release) from a franchise prequel.



Quote:

Originally Posted by erik myers View Post

I admired that he didn’t walk back on his stance that LEGION is the better film than EXORCIST III, despite the fact that it clearly isn’t.

Once Blatty leant me the various shooting scripts, coupled with the knowledge that a lack of Jason Miller robs the Karras reveal of any power, it was clear that the studio may have been on to something after all....


That one's not as easy for me.

The problem with LEGION is that it is basically impossible to view on its own terms. You can't pretend that the footage of Jason Miller doesn't exist, any more than you can unlearn the alphabet. Therefore, I can't honestly say I know how well I would have accepted Dourif as Karras had I been forced to. Without that alternate version in the universe, it could well be that the morgue prologue and the various photographs would have been sufficient in selling the recast. Every other EXORCIST reprisal in the film is a recast, after all.

I don't think the studio was onto anything. They were mostly motivated by integrating an exorcism, correct? The pseudo-availability of Miller during the reshoots was, if I'm not mistaken, peripheral to the mandates about the climax. If Miller would have been available (aka healthy) in the first place, Blatty would have cast him.

Which is the other complicating factor. Climax and Father Morning aside, it's not like THE EXORCIST III represents what Blatty would have delivered had Miller been available from the beginning. That would have been Miller exclusively as Patient X. The duality concept came about only due to Miller being in lousy condition. It is an impressive bit of ingenuity on Blatty's part, and is another element of the final film that I appreciate and can't "unsee" when trying to evaluate LEGION, but it still represents an attempt to make the best out of a problematic situation. A version of the film where Patient X is portrayed by Karras the whole time has the benefit, as Blatty puts it, of "no tricks."

I'd have to call both cuts pretty flawed versions of what is *this* close to a masterpiece. I'm also dubious that what Shout! put together as LEGION is completely accurate, despite how well-intentioned the effort, and of course the A/V limitations are not trivial. But I do contend that if you took the theatrical cut and simply wiped out [the great] Nicol Williamson, you'd probably have a better version than either.

post #109 of 187

I had gotten a chance to talk to Brad Dourif a couple of years back (made a fool of myself by calling him Bradley) in which I made mention my love of Exorcist III.  We talked about Blatty in which he sort of just brushed him off as having gone a bit nutty as a hardcore Republican. 

post #110 of 187
I interviewed Dourif a few times. He wasn’t an easy guy to talk to. And he was very deliberate in what he did and did not reveal about what is a very complicated backstory.
post #111 of 187

Yeah, that's how I felt about it too. 

post #112 of 187
Wait. So who was the dick between Blatty and Boorman?
post #113 of 187
Blatty.
post #114 of 187

There's video of Friedkin gleefully talking about the first test screening for The Exorcist II. A film he swears he's never seen. I don't believe him.

 

You're the same guy who directed Goddamn Cruising and The Guardian. The latter was laughed off the screen as much as The Heretic. Shut the fuck up. Just grossly unprofessional and off-putting. At least with that story you mentioned with Blatty, they kissed and made up and there appears to be respect on both sides.

 

I respect the shit out of Friedkin but come on, dude. So unbecoming. 


Edited by FilmNerdJamie - 11/22/17 at 1:32am
post #115 of 187
Friedkin and Beatty both talked a lot of trash about Boorman. Yes, it was a completely wrong-headed sequel, but they made it very personal.

They passed on doing a sequel. It was their choice. And someone made a bad film. But they passed, so how can you attack the director for taking the job...
post #116 of 187
Thread Starter 
There is an alternate universe where Kubrick directed that movie. Well, not really, but he was offered it.

Was Blatty's last book, DIMITER, any good? There was talk of Friedkin directing an adaptation that turned out to be just talk.
post #117 of 187
Imagine reading LEGION, minus demons.
post #118 of 187
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by erik myers View Post

I interviewed Dourif a few times. He wasn’t an easy guy to talk to. And he was very deliberate in what he did and did not reveal about what is a very complicated backstory.

The movie must have been a bizarre experience from Dourif's perspective. He finishes the shoot, then the director tells him that although his work was good, the studio insists that he be replaced because they want Jason Miller. Oh wait, come back because Miller will only be able to do pieces. Also, you are playing effectively a different character now and you have fifteen minutes to prepare.

The most fascinating part of LEGION is how different Dourif's performance is. The gimmick there is a killer's thoughts spilling out from an innocent, even bland man's mouth. In the final cut he is playing the Gemini Killer full stop.
post #119 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatherDude View Post


The movie must have been a bizarre experience from Dourif's perspective. He finishes the shoot, then the director tells him that although his work was good, the studio insists that he be replaced because they want Jason Miller. Oh wait, come back because Miller will only be able to do pieces. Also, you are playing effectively a different character now and you have fifteen minutes to prepare.

 

Only to have his voice distorted in post.

post #120 of 187
I thought the voice distortion was best utilized during the monologue about his method of removing heads; his voice changes octaves in specific places to make you feel like this guy is a utterly insane and inhuman.
post #121 of 187
Thread Starter 
Interesting to think that in LEGION we never find out what the Gemini Killer looks like.
post #122 of 187
The forced reshoots resulted in the use of both actors, which is a prime example of art through adversity. It’s so much better than simply having one or the other.
post #123 of 187
And I never understood how people were confused by the use of two actors in that role. I saw the film on opening day at the first screening, and there were people loudly whispering to one another, asking what was going on. I was 14 and it was plain as day to me.
post #124 of 187

The moment when Dourif goes "NO I AM NOT!" is a wonderful and terrifying transition. It's interesting that the movie allows the audience to see the killer and not the detective. 

post #125 of 187
Thread Starter 
There is nothing confusing about it. Didn't know that was even a thing. LEGION would have certainly been more confusing, because it would have had to sell the audience on a recast of Karras while having Karras never behave in character.

I understand Blatty's displeasure, though. The duality compromise is a terrific gimmick, but it is a gimmick. He was able to weave straw into gold there but was still left with the task of putting in the exorcism that had no business being there. Low key or not, the story's only climax is Kinderman accepting the supernatural and killing Karras. Everything else is bullshit.

The tough question is whether the reshoots, even with its advantages, amounted to a net positive. At its core, the movie is a whodunit, and the original version, without the crosscuts and snarls and lightning and contact lenses, remains true to that somewhat humble identity all the way through. THE EXORCIST III decidedly has this other movie trying to invade it. The result is effective but not the same kind of effective. The power of the original cut is that the supernatural is real not because it is explicit, but because there is literally no other explanation. The studio's demands forced the abstract to be brought right up to your face, sometimes with success, but mostly not.
post #126 of 187

Old friends.

 

Old friends.

 

Old friends. 

 

It's a wondefull life. 

post #127 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carnotaur3 View Post

The moment when Dourif goes "NO I AM NOT!" is a wonderful and terrifying transition. It's interesting that the movie allows the audience to see the killer and not the detective. 
Compare this to the very weak version in LEGION.

https://youtu.be/f-pmi-K3oak
post #128 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatherDude View Post

There is nothing confusing about it. Didn't know that was even a thing. LEGION would have certainly been more confusing, because it would have had to sell the audience on a recast of Karras while having Karras never behave in character.

I understand Blatty's displeasure, though. The duality compromise is a terrific gimmick, but it is a gimmick. He was able to weave straw into gold there but was still left with the task of putting in the exorcism that had no business being there. Low key or not, the story's only climax is Kinderman accepting the supernatural and killing Karras. Everything else is bullshit.

The tough question is whether the reshoots, even with its advantages, amounted to a net positive. At its core, the movie is a whodunit, and the original version, without the crosscuts and snarls and lightning and contact lenses, remains true to that somewhat humble identity all the way through. THE EXORCIST III decidedly has this other movie trying to invade it. The result is effective but not the same kind of effective. The power of the original cut is that the supernatural is real not because it is explicit, but because there is literally no other explanation. The studio's demands forced the abstract to be in brought right up to your face, sometimes with success, but mostly not.
The argument is sound, it it introduces another problem altogether: and that’s that without the exorcism, the sequence with Mrs. Clelia on the ceiling, and Nurse X’s demonic attack in the Kinderman home, are just as jarring as the FX finale.

By adding the exorcism, said elements build (unevenly) toward a big ending.
post #129 of 187
Thread Starter 
Those events come very late in the movie though, and are really no analogue to a guy peeling his face off the ceiling or The Pit of Damned Souls.

To me it's a matter of approach. In both versions, the conceit that the spirit of the Gemini is speaking through Karras is clear, but in the recut we straight up have the abstract depicted. It sets a certain posture.

I think both versions are a triumph of atmosphere, but there is something particularly unsettling about the original's restraint. The audience may be ahead of the lieutenant either way, but by keeping us in his shoes and having the evidence supporting the Gemini's claims stack up more gradually (the exhumation of Father Fain), the wackier stuff in the final reel is more effective. And it's still kept on this side of kabuki.

And while the released cut builds more successfully toward a big ending, the fundamental issue is that a "big" ending is not really appropriate for this story. Again it is the choice to physically manifest the abstract. By implication, demonic possession is a battle of good vs. evil. The theatrical version insists on literally giving us a priest versus a red-eyed demon as if it's a boxing match. It's not like it's invalid or plain doesn't work, but it seems to come from a different movie altogether.
post #130 of 187
FUN FACT:

Before Blatty died, he told me he had some friends over for dinner one night. Somehow the subject of EXORCIST 3 came up. Everyone wanted to watch it, and Bill was like, “No, too painful.” Ultimately he gave in after much persistence.

And he told me that after all these years removed, the ending works, and it’s the right ending, and that he had never seen that before.

He never said that on the record, but as he talked, his face lit up.
post #131 of 187
And my intention has always been to and the book with that postscript.
post #132 of 187

I think the Exorcism could work better with some fixes. First off, the priest needs more of something in the story. But there are some whacky executions in shot selection and just... the power of Pazuzu seems a bit out there compared to the original film. A little more restraint could have played better. 

 

It's not a disaster though. 

post #133 of 187
Thread Starter 
That would be a hell of a button for the book indeed.

This isn't the first time I have disagreed with Blatty. Certainly, both versions have the correct ending in the sense that the final beat is correct, but the exorcism is simply a payoff to a movie that does not exist.
post #134 of 187
I was shocked that he said this, and unfortunately, I had already put all my camera and recording gear away.
post #135 of 187

The integration of Miller and back-and-forthing with Dourif is so good. Hard to imagine that was all an after-thought.

 

Williamson and the last 10 minutes, on the other hand.

post #136 of 187
Williamson was fantastic in a nothing role.
post #137 of 187
Thread Starter 
Blatty's attempt to wedge him into the narrative organically is commendable even if it was a fool's errand. Between the new Lee Richardson dialog introducing him, "save your servant," and Kinderman reading the rite at the library, some intelligent efforts are made to massage Morning into the proceedings rather than just plugging in the scenes showcasing the character. It ends up being more of an issue of fitting him into the tone than the story.

And the climactic scene has a real problem selling the idea that Kinderman and Morning are sharing the same reality, much less the same room. It's not an issue of trying to fuse old footage with new because it's all new, but the utter lack of interaction or even acknowledgment between the characters is distracting.
post #138 of 187
Well, to be fair, Morning is dead when Kinderman arrives.

(Though this is retconned in THE EXORCIST: SYNCHRONIZED!)
post #139 of 187
Always wondered if Morning was alive or not at the end after his "resurrection."

Still amazes me how Williamson wasn't in more big movies after Excalibur. Being a mean drunk certainly didn't stop others.
Edited by FilmNerdJamie - 11/22/17 at 4:03pm
post #140 of 187
Well, he was in SPAWN.

Ah

I’m not doing this right, am I?
post #141 of 187
Thread Starter 
With that voice of his, you'd think he'd have found as much work in the recording booth as Mark Hamill or Tim Curry.
post #142 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by erik myers View Post

Well, he was in SPAWN.

Ah

I’m not doing this right, am I?

 

Funny you say that. When I first saw Excalibur, I kept thinking "I know this guy from somewhere!" until it finally dawned on me.

post #143 of 187
I always fan-casted him as Gandalf.

I grew up listening to his reading of THE HOBBIT.
post #144 of 187
Thread Starter 
He would have been an amazing Gandalf.
post #145 of 187

He struck me as a Bond villain or Desmond Llewelyn's replacement.

post #146 of 187
Has anyone seen MILLER’S TALE, the documentary on Jason Miller?

The director sent me a DVD. It’s not bad, and really shows what a talent he was, and the way his initial success and subsequent failures laid him low.
post #147 of 187
Thread Starter 
It doesn't seem particularly easy to find.
post #148 of 187
It was a PBS doc; it’s probably available through their website.
post #149 of 187

Funny you mention Miller's Tale, I was wondering about that last week.

 

Miller is another one (like Nigel Terry in Excalibur) who went right back into the shadows after headlining a big hit movie. Weird how he's never gotten his proper dues with The Exorcist given he is the lead characterThat Championship Season is on my To Watch list.

post #150 of 187
I really need to see this at some point. It seems to be a fave of a lot of folks round here.

What always sticks in my mind about it (and adds a helluv an amount of extra creepy to it is that this was the movie that was playing on Jeffrey Dahmer's TV when he finally got busted and cops were searching his apartment *shudders*
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Movie Miscellany
CHUD.com Community › Forums › THE MAIN SEWER › Movie Miscellany › THE EXORCIST III appreciation thread