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THE EXORCIST III appreciation thread - Page 2

post #51 of 188
Thread Starter 

Another thing that was a revelation to me was the fact that bringing Miller back was an independent issue from the imposed exorcism.  Apparently Miller would have been cast from the beginning had he been available, but he wasn't.  Then, when he became available, the studio insisted that he be used even though Dourif had already shot all the material and Blatty was pleased with it.  

 

According to Dourif, he was told that Miller would be replacing his performance completely and that he would be cut out of the movie, but then Miller proved to be in such bad shape that he couldn't do the whole performance, thus they came up with the duality concept and brought Dourif back for reshoots (necessary because they redesigned the set).  That part doesn't seem to be corroborated by anyone else, but that's incredible if true. 

post #52 of 188

That's interesting. Miller was a very good actor, but I don't think he would have been credible performing the Gemini Killer material. It would have been a stretch.

post #53 of 188
There are a lot of politics at play, and despite new factoids being made public via the Director's cut release, there is still a caution and diplomacy in many of the statements. The whole story is still largely unknown, or perhaps candy coated.

For example, Miller was never "unavailable." His alcoholism was a problem long before Blatty rolled cameras, and was a major reason why Friedkin twice declined the opportunity to direct. Dourif was cast specifically to replace him, and it was only at the studio's insistence that Miller was brought in for re-shoots; but Miller couldn't make it through the lengthy sequences due to his sickness.

Regarding the decapitated head again: I should correct myself and say that it was indeed filmed, but as an extreme longshot. Neither the studio nor the director of photography were happy about this because you couldn't see any detail whatsoever. Blatty thought it was distasteful to film it in the first place, so he intentionally sabotaged any chance of it being salvageable. In fact, when he got to the editing room, he found that his instincts had been correct, and that he DID in fact want to use it but had one a moral victory by handcuffing himself and ruining the shot. There was an attempt by the studio to do an artificial zoom on the footage into the detail of the decapitated head, but it was discarded due to magnified grain and general Hokiness.
post #54 of 188
As disturbing of a pose that priest shot would have been... the way they edit the tension and blood pooling, the scene works anyway. We really don't need to see it.
post #55 of 188
Thread Starter 

The message that "unavailability" was a diplomatic euphemism for "inoperable alcoholic" does come through in the interviews, but it's still the same result.

 

I agree that the priest scene works better without the money shot, so I think Blatty was right to discard it even if it was via a weird form of auto-sabotage.  That the special effects work survives via a production still is lagniappe.

 

One of the featurettes has a crew member going on about how good of a sport Nicol Williamson was about the agonizing make-up he had to endure, and all I could think of was that this guy was buried under Gnome King prosthetics a few years earlier, so anything was going to be a breeze by comparison.

post #56 of 188
Yeah, but you have to remember that people are only just starting to discuss Miller's alcoholism in relation to the film. Until recently, the spin was that he had a "writing assignment."
post #57 of 188

It's a little weird that Blatty brought in Williamson for the reshoots, considering that Williamson had his own battles with the bottle and had to be fired from THE NINTH CONFIGURATION (after a drunken fight in a bar landed him in jail).

post #58 of 188
Blatty desperately admired him. He told me a number of stories about the TNC shoot, much of which has also been whitewashed (the official line being that Williamson was released for not believably portraying an American colonel). In fact, Scott Wilson was the THIRD actor to take the role, taking over for Williamson's replacement(!).
post #59 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatherDude View Post

I agree that the priest scene works better without the money shot, so I think Blatty was right to discard it even if it was via a weird form of auto-sabotage.  That the special effects work survives via a production still is lagniappe.

The movie has an interesting way of going about giving you the image of the victims without showing you that damage. The cutaway to the missing Jesus head after the nurse kill, for one. The juxtaposition is brilliantly laid out. And then the ending, seeing the black boy with the Jesus head replacing his.
post #60 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by erik myers View Post

In fact, Scott Wilson was the THIRD actor to take the role, taking over for Williamson's replacement(!).

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Scott Wilson replaced Michael Moriarty. I seem to remember that was revealed in an interview with Moriarty from Shock Cinema magazine. (I don't recall Blatty even mentioning Moriarty's name in his audio commentary.)

 

Stacy Keach replaced Williamson.

post #61 of 188
Thread Starter 

I definitely buy that Blatty wanted the opportunity to work with Williamson having not been able to do so the first time.  Whatever his personal issues, Williamson was one of the great actors.  It is kind of a shame that someone of his caliber was brought in to do something so thankless and silly, but what can ya do.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Belloq87 View Post

 

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

 

Rock solid.  The featurettes on the second disc amount to a feature length documentary, and it's refreshingly unbiased in that it allows in a few voices (chiefly the original editor) that allege Blatty was distant as a collaborator and naive in his unwillingness to navigate the expectations of a studio film.  So it's nicely well-rounded as well as informational.

 

The Blatty interview is invaluable but a far cry from the scene-specific commentary we would have hoped for.  It's a conversation between Blatty and a fellow I do not know, and it's not terrifically focused in that they cover far more ground than Exorcist III in the precious time allocated, but Blatty definitely gives up some fascinating tidbits.  He comes off as a very old man, which of course he is, and so I shouldn't be surprised that he wasn't prepared to be dragged to a studio for a real commentary or participation in the on-camera stuff, which I selfishly would have wanted.

 

The first disc has over 30 minutes of vintage interviews (including Blatty, Scott, Flanders and Miller) that I had never seen before interspersed with some rare behind-the-scenes footage.  There are a few standalone deleted scenes and bloopers, but the only one of substance is the morgue prologue.   Rounding it out there's a 7-minute EPK, trailers, TV spots and photo galleries.  Pretty exhaustive effort from Shout! Factory, who as usual are doing the work the studio should have done in the first place back on the original DVD.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carnotaur3 View Post

And then the ending, seeing the black boy with the Jesus head replacing his.

 

Beyond being really disturbing, actually showcasing this image in the reshot climax always bothered me because it seems at odds with Kinderman's description of what happened.  He said the killer drove steel ingots into the boy's eyes, then decapitated him.  So why are there ingots in the eyes of the Christ head that the killer replaced the boy's with?  The statue's eyes got the same treatment?  Just confuses me.

post #62 of 188
I'd really have to see the movie again on that point. I really need to pick up this new cut like ASAP!
post #63 of 188
Thread Starter 

It's worth a purchase for a reference quality transfer of the theatrical cut alone.  I didn't buy the previous Blu-ray (I only have the old DVD) so I don't know how much better it looks, but apparently Shout! paid for a new scan so I have to imagine it's a material upgrade.

post #64 of 188

Williamson had a reputation of being a difficult drunk to deal with, which is why studios weren't banging down his door after Excalibur was a hit (and he stole the damn film). Normally after a movie like that drops, you'd be seeing a guy like Williamson as a Bond villain or the like.

post #65 of 188
Thread Starter 

While he definitely deserved a bigger film career, the stage was his focus.  He had the admiration of some legendary playwrights.

post #66 of 188
Crap. Can't believe I confused that. Yes, you're quite right about Moriarty.
post #67 of 188
Thread Starter 

Erik, does the release of Blatty's cut (sort of) have any impact on your upcoming book, or does it only serve to confirm what you've already known?  Has the release offered you any surprises?

post #68 of 188
In terms of "does it affect the book," I'll answer both no and yes.

No, I want to finish the book, but it's very academic in many ways, and I'm finishing a feature film; and yes, because I have been sitting on some very fascinating data that has been seemingly swept under the rug, and completely changes just about everything we know about thefilm's production. Without trying to sound too X-FILES, it has been suggested by third parties that I forget about the book altogether; hence my start-stop routine.

So to answer the question, I am currently writing a long form article; trying to decide where to take it.

(And no, no new revelations for me on the current release.)
post #69 of 188
(I probably just incriminated myself.)
post #70 of 188
Thread Starter 

A lot of unseemly stories have come out about much more higher profile films within a much smaller window of time than twenty-five years.  You are leaving me with hilarious images of some sort of EXORCIST III Illuminati.


Edited by FatherDude - 10/13/16 at 11:38am
post #71 of 188
Agreed, it sounds funny....assuming you aren't a struggling independent filmmaker dealing with people capable of closing doors for you.
post #72 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by erik myers View Post

In terms of "does it affect the book," I'll answer both no and yes.

No, I want to finish the book, but it's very academic in many ways, and I'm finishing a feature film; and yes, because I have been sitting on some very fascinating data that has been seemingly swept under the rug, and completely changes just about everything we know about thefilm's production. Without trying to sound too X-FILES, it has been suggested by third parties that I forget about the book altogether; hence my start-stop routine.

So to answer the question, I am currently writing a long form article; trying to decide where to take it.

(And no, no new revelations for me on the current release.)

Is it... supernatural? If we heard it would... heads spin? Or would we... throw up our soup?
post #73 of 188
Fleed???
post #74 of 188
I'm his stunt double.
post #75 of 188

In the spirit of things, here's my day so far....
post #76 of 188
post #77 of 188
Thread Starter 

Perhaps the most interesting tidbit to come out of the featurettes for me was the claim that Blatty had final cut on the movie, which kind of suggests that studio pressure ultimately overrules contract guarantees unless you're a director with some clout.  Technically, the final cut is still Blatty's, even if he was prevailed upon to do it.

post #78 of 188
Thread Starter 
Has it really been a whole year since the director's cut came out? And we lost Blatty in that time as well. But, between some approximation of LEGION finally being available and the unexpected decentness of the Exorcist television series, it is a good time for the franchise by my reckoning. Only thing that would make it better is the release of Erik's book (hint, hint).

Something that intrigued me when digging through the extras of the Shout! Factory release: in the galleries is a photograph of Dourif (as Karras) and Scott together intended to appear on Kinderman's desk in the movie. In fact, in the opening moments of the theatrical cut, when Kinderman looks wistfully at the photograph of him and Karras the insert shot reveals it is the same photo with Miller airbrushed in. Yet the equivalent scene is not in the LEGION cut, even though the existence of the original photo implies it should have been. I wonder if the insert shot got lost?
post #79 of 188

I need to get around to buying that Blu-Ray.

post #80 of 188
I need to get around to finishing that book.
post #81 of 188
Thread Starter 
Don't worry, I will be bumping this thread once a year to keep both of you focused.
post #82 of 188
Good. I need it!
post #83 of 188

Give us a taste/idea of what you have that maybe we haven't heard before?

post #84 of 188
Something I uncovered that’s never been spoken of before, and got me in trouble with several prominent members of the production.
post #85 of 188
Thread Starter 
I am assuming it is Larry King unless you tell me otherwise.
post #86 of 188
No.

Fabio.
post #87 of 188

He could believe that wasn't butter?!?!

post #88 of 188
Thread Starter 
You just signed erik's death warrant.
post #89 of 188
post #90 of 188

Every man dies. Not every man really lives.

post #91 of 188

The tell-all, names-get-named book we need. The Exorcist II: The Heretic

post #92 of 188

It really is the Heretic. It didn't show up to Church. 

post #93 of 188
Thread Starter 
Oh, you are issuing a clear invitation to the dance.
post #94 of 188
I always wanted to follow the EXORCIST book with a companion volume on THE HERETIC. Maybe even the prequels, since Schrader let me see his cut in New York prior to release, and gave me the first tell-all interview on what went down. It was my five minutes of fame, as it were.

But this means finishing that first book....
post #95 of 188

Tried re-watching The Exorcist II the other day. Nope.

 

Fascinating how a filmmaker with the pedigree and vision of Boorman (a guy with several masterworks to his name) could fuck up so spectacularly. And how people like Kermode will never let him live it down, let alone acknowledge he's made great films since.

 

post #96 of 188
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by erik myers View Post

Schrader let me see his cut in New York prior to release, and gave me the first tell-all interview on what went down.

That was a good interview. Still can't believe that the studio was so stingy that Schrader couldn't even have the DOP color correct his own work.

I don't hold HERETIC against Boorman. That project was doomed before a director ever got on board.
post #97 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatherDude View Post

I don't hold HERETIC against Boorman. That project was doomed before a director ever got on board.

 

Oh, I hold it against him. He took the gig and heavily rewrote William Goodhart's script with writing-partner Rospo Pallenberg. You look at The Exorcist II and know you're watching a John Boorman movie in all its glory. Tarantino's quote on De Palma and Bonfire of the Vanities sums it up best (paraphrasing). "Only a great director could make that kind of mess!"

 

My point is yes he failed. But he got his shit together and, as a result, rose from the ashes and delivered Excalibur, a masterwork, and other solid films like Hope & Glory, The General and The Tailor of Panama. Yet to hear Kermode bitch and whine, his career was a wash after Deliverance. Solely because Boorman had "the nerve" to sequelize his all-time favorite film. When as you said, it was getting a sequel no matter what.

 

He also conveniently fails to mention how much Friedkin has had his own set of spectacular failures Cruising, The Guardian and Jade. Frankly he never recovered after Sorcerer. Save for To Live & Die in LA and that too flopped. But he's too big a Friedkin fanboy to acknowledge that.

post #98 of 188
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.
post #99 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatherDude View Post

That was a good interview. Still can't believe that the studio was so stingy that Schrader couldn't even have the DOP color correct his own work.

I don't hold HERETIC against Boorman. That project was doomed before a director ever got on board.
Thanks for the kudos. It was a big deal to me at the time. Very exciting to see myself quoted in Fango and Variety. Then Ebert saw it, and my quotes about the whole thing being a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see two wildly different directors tackle the same exact source material, and it being like the ultimate film school experiment, were then replaced by his quotes saying much the same thing. But that’s the way the mop flops.

THE HERETIC deserves a book because it isn’t simply a disaster, it’s an incredibly thoughtful and intelligent disaster. A LOT of thought went into that film; Barbara Pallenberg’s making-of details much of the intent in design. But there’s no discussion of the finished product itself, or it’s reception, or the failed attempt to re-edit during release.
post #100 of 188

I really like Schrader's version. It plays off mostly like a drama. 

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