Exorcist II – Children’s Week

In celebration of the birth of our littlest angel, I thought I’d feature movies about angelic tykes. What’s that you say? There aren’t any? Hrrrrm. I guess we’ll feature the opposite then.

The Exorcist 2

PASS: Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) – Rated R

“Intent on discovering why Regan (Linda Blair) was possessed by the demon Pazuzu, Father Lamont (Richard Burton) travels to Africa in search of another who was once possessed by the same demon — and learns that Pazuzu traverses the world via locusts. But when Father Lamont returns to New York, he discovers Pazuzu has reached Regan again through Dr. Gene Tuskin’s (Louise Fletcher) hypnosis machine.”

“No! Once the wings have brushed you, you’re mine forever!”

“If Pazuzu comes for you, I will spit a leopard.”

Yes, those are actual quotes from the movie. No, they don’t make much more sense in context. Unlike The Exorcist, the script is not written by William Peter Blatty nor is this an adaptation of his book.

This film was not the travesty I’d been led to believe but neither is it very good. The first film was an excellent blend of psychology and religion. Apparently they felt that the only way to top that was to throw in parapsychology and faith healing as well. It is not a good fit.

Richard Burton plays Father Lamont, an amalgam of Father Karras (priest questioning his path and faith) and Father Merrin (learned exorcist) from the first film. Linda Blair plays a mostly grown-up Regan who now apparently has healing powers. Ellen Burstyn as the mom is nowhere to be found and is replaced by Louise Fletcher who gets an upgrade from her Nurse Ratched status by playing Doctor Tuskin here.

The real problem with this film is that John Boorman (normally a good director) clearly didn’t understand what made the first film work so well. He throws in scenes from an exotic land seemingly because of the dig scenes in the original. The locust tie-in could have been interesting but it is merely dumped into the pot with faith/psychic healing and machines that allow merged dream/memory states.

It is best to pretend that this movie doesn’t exist. Exorcist III written and directed by author William Peter Blatty is a good thriller (though not on the original’s level of course) and should be considered the real Exorcist sequel. Sadly it is not available on instant Netflix.

People Watch: James Earl Jones plays Kokumo and Ned Beatty appears as Edwards but the real surprise here is Paul (Casablanca) Henreid is the Cardinal. Sadly this was his last film.