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Blu-ray Review: THE EXORCIST III Collector's Edition
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PHOTOGRAPHY

THE EXORCIST III Collector’s Edition

Blu-ray review by David Blackwell

 

DETAILS: 110 minutes (theatrical cut)/ 105 minutes (directors cut), featurette, vintage interviews, theatrical trailers, TV spots, still galleries, making-of documentary, audio interview with the director

VIDEO: 1.85:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen) 1080p High Definition

AUDIO: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

 

STUDIO: Scream Factory/ Morgan Creek

RELEASE DATE:  10-25-2016

THE EXORCIST III has a troubled production history.  It first started as a sequel to the original Exorcist film before writer William Peter Blatty split with director William Friedkin over creative differences, and then it became the novel Legion before Blatty decided again to make it as a movie.  John Carpenter was approached to direct and he passed which paved the way for Blatty to direct the movie himself.  He thought he had final cut, but Morgan Creek disagreed after the production was finished.  It led to rewrites and three weeks of reshoots including bringing back the original actor (Jason Miller) who played Father Karras back and adding an exorcism climax.   The additional shoot was filled with problems like Jason Miller not remembering his lines and someone doubling for him and bringing back Brad Dourif to shoot new material as the Gemini Killer.   I have seen the theatrical cut which is still a great horror movie by its own right, but the director’s cut does feature some great acting from Dourif.   On the downside, the exorcism scene should have still been left out while some of the additional shooting does have some better framing of some scenes in the composite director’s cut (since Scream Factory had to piece together the cut using a VHS source with the HD source material of the theatrical cut to create something pretty close to Blattty’s original vision).  

 

THE EXORCIST III should be treated as a direct sequel to the first Exorcist film as it picks up with Police Lieutenant Kinderman (George C. Scott) who is haunted over the death of his friend, Father Damien Karras, who died over 15 years earlier.   He is drawn into a case involving murders linked to the Gemini Killer (who was supposedly died in the electric chair years ago), but Kinderman finds that the Gemini Killer may be in the body of a psychiatric patient who bears an uncanny resemblance to someone that Kinderman knew.   THE EXORCIST III is an exploration of terror, faith, and Haven and Hell.   It is a detective story mixed with theological discussion about the nature of evil.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

DISC 1-

Vintage promotional featurette with cast and crew interviews with behind-the-scenes footage and clips

Almost forty minutes of vintage interviews edited together with clips from the movie.  Interviews with writer/ director William Peter Blatty, actor George C. Scott, actor Jason Miller, Ed Flanders, and more

 

Deleted scenes, alternate takes, and bloopers (some sourced from the VHS edit)

 

Two theatrical trailers in 1.33:1 and six TV spots which spoil the climatic scene

 

Three still galleries: Behind-the-Scenes, Lobby Cards and Posters, and Still Photography

 

DISC 2-

Audio commentary with writer/ director William Peter Blatty serves as a an audio commentary for the director’s cut as he talks about The Exorcist, The Exorcist III (aka Legion), and faith

 

DEATH, BE NOT PROUD: THE MAKING OF THE EXORCIST III is a feature length documentary which Scream Factory unfortunately has divided into five featurettes with no play all option for the documentary:

A “WONDERFUL” TIME (24:30)- interviews with cast and crew as they talk about The Exorcist and its impact, how no one liked Exorcist 2, and how THE EXORCIST III came about from starting as a sequel that Blatty was developing with the original film’s director to becoming the novel Legion and Blatty writing and directing the film adaptation of his own novel.  They talk about the unusual medical tool they created for the movie and the casting of the movie

SIGNS OF THE GEMINI (17:42)-  an interview with actor Brad Dourif as he talks about his involvement as the Gemini Killer character during the original shoot and the reshoot

THE DEVIL IN THE DETAILS (18:03)-  production designer Leslie Dilley, the assistant production designer, and the production illustrator talk about the production design of the movie

MUSIC FOR A PADDED CELL (15:16)- composer Barry DeVorzon reveals he was originally wanted by Blatty to be the composer of the first Exorcist to talk about the various elements of THE EXORCIST III score

ALL THIS BLEEDING (28:49)- a look at the problematic reshoot to add the exorcism climax in the theatrical cut and bringing Jason Miller to play Patient X/ Father Karrass, and the special effects and makeup effects featured in the additional shooting

 

FINAL ANALYSIS: THE EXORICST III is an underrated horror classic which offers a great extras package from Scream Factory (with the minor complaint they split up the making-of documentary into featurettes without offering a play all option).

 

This review is 10-26-2016 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com

 

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