- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
Forget the grandma crawling on the ceiling. The absolute BEST scene in The Exorcist III happens about halfway through the picture. A killer is loose. We have a static shot of a hospital hallway. Clean. White. The camera is positioned far enough back to capture the entire hallway, including the doors into the rooms that line the sides. A nurse completes her rounds. A security guard sits in the background. Bored. Unmoving. The nurse hears a noise coming from one of the rooms. She goes to check. The guard is tapped on the soldier by another guard. The two men then leave the area. The nurse double-checks the rooms. She locks and then shuts the door, heading back to her workstation. The locked door is immediately flung open and a man in a white bed sheet, wrapped clear around his body, walks right behind her and takes a pair of rib cutters to her neck. End scene.
Disturbing. Unsettling. Whatever your view of The Exorcist series of movies, there’s no denying their overall ability to terrify audiences. After the success of the first one and the absolute disappointment of the second, it seemed silly to do a third. Perhaps only the filmmaker and the audience knew this. A look back at the marketing strategy will confirm that, indeed, the Morgan Creek had lost their way.
Writer/director William Peter Blatty wanted his continuation of the series – starring George C. Scott as Police Lieutenant Kinderman and Brad Douriff as the Gemini Killer – to be called Legion. It was a supernatural murder mystery. The studio thought they knew better and, with epic amounts of reshoots scheduled with Jason Miller (from the original film) and Nicol Williamson as Father Morning in order to try and shoehorn Legacy into their idea of an Exorcist movie, the film simply stumbled into chaos. And no one was pleased with the results.
Fortunately, we have Scream Factory. With their release on blu-ray of Exorcist III: Collector’s Edition we have the best possible version of both the butchered theatrical cut of the film and Blatty’s original film. While the quality suffers a bit due to some of the sources of restoring Blatty’s director’s cut, it is EASY to see that his version of the film was FAR BETTER than the one distributed to theaters around the world.
Legion doesn’t feature Miller – who was considered too far gone due to the ravages of alcoholism to bother with – not does it bother with Williamson and, to its credit, it doesn’t EVEN attempt the exorcism found in the retooled version. Legion is simply a good, straightforward slice of supernatural gumshoeing that extends the life of Kinderman far past the original film.
Scream Factory does not disappoint with their handling of a very troubled production. It might not be the best film to ever be handled by those cinematic hounds of hell, but it won’t leave you howling mad either. Exorcist III is now fit to be seen and heard for the very FIRST time.
MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 110 mins
Director: William Peter Blatty
Writer: William Peter Blatty
Cast: George C. Scott, Ed Flanders, Brad Dourif
Tagline: The horror is Legion.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I have dreams... of a rose, and then of falling down a long flight of steps."
Theatrical Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Release Date: August 17, 1990
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: October 25, 2016
Synopsis: A police lieutenant uncovers more than he bargained for as his investigation of a series of murders, which have all the hallmarks of the deceased 'Gemini' serial killer, lead him to question the patients of a psychiatric ward.
Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray - October 25, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (2 BD-50)
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A
Released from the basement vaults by Shout! Factory’s horror division Scream Factory, the NEW 2k scan and 1080p transfer is simply fantastic. The crisp image is fully resolved with the lightest, most beautiful layer of grain and no detection of digital noise reduction whatsoever. Blacks are deep and strong. The mastering here is impeccable. The Director’s Cut of the movie suffers only in that it has been culled from multiple sources and much of those sources were never mastered and never issued on anything outside of VHS. So, we have to give a little there. There is a fair amount of detail and not a speck of dirt to be found in the scans of the original movie, though. Simply put, this title has never looked better. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 takes full advantage of the horror atmospherics and the score, carrying the viewer from one scene to the next, with ease.
Scream Factory spreads the bonus features here out over two discs. The ported over stuff, complete with deleted scenes, are found on the first disc. All the NEW stuff can be found on the second disc, which also contains the NEW Director’s Cut. Blatty would be proud since he never got to finish his film
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