Forever the ugly little sister of the greatest horror film of all time, John Boorman’s Exorcist II: The Heretic has gone down in history as not only one of the most disappointing sequels of all time, but also one of the worst films you could ever experience.
Since it hitting cinemas in 1977 it has been brutally (and rightfully) panned by critics and film goers the world over. Did it ever really stand a chance? The Exorcist is one very hard act to follow. But not even that can stand as a worthy excuse when you consider the horrible plot, awful script and ridiculous performances that leak out of this atrocious film. It really is quite excruciating to sit through.
Already standing out like a sore thumb amongst efforts using The Exorcist name (not even the plain prequel(s) could lessen the blow) The Heretic also lingers as the unwanted sequel from the creator of the original story, author William Peter Blatty. His sequel to the novel, titled ‘Legion’, was eventually made for the screen in 1990. However, as Warner Brothers had insisted so hard for a sequel back in the 70’s, and both writer (Blatty) and director of the original William Friedkin backed away, The Heretic went ahead without the original brains behind it.
Linda Blair would return as Regan (and, if I might suggest, is at her most beautiful in this film!) as would Max von Sydow (Merrin) Kitty Winn (Sharon)– but that’s about as close to The Exorcist as this film gets. Which is a shame, really.
What is remarkable is how The Heretic has etched its way into the nostalgic best of all fans of The Exorcist. We remember the first time we saw Linda Blair tap dancing. We remember the locusts, the pulsing mind travel, James Earl Jones and Ennio Morricone’s memorable (yes, memorable) score. We remember the first time this ugly sister film left us scratching our heads and wondering how such a classic opportunity could be so drastically ruined. We hold it dear because at the end of the day– not everybody bothered to sit through it. But we did. And we love/hate it for that.
Exorcist II: The Heretic teaser trailer
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The Heretic on the Internet Movie Database
Excerpts from The Making of Exorcist II: The Heretic by Barbara Pallenberg
Rich Man, Boor Man by Film Freak Central
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