Review: The Exorcist III

Review: The Exorcist III (1990)

Director: William Peter Blatty

Writer: William Peter Blatty

Stars: George C. Scott, Brad Dourif, Ed Flanders

currently available on Amazon Proime (as of 10/30/19)

William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist III is supernaturally exhilarating, spellbinding its viewers in fascinated horror as it entrances them with incomparable dialog and some of the most intense performances ever captured on film.  The original novel The Exorcist, which was also written by Blatty, was transformed into a bona fide horror masterpiece by the sure hand of master director William Friedkin (The French Connection, To Live and Die in L.A., Bug).  When Blatty took over the director’s chair to adapt its first true sequel (I am discountingThe Exorcist 2 which was a shameless cash grab disowned by Blatty), he touched the film with a passionate knowledge of self, missing from the coldly scientific perspective of Friedkin’s masterpiece.  This means that pain and evil each drip from the screen during The Exorcist III, making it no less horrifying and nearly as fascinating as 1972’s The Exorcist..

Whereas Friedkin filmed his experiment in horror like a police procedural, The Exorcist III(which is actually a police procedural) is filmed with an emotional lens, making its shadows deeper and its reality more pliable.  Characters transform their faces and voices, figures crawl quickly on the ceiling, and a crucified adolescent innocent floats up from a hole in the floor.  While all the horrific descriptions and depictions of violence might risk guiding viewers to look away, the film’s performances are absolutely riveting, especially the starring turn by George C. Scott.

The pain and the terror in Scott’s face is deeply meaningful, and the rage in his arms is captivating.  It is almost as if, in times of great emotional strife, Scott’s character Lt. William Kinderman loses control of his muscles as they spasm in pain.  But it is not only Scott’s performance that elevates the film, but also Ed Flanders’ portrayal of horror-hardened Priest Father Dyer that grounds the emotion of the film in wise empathy.  But it is Brad Dourif’s spellbinding showing as the malevolent Gemini Killer that makes the film intoxicating.

Unlike his magnificent showing in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest as the suicidally bashful Billy Bibbit, Dourif’s turn in The Exorcist III shows us the self-assured face of evil.  Imprisoned, tormented, and unstoppable.  This film shows the monstrous nature of evil, forbidding its audience from looking away even for a second.  Though to my perspective this is not the staggering achievement the original The Exorcist was, this film is more emotionally tangible than its predecessor, and definitely as worthy of a watch this Halloween.

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Review: The Exorcist III

Poem: Down Low

Delicious, lovely happenings abound

around the area floating, if you look for them

in your imagination

that is, they reside on the slide

in the pride of losers clinging to each other

while the world changes behind their backs, again

just like before when it happened

to their fathers, grandfathers buddies cousins

boss’s bro’s and bandits, all of us a link

in a chain that knows nothing connects

really, which is sad

but only kind of, honestly.

 

Because Flavor is important, in all places

at once, preference being a fact of life

we express our spirits through, what we enjoy

is like a fingerprint, and could we catalog the world

in this way, as if compiling examples, or would our spirits be

like sand in water, or pliable

like Play-Doh fresh, and I think maybe all

simultaneously, meaning you could create

databases of libraries, so I guess it’s no use

considering impossibilities, but a sense is created

by what you’re a fan of, I guess.

 

All this is important because I am sickened

by what you people like, and this gives me comfort

unbelievably massive, cloaking all of us in a shadow

of spiteful noncompliance, is the consistent popularity

of 2 Broke Girls an eternal question

or just a fact, that most people are braying

assholes who think it’s funny to embarrass ugly people

in front of the others, which it often is

but still, you don’t wanna broadcast that shit

homie, gotta keep the devil

on the DL in more ways than one.

Poem: Down Low