1. Sign-up to become a member, and most of the ads you see will disappear. It only takes 30 seconds to sign up, so join the discussion today!
    Dismiss Notice

Exorcist II: The Heretic - Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by t1g3r5fan, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. t1g3r5fan

    t1g3r5fan Second Unit
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2012
    Messages:
    402
    Likes Received:
    214
    Trophy Points:
    110
    Real Name:
    Mychal Bowden
  2. Message #2 of 33 Oct 9, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
    Reggie W

    Reggie W Producer

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    Messages:
    4,296
    Likes Received:
    2,287
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Location:
    Agua Verde
    Real Name:
    Pike Bishop
    Thank you for writing this review! I've always found this film and the history of it to be rather fascinating. Probably mainly because I am a huge John Boorman fan. I think this guy was an incredible filmmaker but this film obviously got away from him and had a variety of issues. Still, it is gorgeous to look at and like most of Boorman's work jam packed with ideas.

    The first thing I always think of when this picture comes up is that Warner Brothers offered The Exorcist to Boorman prior to offering it to Friedkin. Boorman turned it down because he found the script for The Exorcist repulsive and told Warner not to make it because it was two hours of torturing a child. Boorman hated The Exorcist and walked away from it.

    So, it is kind of hilarious and ridiculous that they came back to him to ask him to direct the sequel. Initially the sequel was meant to be just a bunch of rehashing stuff from the first film and even using stuff that Friedkin had shot and not used to cobble together some sort of follow-up. Then this idea was scraped and they actually gave the entire thing to Boorman, the guy that hated the original film, and let him create the sequel.

    While he was doing this Stanley Kubrick told him that the only thing that would succeed as a sequel to the first film, which you have to realize was a daunting task because the first film had been huge, would be to turn up all the nastiness to an even higher level. Boorman told Kubrick he could not do that and he would need to go his own way with it...he said he wanted to create a riposte to the first film. In other words he wanted to create light in response to the other film's darkness.

    This is why in The Heretic (which was also Boorman's title for the picture he did not want "exorcist" in the title) Regan is all sweet and nice and the embodiment of goodness. She is literally supposed to be the opposite of what we saw in The Exorcist. It does play sort of odd in the finished film and to me it seemed so overdone Blair's performance became cloying.

    The wheels did come off this production before it ever got off the ground though and they were furiously rewriting things right from the start. The first big blow came when Lee J. Cobb, who was meant to reprise his role as Lt. Kinderman, died just about a week before shooting began. He had a major part in the film and rather than recast they wrote him out and expanded the roles of other characters. This also changed the entire story.

    It is also interesting that Father Lamont was meant to be a much younger character. Boorman had originally wanted Jon Voight to play him and then when Voight could not be had he went to Christopher Walken but Warner Brothers wanted a big name in the part and so they ended up with Richard Burton. All of this also changed the story and changed the dynamic between the characters.

    This film was actually meant to be Warner Brother's biggest picture of 1977 and they set it for a June release which they insisted Boorman make. It had what was at the time a whopping $20 million budget and they thought or hoped that it would be huge...of course the rest is history but the film nearly destroyed John Boorman.

    I would not call this a good film by any stretch but it is interesting and beautiful to look at. Weirdly, Martin Scorsese likes this film more than The Exorcist...I am guessing he has his reasons for this.

    I have not watched this in some time but I will watch it before the end of the month as part of my Halloween viewing. I am also going to watch another 2 this month that was a follow-up to a game changing horror film and that also flopped and was excoriated by both fans and critics...The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 which I have not seen since it was in the cinema back in 1986. This film also took things in a totally different direction than the much loved first picture which always seems to be something that fans and critics struggle with.

    I doubt either of these pictures will get better this time around but I am curious to look at them again with fresh eyes.
     
    Blimpoy06 and TravisR like this.
  3. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Messages:
    32,457
    Likes Received:
    9,282
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    The basement of the FBI building
    The Exorcist II is lousy (though the behind the scenes stuff is certainly interesting) but TCM2 was going for black comedy and works pretty well.
     
    Brian Kidd and Reggie W like this.
  4. JQuintana

    JQuintana Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2018
    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    89
    Trophy Points:
    110
    Real Name:
    Johnny
    I have to agree, E2 is horrible. Not even in a "so bad it's good" way.
     
  5. Reggie W

    Reggie W Producer

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    Messages:
    4,296
    Likes Received:
    2,287
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Location:
    Agua Verde
    Real Name:
    Pike Bishop
    Yes, when I saw that Scream Factory was doing a special edition of this I thought "Really?" because I mean I have never known people to have liked the film. I have actually seen it several times because it has this weird effect on me where when I happen to start watching I can't stop. I mean I don't much like the acting by the leads in the film at all. The story is a giant mess. The film is often unintentionally hilarious.

    I have no idea how or why Scorsese likes this more than The Exorcist...which no matter what you think of the content of the story is a very tight, wonderfully acted, wonderfully written, and fantastically conceived work. Apparently The Heretic has it's fans and counts Scorsese as one of them.

    With Tobe Hooper's follow-up for Texas Chainsaw Massacre I remember going to this film with a bunch of friends. We were all excited to see it and see what it would be like. I think we expected a bigger film with a bigger budget and hell, even Dennis Hopper was along for the ride as the guy hunting down this bizarre cannibal family.

    We all walked out of the theater that night thinking that Hooper must have somehow hated the first film and this was his revenge on it becoming so popular. I recall several of my friends saying over and over it was the "worst movie I have ever seen" and for years whenever bad films would come up this one would immediately be mentioned.

    So, I never attempted to watch it again. Now, this month...I will go back to it knowing that Hooper jammed the film with goofball comedy and intentional satire and see if it hits me in a different way. I know that this film also has it's fans and also is thought of by some as a misunderstood gem. Not sure I will get to that point but I will go in with an open mind.

    I recall back in the 1980s horror sequels were thought of as wildly hit or miss. Heck, I remember seeing Halloween 3 with friends and the absolute fury of people coming out of the cinema and yelling "Where's Michael?" during the picture. I actually liked Halloween 3 and thought it was a brilliant idea. Hey, everybody is a critic, right?
     
    TravisR likes this.
  6. Brian Kidd

    Brian Kidd Cinematographer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2000
    Messages:
    2,266
    Likes Received:
    762
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    I think that, in retrospect, Halloween 3 has grown in popularity over the years once the furor died down and Michael came back in Halloween 4. I always really enjoyed it as a gonzo paranoia flick with campy performances and a nasty streak of black humor throughout. I remember buying the Don Post skull mask featured in the film when I visited Disney World the year after it came out. I was so jazzed to have a "Halloween 3" mask. I was an odd child.

    Exorcist II, which I just rewatched for the first time in years about a week ago, is still a mess. It has some interesting ideas and some great Boorman visuals, but the plot doesn't really hold together and, to be honest, the middle part of the film is a slog to get through. It's one of those films that I return to every few years because it has enough in it to make it worth watching, but I'll never consider it a successful film.
     
    Reggie W and TravisR like this.
  7. Reggie W

    Reggie W Producer

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    Messages:
    4,296
    Likes Received:
    2,287
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Location:
    Agua Verde
    Real Name:
    Pike Bishop
    I do think that in many cases like this people go into a sequel expecting it to be much like the first film...or first couple of films...and if the film is something different that is a major issue for the audience. I think today with the focus on sequels they do specifically and intentionally try to rehash whatever was in the previous film or films to deliver exactly what an audience expects.

    So, films like The Heretic, TCM2, or Halloween 3 would never get made today. They would be shot down at once for moving in unwanted and "risky" directions. I think many people would say for the better. I like that they exist though and I think the idea of not just rehashing the first film is a good idea.

    Revisiting these films knowing what they are and what they were attempting to do with the understanding in place that they are not much like the earlier films...well...maybe people can find some sort of appreciation for them and what the filmmakers were attempting.
     
    Blimpoy06 and Stephen_J_H like this.
  8. JQuintana

    JQuintana Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2018
    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    89
    Trophy Points:
    110
    Real Name:
    Johnny
    But you can't blame the audience for their angry and hatred of the film at the time (or now). When a movie is name "Halloween 3" you would 100% expect to see a continuation of the series with Michael in it. Instead it's a TOTALLY different movie that had zero to do with the Michael story line. Not even in the tiniest of ways. So yeah, people had every right to be vocal about their hatred of it.
     
  9. Reggie W

    Reggie W Producer

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    Messages:
    4,296
    Likes Received:
    2,287
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Location:
    Agua Verde
    Real Name:
    Pike Bishop
    I recall that the way people put it at the time Halloween 3 came out was "You don't make a Jaws movie with no shark!"

    So, I know what you mean. My feeling was they had played out the Michael Myers arc in the first two films. I thought Carpenter's idea to then turn the Halloween series into a totally different film set at Halloween each year was fantastic.

    I mean they did bring Michael back for the future entries and he is back again this year...but I think pretty much most of the entries were bad to horrible. That's just one man's opinion of course.
     
  10. JQuintana

    JQuintana Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2018
    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    89
    Trophy Points:
    110
    Real Name:
    Johnny
    I still want to know what the heck the ending was all about of the sequel where some mysterious dude in a cowboy outfit freed Michael from jail at the very end of the movie, just as credits were about to roll. That one was a true "WTF" moment in the series.
     
  11. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2002
    Messages:
    15,350
    Likes Received:
    2,657
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    Malcolm
    That was the end of Part 5. Didn't they address that in Part 6 (Curse of Michael Myers)? Maybe the Producer's Cut version, more so than the theatrical release.
     
  12. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Messages:
    32,457
    Likes Received:
    9,282
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    The basement of the FBI building
    I think in the case of Halloween III, the opposite is true and an annual Halloween scary movie could actually work today. A number of TV shows today do a similar thing of telling one story each season and changing it up the next so the audience might be more willing to accept it today.


    After Carpenter left the series, Halloween 4 is the one reasonably decent movie. The rest range from bad to terrible to so-bad-they're-interesting.
     
    Reggie W likes this.
  13. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2002
    Messages:
    15,350
    Likes Received:
    2,657
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    Malcolm
    The problem was, if they wanted to have a "Halloween" franchise with different stories, they should have started with Halloween II. By having the second film as a continuation of the first, they set the pattern, so audiences expected another continuation with Part III. If they'd used the story for "Season of the Witch" as Halloween II, it might have worked.

    They're sort of doing this now with the core of the Conjuring series (excluding the spinoffs). Each film is following a different "case" of the Warrens, with the Warrens themselves as the only real link between the films.
     
    Reggie W and Josh Steinberg like this.
  14. noel aguirre

    noel aguirre Second Unit
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Messages:
    396
    Likes Received:
    148
    Trophy Points:
    110
    Location:
    New York City
    Real Name:
    noel
    Ellen Burstyn was the best thing in The Exorcist and without her it doesn’t make sense and was doomed from the get go.
    Kind of like let’s make Roseanne without Ms Barr?
     
    Reggie W likes this.
  15. Message #15 of 33 Oct 9, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
    WillG

    WillG Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2003
    Messages:
    6,620
    Likes Received:
    681
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Didn’t any of those people see the trailers for HIII and notice there was no Michael or even a mention of Michael. Not did it have JLC or Pleasence. Shouldn’t that have put of some flags? Didn’t anybody read or watch the reviews? Before the SE Blu came out for HIII I was always ultra curious of what the trailer was. I wanted to know what fooled people into thinking it was another MM movie.
     
  16. WillG

    WillG Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2003
    Messages:
    6,620
    Likes Received:
    681
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Agreed. H4 has enough positives to put it in good standing (if only they had a better mask. But at least they remembered you’re not supposed to see Michael’s eyes through the mask). The rest of them you can keep (yes even H20)
     
    TravisR likes this.
  17. Reggie W

    Reggie W Producer

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    Messages:
    4,296
    Likes Received:
    2,287
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Location:
    Agua Verde
    Real Name:
    Pike Bishop
    So, I thought I would throw this into the mix because I mentioned it above. Here is Martin Scorsese on The Heretic:

    Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977, John Boorman). Again, we're dealing with metaphysics. The picture asks: Does great goodness bring upon itself great evil? This goes back to the Book of Job; it's God testing the good. In this sense, Regan (Linda Blair) is a modern-day saint -- like Ingrid Bergman in Europa '51, and, in a way, like Charlie in Mean Streets. I like the first Exorcist, because of the Catholic guilt I have, and because it scared the hell out of me; but The Heretic surpasses it. Maybe Boorman failed to execute the material, but the movie still deserved better than it got.
     
    TravisR likes this.
  18. Vic Pardo

    Vic Pardo Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2013
    Messages:
    1,406
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Real Name:
    Brian Camp
    I'm with Scorsese on this one, chiefly for the reason outlined by Boorman that I bolded in the paragraph above the Scorsese reference. I was never that big a fan of the first film, even though I did see it twice in theaters, but I loved the second film and even wrote a letter to Variety defending the film after the ending was brutally butchered during the film's first week in theaters in New York. And they published the letter! I've seen it a few times since, a couple of times on TV and then on VHS, and I was moved by it those times, so I'd love to see this Blu-ray. I used to be on a whole "new age" kick and the film spoke to that part of me that responded to that movement. I'm less enamored of that whole philosophy now, but I still like the movie. On the other hand, I haven't seen THE EXORCIST since the second theatrical screening sometime in 1974.
     
    Blimpoy06 and Reggie W like this.
  19. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2000
    Messages:
    4,364
    Likes Received:
    2,411
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Great Ennio Morricone for this movie but that's all I like about it.
     
  20. Reggie W

    Reggie W Producer

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    Messages:
    4,296
    Likes Received:
    2,287
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Location:
    Agua Verde
    Real Name:
    Pike Bishop
    Today with "franchise films and sequels" I think that the goal is not to have them stray from whatever formula they feel made the earlier pictures work. So, I am not so sure that today they would accept a shift away from Micheal Meyers to an evil Irish mask maker.

    I think you are right that we see some of this with TV shows but I think they take far more risks with TV these days than they do with movies. Basically with TV and all the streaming stuff they actually do seem to be pursuing new ideas to create new content. With movies they seem to only want to recycle content...unless you get an Amazon or Netflix backing you then again they seem interested in original content...literally filling the space vacated by motion pictures.

    I know this frustrates a guy like Tarantino because he loves cinema but the push is to take great original filmmakers (Scorsese, the Coens, Paul Thomas Anderson) out of cinemas and shift their work to streaming services. Those guys make GREAT films but they are not pulling the "half a billion" they want out of a film that theater owners want to occupy their screens with.

    I mean I think this new Michael Meyers Halloween film looks like it is well made and well thought out so it very well may be entertaining but...I also think "Jesus, how many times are you going to rehash this story?" because it was played out by the second film and this film looks like all they are trying to do is make this Halloween II 40 years later...and seriously the idea of an elderly Michael Meyers stalking an elderly Laurie Strode is a bit ridiculous. I mean what is the sequel to this? Laurie and Michael end up in the same nursing home and there is a slow motion wheelchair chase through the halls set to Carpenter's theme?

    I know there are people that really hate The Heretic, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, and Halloween III but these films...even if they did not quite work in some cases or meet expectations did show some serious imagination and creativity. I have to say NOBODY likely would have come up with what we see in The Heretic other than John Boorman.

    So, I think you are correct that Netflix might buy a series of Halloween films that feature different stories each year but the motion picture people want Mike Meyers over and over and over again.
     

Share This Page