Posts about Movies
Usually we can expect the opposite to be true but I've been binging the Mission Impossible movies recently, and so far Ghost Protocol is the best among them. Found it really odd for a series to start becoming great this far in. Any others like this?
Every day in October for 30 days I'm watching a different scary movie, this year all about demonic possession.
After “Exorcist 2” I’d guess the average cinemagoer was not really primed for additional “Exorcist” sequels, the same way a person who discovers a thumb in their Whopper has probably given up on returning to that particular drive-thru.
At the same time, nobody wants a thumb to be the last thing they ever eat, so a palette cleanser was not necessarily a bad idea. It took 13 years and putting William Peter Blatty himself in the director’s chair to give us “Exorcist III.”
According to the book “The Exorcist: Out of the Shadows,” Blatty wrote “Exorcist 3” as a screenplay first but finally released it as a novel after various unsuccessful attempts to get it made, because Hollywood is to dreams what a Jello factory is to horses.
Then seven years later the movie happened anyway, based in part on the success of the book, because Hollywood is to dead horses what Herbert West is to…also dead horses? I’ve lost the thread.
Initially the film is about the oddball friendship of an aging priest (Ed Flanders) and an aging cop (George C. Scott, the same year he played several literal cartoon characters and a Nazi, making this seemingly his median offering for 1990).
You know those whiny social media jeremiads about how you “couldn’t make this movie today?” In the case of “Exorcist 3” you really couldn’t, because no modern studio is going to greenlight a horror film about two old duffers reminiscing like this.
Which is too bad, because Scott and Flanders are really entertaining, and if they were the whole movie I’d be fine with it. But a serial killer chops Flanders’ head off in between acts, so pray in vain I guess.
The murders fit the MO of the long-dead Gemini killer but seem also to have something to do with a quasi-comatose Father Karras (Jason Miller), who was mysteriously not dead but just very, very sleepy all this time.
If Catholic priests were Jedi, coming back from the dead for no reason would not seem that weird; also, if Catholic priests were Jedi, we’d have either way fewer sex scandals or way, way, WAY more, I can’t decide. As it stands though this seems odd.
The idea of serial murders committed by a possessing person/force/monster had been done many times before this and would again many, many times after, but it still feels compelling, perhaps because only a few movies have ever really executed it well.
While this is certainly a better movie than the last one, “The Exorcist 3” is that it still doesn’t really feel like a sequel to “The Exorcist,” and “The Exorcist” still feels like a movie that needs a sequel as much as I need a phantom limb.
Critics seemed mixed on it: In a review from 2000, Deseret magazine accused Blatty of “overselling” and complained about the killer’s “rambling monologue” explaining his motivations. (Really, isn’t “I’m the devil” enough?)
A 1990 review from the New York Times called “Exorcist 3” a funnier movie than the original–which is definitely true, but also like saying a tank makes a very effective paperweight.
But the movie’s fortunes have improved with time, as various other attempts at reviving “The Exorcist” as a franchise fell apart and “Exorcist 3” by comparison looks more and more like an oasis in a desert. Said oasis containing in this case a loose carp, but why nitpick?
The next entry in this franchise will have us seeing double, so come back tomorrow for more on that.