Exorcist II: The Heretic
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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Exorcist II: The Heretic can be found here.

Father Philip Lamont (Richard Burton) is ordered by the Vatican to investigate the circumstances following the death of Father Lankester Merrin (Max von Sydow), the priest who died while performing an exorcism on 12-year-old Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) four years earlier. Meanwhile, Regan claims to remember nothing about her demonic possession but is still repressing bad dreams, so she is being monitored by Dr Gene Tuskin (Louise Fletcher) with the help of a "synchronizer", a biofeedback device used by two people to synchronize their brainwaves.

Exorcist II: The Heretic is a movie sequel to The Exorcist (1973), which was based on William Peter Blatty's 1971 novel of the same name. Although the characters were taken from Blatty's novel, the storyline was taken from a screenplay co-written by director John Boorman and American screenwriter William Goodhart, who based their screenplay on an original story by Rospo Pallenberg. After Exorcist II: The Heretic, there were three more Exorcist movies: The Exorcist III (1990), Exorcist: The Beginning (2004), and Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005).

By the Roman Catholic definition, a heretic is any Catholic who rejects essential points of orthodox dogma. For example, if a Catholic rejects the church's doctrines about Mary's perpetual virginity and her "mothership" of God, the person is a heretic. Ditto if s/he denies Jesus Christ's divinity, the pope's infallibility, the Real Presence in the Eucharist, etc. In the film, Father Merrin, who died in The Exorcist, was suspected of heresy because of his beliefs that Evil was attempting to overcome Good, and it was feared that he had become a satanist before he died. That's why Father Philip Lamont (Richard Burton) was called in to investigate the case of Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair).

Since there is no such thing as a synchronizer, it's difficult to explain how it works. Apparently, it is some kind of biofeedback device that taps into a person's brainwaves and allows them to share memories and information with another person while their brains are electronically and telepathically "synchronized."

Chris MacNeil (Regan's actress mother) was filming on location while Regan is being looked after by MacNeil's assistant, Sharon Spencer (Kitty Winn). Dr. Tuskin also says that she (Tuskin) is responsible for Regan's care in her mother's absence.

Father Karras does not appear in The Heretic. This is getting ahead a bit, but he will be reprised in The Exorcist III.

Regan and Father Lamont head for the Georgetown house by train, while Dr. Tuskin and Sharon head there by plane, all the while locusts and Pazuzu attempt to stop them. Regan and Lamont get there first and are horrified to find an evil Regan sitting on Regan's old bed. The evil Regan tries to tempt Lamont into "joining" with her. When he does, she orders him to kill the good Regan. Meanwhile, the cab carrying Sharon and Dr. Tuskin crashes in front of the house. Tuskin is pinned in the cab, but Sharon refuses to help her. Tuskin manages to pull herself out of the wreck and begs Sharon to let her into house, but Sharon refuses. Instead Sharon stamps on a glowing headlight that has fallen into a pool of gasoline, and everything goes up in flames. Inside the house, the good Regan has reached Lamont, who pounces on the bed and starts beating the bad Regan. As the locusts swarm everywhere and the fire begins to consume the house, Lamont rips the heart out of the evil Regan. The good Regan begins to twirl, and the locusts disappear. The house collapses, and Lamont absolves Sharon just before she dies. Tuskin apologizes to Regan for disbelieving her, admits that she now understands but the world won't. She tells Lamont to take care of Regan, and Regan and Lamont walk off together as the streets begin to fill with people, police, and sirens.

The house and the adjacent steps that were used in The Exorcist are still intact at 3600 Prospect Street in Georgetown in Washington, DC. The house and steps were rebuilt for The Heretic on a lot at Warner Burbank Studios. It was the replica that was destroyed at the end of the movie.

There are at least three different versions of Exorcist 2. The original version has a length of 117 minutes (112 minutes in PAL) and was re-cut to a version with a length of 110 minutes (105 minutes in PAL) at the day of its premiere by director John Boorman himself. The main differences of these versions: (1) An added flashback of the events in the prequel, (2) stock footage of Regan as demon has been flashed (Linda Blair refused to get dressed up as demon one more time so that any new scenes of possessed Regan had to be shot with a double), and (3) there's an alternate end where Richard Burton's character gets killed. The VHS contains the third version and a length of 102 minutes and 50 seconds (98 minutes and 18 seconds in PAL). This version doesn't show what happens to Philip Lamont because he doesn't show up anymore after he ripped off the demon's heart. A detailed comparison between the alternate VHS version and the original theatrical version with pictures can be found here.

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