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The Exorcist III (1990)

R  |   |  Drama, Horror, Mystery  |  17 August 1990 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 16,840 users  
Reviews: 224 user | 74 critic

A police lieutenant uncovers more than he bargained for as his investigation of a series of murders, which have all the hallmarks of the deceased 'Gemini' serial killer, lead him to question the patients of a psychiatric ward.


(screenplay), (novel)
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Title: The Exorcist III (1990)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Temple
Stedman (as George Dicenzo)
Lee Richardson ...
Mary Jackson ...
Tracy Thorne ...


Lt. Kinderman and Father Dyer cheer each other up on the anniversary of the death of their mutual friend, Father Damien Karras, by going to see "It's a Wonderful Life" at the local theater in Georgetown, near Washington D.C. But there's no cheering Kinderman while a particularly cruel and gruesome serial killer is at large. His murders, which involve torture, decapitation and the desecration of religious icons, is bad enough; but they also resemble those of the Gemini Killer, who has been dead for fifteen years. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Dare you walk these steps again? See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 August 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Exorcist III: Legion  »

Box Office


$26,098,824 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Ed Flanders was originally supposed to appear as the asylum warden, Dr. Temple, but assumed the role of Father Dyer as William O'Malley (who played the part in The Exorcist (1973)) was too busy to reprise the role. See more »


Kinderman clearly punches Patient X in the nose with his right hand (Patient X's left nostril begins to bleed, and his head rocks back to the right); yet later, Nurse Allerton bandages Kinderman's left hand (over the course of a protracted dialogue scene). See more »


Kanavan: Try and make a good confession, and remember, Christ forgives all our sins.
Penitent: Only little things. Nothing. Seventeen of them, Father. The first was that waitress in Candlestick Park. I cut her throat and watched her bleed. She bled a great deal. It's a problem I'm working on, Father. All this bleeding.
See more »


References The Red Shoes (1948) See more »


Liturgical Chant
Performed by Burleigh Seaver
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

"I believe..."
8 December 2004 | by (The Void) – See all my reviews

The first 'true' and so far best sequel to the amazing 1974 original sees George C. Scott stepping into the role of Detective Kinderman (played by the late Lee J. Cobb in the original) who is investigating a series of homicides in Georgetown. The homicides, grisly in nature, follow the M.O. of the Gemini killer, a man convicted and sent to death in the electric chair 15 years ago. Several characters return this time around from the original film including Kinderman, Father Dyer (Ed Flanders) and Damian Karras again played by Jason Miller.

First up I'll talk about the acting. The cast did a bloody good job in their roles. Scott gives a tour de force performance where he mixes grandfatherly likability with someone who is clearly struggling with demons of his own. It is clear why this man is one of the best character actors of the silver screen. The few scenes that he shared with Father Dyer were played so well you really thought they had been lifelong friends. The other acting coup was getting Brad Dourif to play the Gemini killer. He proves here that he will always be more than the voice of our favorite pint-sized plastic doll from hell. His character spends the film being shackled in a cell but yet is able to convey a sense of menace few can provide with the help of other actors, props and settings. Jason Miller returns also as the 'body' of Father Karras and swaps back and forth the role with Dourif. The Kinderman / Karras / Gemini scenes are the highlight of the film. The actors go full bore at each other and turn what could have become boring exposition scenes into film highlights.

William Peter Blatty stepped up to the plate and directs this time around. He took a book he wrote, Legion and tweaked it into the screenplay for part 3. I believe, but am not positive, that the exorcism at the end of the film in not in the book. Unfortunately I haven't read it since just before the movie came out and can't remember. The direction here is done very well for his second film. He sets up a chilly atmosphere when needed the most and steps aside to let the actors do their thing. Fairly straight-forward he lets the story role without flashy visuals getting in the way, signs of a true writer. The story is character driven with a few creepy moments but I had wished the atmosphere had been a little denser with scares at the end though. This effort comes closest to the original.

The music score is a bit light with many of the better scenes given over strictly to audio effects. A little bit disappointing but doesn't affect things too badly.

In the end you have a good sequel with a character driven script and a bunch of top notch actors ripping it up. Unfortunately I thought the ending was a bit rushed with the inclusion of the exorcism is just a little out of place. What for most of the film seems like a classic example of the walk-in of an 'old soul' suddenly becomes a possession story. But you got to give the distributors what they want I guess.

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