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Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)

R | | Horror | 17 June 1977 (USA)
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ON DISC
A teenage girl once possessed by a demon finds that it still lurks within her. Meanwhile, a priest investigates the death of the girl's exorcist.

Director:

John Boorman
Bottom Rated Movies #85 | 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Linda Blair ... Regan MacNeil
Richard Burton ... Father Philip Lamont
Louise Fletcher ... Dr. Gene Tuskin
Max von Sydow ... Father Merrin
Kitty Winn ... Sharon Spencer
Paul Henreid ... The Cardinal
James Earl Jones ... Older Kokumo
Ned Beatty ... Edwards
Belinda Beatty Belinda Beatty ... Liz (as Belinha Beatty)
Rose Portillo ... Spanish Girl
Barbara Cason ... Mrs. Phalor
Tiffany Kinney Tiffany Kinney ... Deaf Girl
Joey Green Joey Green ... Young Kokumo
Fiseha Dimetros Fiseha Dimetros ... Young Monk
Ken Renard ... Abbot
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Storyline

Dr. Gene Tuskin works with troubled children, perhaps none more troubled than Regan MacNeil, who suffers from bad dreams and repressed memories. The memories she represses are of the time she was possessed by a demon. Dr. Tuskin's invention, a device that hypnotizes two persons and links their minds together, reveals that the demon, named Pazuzu, still lurks within her. It is desperate to emerge again and wreak havoc. Meanwhile, Father Philip Lamont is ordered by his cardinal to investigate the death of Father Merrin, the priest who died while performing an exorcism on Regan. Father Lamont undertakes his task reluctantly. He feels unworthy of his assignment. He also feels that Evil is literally an entity and that this entity is winning the battle over Good. His investigation takes him to Africa where he locates another recipient of Merrin's exorcising and learns something fascinating and terrible about locusts. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It's four years later...what does she remember? See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Spanish

Release Date:

17 June 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Exorcist 2: The Heretic See more »

Filming Locations:

Kayenta, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,735,000, 19 June 1977, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$30,749,142
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the time of its release, this was the most expensive film produced by Warner Bros. See more »

Goofs

In one of the rooftop sequences with Regan, a reflection of the camera operator's hand can be seen in one of the many reflective surfaces. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[theatrical version]
Possessed Woman: Father! Agh! Agh! Oh, Father!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Tap Dance Routine Choreographed by Daniel Joseph Giaghi See more »

Alternate Versions

The infamous cut version has quite a few changes from the now widely available "Original Theatrical Version." These changes are:
  • Opening credits run over a different, faster piece of music using the same drum part as in Father Lamont's "stoning" scene. Music is also changed in some later scenes.
  • An introduction with narration by Lamont and stills from both movies is shown; it concludes with a shot of Lamont climbing the steps to the chapel in the opening scene.
  • In the opening scene, the moment where Lamont looks at Father Merrin's picture and prays is cut.
-The first "tap-dancing" scene with Linda Blair is also gone. -Introductory scenes with Father Lamont now play all at once before the story moves to the clinic, instead of alternating with clinic scenes. Most of his early conversation with the cardinal is gone.
  • In the hypnosis scene, Lamont says "I know where she is; help me to find her" in reference to the palpitating Dr. Tuskin. In this version he says only "help me to find her."
  • When describing the hypnosis session, Lamont's line of "horrible...and fascinating" is shortened to "horrible." The rest of his conversation with Dr. Tuskin is snipped out.
  • There are more demonic "we're going flying" voiceovers during Regan's dream.
  • A few lines are cut in the scene with Regan and the autistic girl.
  • Father Lamont's failed meeting with the cardinal is an alternate, more heated version. Now Lamont accuses the cardinal of secretly believing Lamont's stories of young people with miraculous healing powers, but thinking the world is "incurably sick" and being too cynical to want to bother investigating.
  • The scene showing a communion ritual at the mountaintop church is much shorter. Lamont's subsequent conversation about finding the body in the rocks below has a few cuts as well.
-Many small snippets are removed from the last twenty minutes or so of the movie, such as Sharon muttering "stupid bitch," Lamont's growled lines at the train conductor and bus driver, and Sharon's telling the cab driver that "someone is dying." Most memorably, when Dr. Tuskin and Sharon drive past the bloody car crash, we no longer see them stop to help the victims (!).
  • Climactic car crash now includes a gory shot showing the fate of the cab driver.
  • After Lamont collapses in Regan's house, Regan's line "let me reach you" is dubbed out.
  • When Regan enters her old bedroom, we're now shown inserts of Linda Blair in "possession" makeup; the shots are recycled from the first movie and its outtakes.
  • The scene where "evil Regan" and Father Lamont have a demonic necking session has been removed; so has the moment when Dr. Tuskin calls "help!" and runs up and down the street.
  • The infamous ending has Father Lamont dying instead of living, which is done simply by removing almost everything after he fights with "evil Regan." The movie now ends only with Regan making the locusts disappear, then sharing a couple of wordless looks with Dr. Tuskin.
  • When the end credits change to a black background, the slow melodic music now changes to an uptempo rock piece.
See more »


Soundtracks

Lullaby of Broadway
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played on the saxophone while Regan is tap dancing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A cult film if ever there was one
28 August 2000 | by galensaysyesSee all my reviews

I liked this when it came out and I still do. The bad press on it began immediately, and all the reviewers jumped on the bandwagon; only one of the reviews seemed to correlate with what showed on the screen. I think the time was wrong for mysticism, and maybe for religion: the sixties had ended, and the mode of fantasy then in favor was space fantasy, full of technical detail. A couple of decades later, the climate is different: "Stigmata", which has a story not unlike that of "Exorcist II," and looks and feels so much like it that it might almost be the same film with different actors morphed in, didn't get good reviews but wasn't laughed out of theatres either.

Most of the people who like "Exorcist II" tend not to have liked "Exorcist I" much, and vice versa. Blatty himself said in one interview that it didn't work because the director was a Protestant, and in another interview that it was because he wasn't a believer. To me the second film shows more spiritual feeling than the first, but no interest at all in the Church, and maybe in some minds that equates to unreligiousness.

The first "Exorcist" purported to be about possession, but most of its imagery was of a young girl being raped: by her mother's party guests, by doctors, by priests, by a crucifix. "Exorcist II" actually is about possession, among other things, and culminates in the interesting idea (excised after release but later restored on video and DVD) that people who have been possessed and purged of evil can go forth to heal all the others who are similarly afflicted. I happen to think that's an inspiring idea for a story.

But then I like mystical thrillers, and apparently most filmgoers don't--or didn't then. The first "Exorcist" was not one; this is. The images in the first film, when they don't involve repulsive bodily detail, have no metaphysical resonance; they're relentlessly physical, often sexual, and when the demon itself appears, it's in the form of the actual, literal statue. By contrast the images in "Exorcist II" have deliberate metaphysical implications. I doubt that they were worked out thoroughly; it's more as if Boorman were playing with them, in the same way he lets the light play through the stylized sets and behind the actors. The scenes of possession capture the sense of historical accounts of the phenomenon more than those in the first film, which is too much distracted by physical threat and sexual aberration.

Like "Exorcist II" or no, take it seriously or no, I was and am puzzled why more people were unable to enjoy its appeal to the eye and the ear (the music was pretty too), let alone to the imagination. I think perhaps they couldn't allow themselves to enjoy it: that they had to deride it and be seen to deride it because what it said, or the way in which it was said, was something that they had just learned to reject or that contradicted something they had just learned to believe.

It must be admitted that the film is unsatisfactory dramatically. The fantastic incidents of the first film, besides being reduced to the most prosaic physical terms, were fitted within a sequence of conventional, punchy, easily playable scenes; one cared about Ellen Burstyn's problems in a movieish way, and through her Linda Blair's. In the sequel Blair doesn't have the scenes to play, and her inexperience as an actress keeps one from feeling involved with her; Burton is better, but his dialogue doesn't communicate the spiritual dilemma he's undergoing. The excitements of the narrative tend rather to distract from this also. But I found them fun in their own right, and the film as well, apart from the occasional gratuitous shock for shock's sake: fun for the mind and the fancy.


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