Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) Poster

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A Brilliant, Lousy Film
Athanatos5 August 1999
Inside this terrible film is an excellent film screaming to get out. There are moments of real power and and frightening beauty, but they are drowning in sludge. One wonders if this mixture is a result of conflict amongst those making the film, or of Boorman simply not being able to keep his grasp of a vision.
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Homage to Teilhard de Chardin disguised as horror/sequel
dejanjovicic12 August 2003
As the most of the commentators argued here, this film has some serious flaws which make it very hard to comprehend. The story line is inconsistent, the acting disjointed and inadequate, not to mention that it represents a new conceptual whole, essentially detached from its predecessor. Still, it has certain qualities - some original visual effects, photography, great atmosphere (especially the scenes in Africa).

Also, put in a broader context, this film manages to capture a part of intellectual ambiance of the late seventies, introducing ideas and concepts that were then considered pseudo-scientific and fanciful, only to become legitimate subject matter of serious research, two decades later. The collapse of humanity into one group mind (obvious references to de Chardin's notion of noosphere, drawn by father Lamont), the parallels between insect (locust) and human society regarding the spread of destructive/violent behavior (check mass psychology, research on swarm intelligence, the popularity of Steven Johnson's 'Emergence' etc.)

So, for those of you expecting horror movie chills and thrills - you should skip this one. But for those of you interested in how quirky scientific ideas inspire pop-culture pieces like 'The Heretic' - it is highly recommended.
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Exorcist II: Alien Vomit
Kristine2 June 2002
Warning: Spoilers
I don't think anyone knew what hit them when The Exorcist was released in the theaters in 1973. Still to this day it remains one of the most terrifying movies of all time and is also incredibly popular. But when it was released, I'm sure a lot of people were a little curious what would happen to Chris and Regan after the exorcism and what really did happen to Father Merrin in that bedroom. However some questions are better left unanswered because we got a lot of the answers in Exorcist 2: The Herotic, one of the weirdest movies ever released. Also when I say answers, I mean the garbled up, taken by aliens, experimented on, thrown back up by the aliens onto Earth mixed in with some acid and put onto the silver screen where it was booed out of theaters. It was immediately removed and edited like crazy and still there was no way the audience was going to ever give this film a chance.

Lamont is assigned by the Cardinal to investigate the death of Father Merrin, who had been killed four years prior in the course of exorcising the demon Pazuzu from Regan MacNeil. Regan, although now seemingly normal and staying with guardian Sharon Spencer in New York, continues to be monitored at a psychiatric institute by Dr. Gene Tuskin. Regan claims she remembers nothing about her plight in Washington, D.C., but Tuskin believes her memories are only buried or repressed. Father Lamont visits the institute but his attempts to question Regan about the circumstances of Father Merrin's death are rebuffed by Dr. Tuskin. In an attempt to plumb her memories of the exorcism, specifically the circumstances in which Merrin died, Dr. Tuskin hypnotizes the girl, to whom she is linked by a "synchronizer", a biofeedback device used by two people to synchronize their brainwaves. We see what really happened to Merrin and the times that he did face the demon prior to Regan.

Exorcist 2 certainly is a bad movie, however, I must give some credit as it's a really interesting story. It's just made with the wrong people and was directed by a man who hated the first film. I think that's why it's a bad movie in some sense, it seemed to disrespect the original. Also them repeating the demon's name "Pazuzu" was just annoying and makes the demon sound less frightening. One of the things I loved about the original is that the demon that possessed Regan was kept a secret and left up to interpretation, she says she's the devil but Kerris brings up the point where that's like saying you're Napoleon Bonaparte. Then Merrin brought up that the demon is a liar, so we could deny that she's the devil himself. But giving the name Pazuzu just didn't work, well at least when you say it more than a dozen times. James Earl Jones and the locust costume was just way too funny and the funny thing is this movie was released the same year as Star Wars, wouldn't it be hilarious if he got off the set and went to do the voice work as Darth Vader in that costume?! Exorcist 2 is not the worst movie of all time, it had tremendous potential with the story, but due to the people that were working on it, it just was doomed to not hold a candle to the original. I would say that this movie is a skip, if you want to see this movie I recommend just taking acid and watching the first film.

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The worst sequel...ever.
Tyrantc16 July 2003
Wow. What can one say? Boorman went from Deliverance to this? Okay, in addition to being completely hilarious, this is also the most pretentious movie ever made, (aside from The Matrix Reloaded). Good thing Burstyn sat out for this turkey. Please tell me that I didn't see James Earl Jones in a big locust suit. Please tell me that I didn't see Oscar Winner Louise Fletcher being groped by a matted Linda Blair stand in and moaning (I am not making this up) in such a way that would make Ron Jeremy take notice. And what in the name of all things good and holy is a "Synchronizer" and what does it have to do with anything at all? Why is Africa made of fiber-glass? Why is Richard Burton made of stone? Oh, God. They couldn't have made this worse if they had scripted it so. Oh, wait...they did. Well, for all its faults at least it's not a desperate attempt by a major studio to milk whatever money they can out of a pre-existing hit by combining a-list actors, and a controversial visualist director, with a hastily prepared screenplay that shares little of the spirit and intelligence of its predecessor, producing a boring, although often laughably pious bastardization of something far, far greater. Oh wait....it is. If you're a fan of bad movies, you have reached Zen here. If you're a fan of the original Exorcist, run, just run and don't look back. Run with your arms flailing into the night as the preview audiences surely did in 1977.
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Highly underrated, but not great, either
Chromium_528 October 2005
Poor John Boorman. He has all these great ideas, but whenever he tries to put them to the screen, the result is so damn goofy you can't tell whether you're watching a metaphysical drama or a slapstick comedy (for more on this, see "Zardoz"). His "Exorcist" sequel is miles below the original if you're looking for scares, but miles above it in terms of actual storytelling, plot, character development, etc. It's full of interesting ideas (the most interesting being the idea of pure goodness as a magnet for evil), and Regan turns into an angelic heroine out to stop the demon that once possessed her. But Boorman's wacko imagery, while fascinating in places (the doves, the locusts), tends to get a little TOO wacko, to the point where you can't help laughing (the hypnosis machine, Richard Burton putting out a fire with a wooden crutch, James Earl Jones spitting up a tomato).

If you can accept the fact that this is a completely different movie than the original, you might find that it's a pretty good movie on its own. Fantastic acting from Burton, a wonderful score, and some truly gorgeous visuals, especially the climactic scene in the house, make it one of the most underrated movies of all time. Even if some scenes leave you falling over with laughter.
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Not as Bad as Everyone Says It is
little_drama_queen_199024 November 2006
OK so maybe this movie wasn't as good as the original, but honestly ask yourself Is it possible to create a movie as good as The Exorcist without recreating it? I think not. It had in my opinion a very good plot. I thought it was very cool how they went into detail about the past of Father Merrin while still focusing on what Regan is going through, and I'm glad they didn't do the same monster. I really liked how they set Father Lemont up to have to choose between the angelic Regan and the sinful Regan,and speaking of Regan Linda Blair was awesome. Going back to the end, I love how even though they looked the same and were dressed the same she managed to make the costume work, and make it look like an innocent sort of dress for one, yet at the same time the evil Regan looked sexy in the same dress!All in all I thought it was a darn good sequel and give it a 7/10!
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So Bad It's Great!
joelmeggs20 March 2005
Do I recommend seeing the Exorcist II? You bet I do! It's so ridiculously bad, you're sure to enjoy yourself. You will laugh out loud at the hypnotism scene. Your sides will hurt at the priest's attempts to put out a fire with a crutch. And was Richard Burton possessed by William Shatner for this movie? One of the best bad movies ever. Someday they'll make a movie about this movie, I'm sure of it. The director didn't like the original Exorcist! Who hires a director for a sequel when he disliked the original? And this was the most expensive movie produced by Warner Bros. at the time? Where did it all go?
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A cult film if ever there was one
galensaysyes28 August 2000
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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Not as bad...
AzNRiCE2475 September 2004
Some people say this movie is horrible, though I actually found it quite entertaining. I think the problem is the high expectations. The expectations for the movie were so great that there was just no way that it could be achieved. People habitually compare Exorcist II to the original exorcist movie, but as it's own movie, it is actually better than most horrors out there.

The scientific part was actually quite interesting to me, and the metaphor was excellent foreshadowing. Linda Blair has grown since the first exorcist, and was very good as an actress.

While not as scary as the original, this movie was filled with mystery and suspense. I recommend this movie to most fans.

7/10 ~*StaRz*~
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Arguably on the most misjudged, underrated and misunderstood movie... actually highly watchable and inspiring
videtap20 September 2010
Why that bad? I liked this movie even more than first one (although it has a very high quality which had not been matched by any sequel) but I liked the different style of this one, with an interesting metaphysics background and the emotional evolution of the first movie's characters, especially Regan, not a possessed girl anymore but a feminine Messiah. I think the movie has some failures in its execution, with some cheesy scenes and dialogs and some overacted performances, especially Richard Burton. But the final result is amazing. I like the feeling of the African sceneries and that music theme sounding when Linda Blair is on scene. This movie has a positive feeling; it's the Good, opposite to the Evil shown in the first. It suggests that the Evil goes after good people (the nurse who heals the sick, Regan that seems to be special), and I like that idea. I think people didn't understand or didn't like that change, but, another "Exorcist" replica would have been better? Maybe for the box office, but what John Boorman did with this was a bizarre but quite worthy follow-up to the 1973 smash hit. I think it is commendable. Maybe it is not a masterpiece, I agree that it is not for the masses, it has a confusing history and slow, not easily digestible by everyone, but it has "something". Maybe what the director wanted for the movie but lost in translation. This very pretentious movie seems it could have been greater and better but finally results in a strange and sometimes complicated mixture of religious and philosophical theories, with some scares (not enough for the audience) and a great adventure film component. But whether you like it or not, something is certain, at any rate, it is a beautiful film to watch: visually exciting and musically captivating.
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Not since "2001" has Hollywood taken us on such a journey...
hingleyc13 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
"Exorcist II: The Heretic" was an A-list effort at every stage of production and no expense was spared by the studio in making not just a sequel but an event. Director John Boorman sought to create a vast tapestry of science & mysticism so large it would not only expand "the Exorcist" mythology but engulf it entirely. And despite some flaws, he succeeded brilliantly with a superlative cast and state-of-the-art special effects. This was one of the most ambitious and antiscipated films of 1977 and on its' 30th anniversary feels as fresh and relevant as the day of its' release, with themes of redemption, sacrifice, the triumph of good over evil and the importance of spirituality in the shared human consciousness. From the surreal African landscapes to the dizzying heights of ultra-modern New York, from the present and into the past you will journey with director Boorman as you unlock the mystery behind demonic possession in order to glimpse the future and what lies in store for humankind because of the exorcist.
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Pazuzu and Zardoz had a love child - it's Altered States, but good.
drjackchang3 January 2008
Fans of the first Exorcist film, of which I am one, tend to hate this film. Many refer to it as the worst movie ever made, which is a bit unfair. William Peter Blatty (author of the book and screenplay for The Exorcist) has been reported as really hating this movie. I understand their reaction as this strange art-house movie has little to do with the first. Boorman's films are often less than accessible to the general public, frustratingly incomprehensible at times, and nothing like the standard popcorn-fare that makes up most of popular cinema - and the first Exorcist is a masterpiece of popcorn horror. This flick is a whole 'nother beast.

The acting is quite good throughout - it's Richard Burton, Lousie Fletcher, Max Von Sydow, and James Earl Jones after all. The cinematography and direction are superb - but it is intentionally of a certain 70's expressionistic flair that most moviegoers aren't familiar with nor would they like it. The locust-cam may seem silly to some people, but I found it quite effective, not to mention friggin' cool. The mind-melding scene was amazing, and I had to play the scene over a couple times to figure out how Boorman was able to film it at all. It's quite an impressive camera trick that he pulls off; the effect of which, sadly, can easily be missed if the film is being watched on an average-sized television.

I won't tell much about the plot, because speaking about the plot would only confuse most and spoil the fun for the few who will find this film to be brilliant. If you're looking for a horror movie, don't look to this film at all. It barely qualifies as a horror movie in any way. It's more of a theatrical-scifi-spiritual-epic journey with some horror elements driving the plot. It makes me think of David Bowie for some reason which I can't clearly pin down. But really it's not containable in any genre or understandable through brief description. If you're interested watch the preview online, which does make it look a little more action-packed than it really is - but I say that believing it to be one of the best trailers ever made. It will give you a brief taste of the movie, although it was clearly made to trick the average moviegoer into seeing something that he or she wasn't prepared for, and mostly didn't want.

Not Boorman's finest film, but it vies for position among them. It is one of the weirder movies to come out of the seventies, and I realize all that that implies. I thought it was fantastic. It is under-appreciated - movies like this couldn't get made these days. Most folks will unfortunately hate it.
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Fascinating, original and vastly underrated
Mike S.4 February 1999
Boorman is a real unique talent, who constantly shows us the world from an unusual perspective. This is one of his most annoyingly idiosyncratic films when seen for the first time. Yet it's so alive and full of ideas, that it remains stimulating when the original film is reduced in memory to a few gory set pieces. Some of the images are as great as any in film history and the music score is terrific. It has lots of things wrong with it, but on the whole, it is a candidate for the most underrated film ever made.
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Misunderstood brilliance
princehal1 May 2002
John Boorman's astonishing "sequel" to the monster hit of 1973 was accused of all the faults the original had been guilty of. In fact it redeems the whole concept, chucking out the obscene pseudo-religiosity of the first movie (which it used to justify indulging in sadistic fantasies about little girls that would have made De Sade blush) and creating instead a hypnotic nightmare-fantasy that makes Regan a sympathetic and courageous heroine. If the plot is incomprehensible it is no more so than that of most horror films, and Boorman's masterful direction gives it a gravity and emotional resonance that bring it close to the level of Dreyer's "Vampyr".

Let's hope the DVD release will bring new converts to this amazing work.
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10/10 ***** "Does great goodness draw evil upon itself?"
Doctor_Mabuse123 January 2009
William Peter Blatty, author of THE EXORCIST, based the character of Father Lankester Merrin on the Jesuit scholar Teilhard de Chardin. In books such as "The Phenomenon of Man", de Chardin theorized a metaphysical concept he called the World Mind, an interpretation of Christian mysticism which sees all minds as joined and gradually evolving into a full awareness of Being as a single consciousness akin to the New Thought idea of Christ Consciousness--the "only begotten" extension of Universal Consciousness, or God. This idea, a synthesis of Christian and Asian religious concepts, is resonant with many unorthodox spiritual teachings from Theosophy to the psychology of Carl Jung. After de Chardin's death his papers were suppressed by the Vatican and his work was investigated on charges of heresy (his ideas being heretical by the standards of the Catholic Church.)

When Blatty declined to write Warner Bros.' sequel, John Boorman and his creative associate Rospo Pallenberg developed an original script from a treatment by playwright William Goodhart, the credited screenwriter. Boorman accepted the project as a means to artistically express metaphysical ideas in which he was absorbed. The link to Teilhard De Chardin provided an ideal venue. The story of Father Lamont's spiritual odyssey is specifically a meditation on the Grail Quest theme, derived from Celtic mysticism and Arthurian legend, which underlie a thematically-related sequence in Boorman's early work: DELIVERANCE, ZARDOZ, EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC, Excalibur and THE EMERALD FOREST, comprising an important cinematic exploration of the Quest as Initiatory path.

In EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC, the late Father Merrin's reputation has fallen into disrepute and Father Lamont (Richard Burton), suffering a crisis of faith, is ordered by the Cardinal to investigate "the circumstances surrounding the death of Father Merrin" and the legitimacy of the exorcism before Merrin's papers (his life's work) can be released.

The title character of THE EXORCIST was that of Father Merrin (Max Von Sydow); this role then passed to the younger priest, Father Karras (Jason Miller). Just so, the heretic in EXORCIST II is initially Merrin until, through young Regan (Linda Blair), Father Lamont makes contact with the mind of Merrin and in that psychic joining shares his vision. Thus Lamont's descent into (and beyond) heresy is an initiatory quest which deepens as he goes against the Church's orders and ultimately calls upon the demon for guidance to the "evil heart" of the mystery.

In the scene at the Natural History Museum, the attentively listening viewer will discover (in the full 117-minute version) that Father Lamont tells Regan about Teilhard de Chardin and briefly explains the World Mind theory. The science-fictional device called the Synchronizer allows the World Mind concept to be expressed in cinematic images. (Among the many differences between this film and THE HERETIC is that the original's emphasis is strongly verbal whereas THE HERETIC expresses its complex ideas almost entirely in visual and symbolic terms.) A distinction is drawn between the peace and unity of the World Mind and the insanity ("evil") and corruption of its opposite, the ego: a state of separation from consciousness which mimics the One-Mindedness of God or the Universe. In THE HERETIC, this imitation or false Christ is symbolized by Pazuzu, the Babylonian genie and locust god--one of many "heathen" idols demonized in the Judeo-Christian tradition. (The demon was named in Blatty's novel but not in the original film.) Its activity of separation masked as joining is symbolized by the locust swarm which forms a single-mindlessness ("a Locust Mind, if you will") in mockery of Whole (Holy) Consciousness (Spirit). The resulting psychic fragmentation is reflected in the mirror images which permeate the film. Regan represents an evolutionary step toward the "Omega Point", the healing of the separation; a forerunner of Kubrick's Star Child.

John Boorman's film doesn't spell itself out for the viewer any more than does Kubrick's 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and there is no Arthur C. Clarke novel to "explain it all for us". Boorman intends THE HERETIC to stimulate intelligent and imaginative thought and speculation. Where Kubrick and Clarke's ideas (initially met with great perplexity) have long been sanctioned as worthy of consideration, Boorman's somehow flew over the heads of a viewer-ship which, threatened by the film's non-dualistic subversion of the original's simplistic "good vs. evil" formula, has for thirty years ridiculed a misunderstood artwork. The original mass audience which condemned the film on first release was fresh from making the relatively ghastly Italian EXORCIST imitation Beyond the Door a huge box office success because it gave them what they wanted and only what they wanted: puke, puke and more puke. And so like the swarming locusts, the mundane Philistine mentality endlessly repeats the hypnotic chant: "worst sequel, worst sequel, worst..." There is no actual "Director's Cut" of EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC. The 117-minute Theatrical Version is John Boorman's official cut.

During the disastrous initial release, Warner Bros. hastily issued instructions to theaters to remove specified sections of the film which had drawn audience hostility, without consulting the director. Under extreme pressure, Boorman subsequently prepared a third, more carefully edited version for the international release. The re-editing rendered a difficult and highly symbolic film incomprehensible to the horror-show expectations of the audience. The most significant deletion was the discussion of Teilhard de Chardin's World Mind theory, the central focus of the film.

This bastardized version debuted on cable in the United States and for a decade the film was available exclusively in this distorted form. The full-length version, unseen since the early weeks of the initial release, was restored in the late 1980's for home video and is currently available on DVD. Mercifully, the Butcher's Cut has been permanently withdrawn.

Given his experience with the film, it is unlikely that Boorman would involve himself in a new Director's Cut edition. Given the mindless disrespect shown the film, he seems to have washed his hands of it and its detractors.

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One of the Worst Jokes of a Movie Ever Filmed
Kirasjeri27 November 1999
This movie is not to be missed. It is SO bad it goes beyond the laughable; you will stare at it with jaw agape in wonder that it could have been written by sentient human beings. The plot, if that's the word for it, is meant to be a sequel to The Exorcist, but it is devoid of logic and seeks only to shock. Admittedly The Exorcist did some of that too, but at least it was tied to a rational plot and characters. In this mess nothing is coherent, and the entire concept of some demon who is not the Devil but is called Pazuzu and flies around in the shape of a big locust while a great actor like James Earl Jones wears silly costumes and mouths absurd dialogue is so far beyond the rational it reduces the movie to self-parody. Richard Burton is here overacting with the turgid lines he's been given. Linda Blair seemed in a daze. The final scenes in which the entire house in Georgetown, the same one from the first film, gets wrecked and someone burned alive and swarms of locusts descend is just ludicrous. When it is over the viewer also will be in a daze - it is impossible to believe a plot this bad was ever approved and put on film. It is one of the worst films of all time.
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A Beautiful and Provocative Fantasy Epic
shaneschoeppner112 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I don't think I've ever seen a film as ambitious as "Exorcist II: The Heretic". It makes perfect sense that anybody stepping up to direct a sequel to "The Exorcist" would have to go in some other direction than William Friedkin did with the original. There's no way they could top the ice-cold horror and vulgarity of "The Exorcist". "Exorcist II" deals with such heady and important themes as global consciousness, spontaneous healing, telepathy, technology, dreams, faith, and loss of faith. Linda Blair returns as Regan MacNeil, now four years older, who remembers her experience of possession all too well. She is still in the care of family friend Sharon (Kitty Winn, returning from the original "Exorcist") It seems Sharon left the MacNeil household for two years, but was drawn back to Regan and claims, unexpectedly and poignantly, that when she is with Regan is "the only time I'm at peace." Regan and Sharon now live in a gorgeous skyscraper with a perilous-looking balcony, and Regan has a therapist, Dr. Gene Tuskin (Oscar-winner Louise Fletcher) who works with the deaf and the autistic at a state-of-the-art, high-tech facility where she does ground-breaking work with hypnosis. Regan is plagued by memories of her possession, and by strange dreams of flying with a locust swarm over Africa. Dr. Tuskin encourages her to talk about her feelings, but it is clear that Regan isn't sure it will do either of them any good. Before long, we meet Father Lamont (Richard Burton) a priest who has come to doubt his faith. He is dispatched by the church to investigate the death of Father Merrin (Max Von Sydow, who returns to play a younger version of his doomed character from the first movie) Father Lamont visits Dr. Tuskin to ask for her support in interviewing Regan about what happened to her in Washington. Dr. Tuskin is leery but Regan is intrigued, and it is agreed that Father Lamont will observe a hypnotherapy session between them. This leads to a confrontation between Pazuzu (the spirit that still haunts Regan) and Dr. Tuskin that Father Lamont is able to witness, using a delicate machine that can synchronize the experiences of two minds. Lamont comes away from the experience galvanized to protect Regan. The story is interspersed with scenes of the earlier experiences of Father Merrin when he was exorcising Pazuzu from a young boy in Africa. This boy, Kakumo (the always-wonderful James Earl Jones) grows up to be a scientist who is studying the destructive swarm behavior of locusts. He tells Lamont of his plan to breed a "good locust", one that will calm the others and decrease their destructive behavior. Regan, meanwhile, is showing signs of being the human equivalent of the good locust. She unwittingly heals an autistic child, and seems to now have the gifts of precognition and telepathy. Father Lamont comes to believe that Regan is touched by God, and therefore is extremely important to saving the rest of mankind from evil. The principals are all drawn to Washington and back to the brownstone where Regan lived during her previous possession. Father Lamont and Regan travel together, while Sharon and Dr. Tuskin arrive soon after; but, as always, Pazuzu is keeping track, and he tries to kill Sharon and Dr. Tuskin in an automobile accident. They survive, but only until Sharon burns herself alive in an excruciating scene. Pazuzu finally appears to Lamont in the form of Regan's sexy and evil double. As bewitched as he is by her, ultimately he overcomes this and rips the very heart from the beast, bringing peace and hope to the world once more. Technically, every frame of this film is fascinating. The colors are subdued but amazing, and the imagery is always surreal and alive and moving. There are great, swirling shots in this movie that leave me swooning every time I look at them. There is a particular shot from Regan's balcony that pans the surrounding city (including an ominous-looking church) that is one of the most haunting shots I've ever seen in a film. The music of "Exorcist II", by Ennio Morricone, ranges from the energetic and primitive (over the African flying sequences) to the ethereal and exquisite "Regan's Theme". Many of the exterior Africa scenes were shot on a sound stage, and it only adds to the fantasy atmosphere. The scene of a locust swarm descending on Washington DC is truly inspired and terrifying, and the scientific locust footage has the same creepy documentary feeling of the original film. The finale of the movie is not to be missed; it is both apocalyptic and hopeful at the same time. One of the great things about the script is that it raises questions that it cannot answer. Much is left to the viewer to ponder, and I think that is part of the point. Too many films spoon-feed or condescend to audiences, and I find it refreshing that Boorman and writer William Goodheart did not do this. The quality of the performances in "Exorcist II" vary; Louise Fletcher could have tried a little harder, but nearly her entire performance is dubbed, so I'm not sure she should take all the blame. Burton's character is full of inner conflict, so his performance is quiet and tense. Kitty Winn plays Sharon very differently here than she did in "The Exorcist"; where in the first film she was mousy, here she is defiant and volcanic. James Earl Jones is naturally commanding of the screen. Linda Blair does well in her role, and looks more beautiful than in any other film, as if she is illuminated from within. During her hypnosis scenes she has the most intense and effective stare. And when she is walking trance-like across her balcony, wearing white and with her hair flowing (all in slow-motion) she is a vision of utter, innocent beauty. She is the goddess who must help deliver the world from its own worst self. She is 'the good locust'.
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John Boorman directs a confused and slow film, but that is worth to be seen for the performances and for the frights!!
ary12 July 1999
The excellent and competent film maker John Boorman had the hard responsibility to make a sequence which should have the same (or superior) quality of the first film, and even not achieving to give us a memorable work, he deserves to be applauded by having made a touching, although a bit slow in some moments, thriller. "The Exorcist 2" is a truly super production, with the best special effects the money could buy at the time (1977), and we notice that in each technical aspect: the cinematography, the photography and the sound track give the notion of the movie's magnitude, but even so the result didn't get to supplant the quality of the first of the series initiated by William Friedkin. Who is more talented, Friedkin or Boorman?hard to say, but lets remember that Friedkin made the first one with little money. Famous terror films generally generate sequences, and sometimes, the sequences overcome the original, it is more than enough to remind of the "Hellraiser" case , that, in 1988, had a better, more violent and cruel continuation, called "Hellbound: Hellraiser 2" (and, as "The Exorcist", the film was conducted by a new director, in this case, Tony Randel, who replaced Clive barker). In spite of great part of the "Hellbound Hellraiser 2" success derive of the fact of the memorable performances,such as the ones of the English actress Clare Higgins (playing perverse Júlia) and William Hope (as the young and brilliant dr. Kyle MacRae), the film, as well as "The Exorcist 2", overflows a rich and breath taking visual, but the script helped a lot. In the case of "The Exorcist 2",the plot didn't have the same psychological study and the character's depth of "Hellbound: Hellraiser 2" but a confused and undecided story.The great John Boorman should receive a medal: he really made everything that he could to offer a good show. The performances, excellent, come from Richard Burton, Linda Blair and Louise Fletcher. Ned Beatty is also in the film, interpreting an entertaining pilot. Beatty, an excellent actor in any role, works for the second time with Boorman, they made "Deliverance" together. Don't make a mistake, because "The Exorcist 2" is not the terrible film that the people comment, but a confused continuation, without defined objective, of one of the greatest Hollywood's successes ,but even so, the work of Boorman deserves to be seen, for its brilliant performances and for some good frights!!
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Come...fly the teeth of the wind.
airspirit771 February 2007
Contrary to what most people say...this film is not all THAT bad. It does have, perhaps, some problems about it, problems that certainly make it either hard to believe, or too laughable for some people. I don't see anything wrong with it. What we are dealing with is a prime example of how one can use the main premise of a film to build off of in a sequel. They actually do it the right way. They don't use the first film as a crutch, and they keep the references to a minimum, so the second story can take presidency. Now, in this film, we have Reagan McNeil, four years later, and still undergoing therapy so that Mother Chris McNeil (who is absent in this film) will feel better about the fact that she is always working, and a divorcée. Reagans doctor, Jean Tuskin, is a hard-core scientist, and doesn't believe in the supernatural, even though she knows about Reagans turbulent experience in the past. Soon, a fledging priest, Father Lamont, is called upon to make a final stand about the death of Father Merrin. His goal is to prove that evil exists, and to save Reagan from the battle that still ensues in her beautiful soul. Neither he, nor Reagan can predict what will happen, but will Jean Tuskin, the doctor, help them? Can she surrender her scientific methods to the religious battle that continuously plagues the earth? Can the evil spirits of the air lead our protagonists to the truth behind all demonic possession on earth? You must watch the film to get the answers.

This film is just fine for me. After all, it was made, technically, just as well, if not better, than the first, and it's a good example of how to use pseudo-science for fun and experiment in fantasy. It also has many symbolic references to the human mind, some visible, others not so much. The only downfalls are a few moments that, if edited, would take away some snicker feelings the viewer might get. I won't lie, some of the voicing of the demon is awful, but it's not the worst. It's just a different take on it. Why America is not so accepting of this film is anyone's guess. Maybe director John Boorman was right. Perhaps is WAS to good for most people...
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absolutely underrated!!!!
capoazzurro5 June 2006
First of all: This movie is underrated! And second to me, there's nothing, absolutely nothing ridiculous about this movie! Of course it's quite different from it's predecessor, so maybe some people would watch this movie with wrong expectations. But it is really entertaining movie with a mystic atmosphere and yes, good actors. Of course, if you really want to point out some things that might be unrealistic, go for it. Of course it doesn't and probably will never exist anything like a synchronizer that synchronizes the minds of two persons. And yes, of course it's not necessary to have these lights at the synchronizer, but who the hell did ever had similar thoughts about the beamer of the enterprise?! Or did anybody had problems that in any (even the good) sci-fi movie of the 80s, you had to see the same "futuristic" typo graphs, which aren't even stylish nowadays and probably won't be in one hundred years, in which time these movies took place? So where's the problem about these unimportant things, what a "synchronizer" looks or sounds like? What's important is THE STORY, THE IDEA behind the movie. And the idea behind The Heretic is an interesting, mystic one. Compared to hundreds of other horror movies this one is a really good film. My recommendation: Go and watch it yourself, and make your own mind. By the way, I'm really into horror-movies, occult-thrillers and i've seen lots of films and splatter films don't knock me off the chair, but I never had to laugh at no time in this film...and that's good for a horror movie!
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John Boorman's metaphysical extravaganza delights and surprises.
Rigor16 August 1998
John Boorman's fascinating 1977 sequel to The Exorcist is a metaphysical departure from the straight forward chills of the first feature. Perhaps this is why so few viewers find this film initially rewarding. It is much less a sequel than a whole new rethinking of the original source material. Reagan becomes a kind of new age heroine and Boorman (surprisingly) turns the misogyny and mean spiritedness of the original film into an emotionally passionate look at this young woman as a survivor of real spiritual and emotional trauma. The film has some hard amazingly passionate performances from Louise Fletcher, Richard Burton and Linda Blair. Although, it has to be admitted that the script has some of the most pretentious dialog imaginable, Boorman is remarkably able to make most of the text seem plausible. A classic of its kind.
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It's a mess but it is fascinating.
Lucien Lessard9 October 2010
Four years has passed... Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) was possessed by an demon. There was an exorcism performed by Father Merrin (Max Von Sydow) and Father Karras (The late Jason Miller). Father Lamont (The late Richard Burton) lost his faith, after an failed exorcism. The Cardinal (The late Paul Henreid) is asking Father Lamont to investigated on the late Father Merrin on heresy charges due on his controversial writings. He decided to meet Regan, now is Seventeen years old. Regan is living with her guardian Sharon (Kitty Winn) and Regan is seeing an hypnotic research specialist (Oscar-Winner:Louise Fletcher). Father Lamont is trying to find out, what truly happened to Father Merrin but he slowly discovers that the Demon, who possessed Regan hasn't truly left her body. He uncovers more of Father Merrin's past, when he did his first exorcism in Africa on a little boy. He decides to meet the former possessed soul (James Earl Jones) and try to find out, if Father Merrin made any mistakes in his past. While Regan is slowly remembering her dark past.

Directed by John Boorman (Deliverance, Excalibur, Zardoz) made an strange, messy, horror film with some (unfortunely) unintentional laughs. Blair does her best, she looks cute in most of the movie but she isn't an leading actress. The late Burton looks foolish at times with his unintentionally bad dialogue. Only Fletcher gives an memorable performance as an sympathetic doctor. This was an major box office disappointment, it was released in 1977. Which Boorman tried to re-cut the picture but it didn't help.

DVD has an fine anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1) transfer and an decent Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono Sound. DVD includes an Alternate Opening Sequence, an Teaser Trailer, Original Theatrical Trailer and Cast & Crew information. "The Exorcist 2:The Heretic" is a wild mess, it makes you wonder what Boorman and Screenwriter:William Goodhart original intentions were. Although this movie does an cult following. The biggest fan of "The Exorcist 2:The Heretic" is actually Oscar-Winning filmmaker:Martin Scorsese! This movie is best enjoyed with an open mind. The special effects does brings this movie to life at times but it is overdone by seeing Locusts on-screen, large or small. Which the feature looks pointless at times. (*** ½/*****).
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The most underrated movie in history...
stfumann20 August 2001
Let me introduce myself movie wise, I'm a fan of movies that have impressive story to them...mostly oscar winners or 3 stars & up. I don't care that much for horror because 99% of them are either boring/stupid/or just for laughs. I had never seen "The Exorcist" until a couple of weeks ago. I was told and have heard that it was one of the best if not the best horror movie created so far. I watched it and it scared me a little, which no movie i have seen since i was very young has done. It was also great with special effects, and the story line, and after i saw it once, it became one of my top favorite movies, which is usually a movie i will purchase and can watch allot without getting bored. I wanted to watch the sequels (I had only saw part of "Exorcist III" on tv, and i liked it so far). After a while, I searched for info on the Exorcist sequels on the internet..and got allot of info. After reading reviews (I'll stick to part 2) I was confused...I got some reviews from people who looked like they didn't even like the first movie so much that said "The Heretic" was one of the worst movies ever made, giving it 1 star, 1 & 1/2 stars...saying they didn't understand it...were they not paying attention? Other reviews said it was a classic, and misunderstood, not many people thought that way though. Here's what I thought. I don't think people were ready for this movie when it was released. Its different from the first since its more psychological, sort of like "The Shining". People believed that a sequel couldn't be good if made, and i can understand that. I don't want to see Regan get possessed again, thats stupid...as far as i know, with common sense, Pazuzu (NOT SATAN) wouldn't repossess Regan when it was already defeated, maybe want revenge, but not fall for it again, it lost already. BUT what is strange is thats what people wanted, another possession like the first...that is doomed to fail....it's the same basis but a sequel with means Not As Good As First, right?. Who wants to see the same movie again except a little different, you do want to see what has happened to Regan in the future though, and thats what I think the writer thought. With an Oscar Cast, how could this go wrong?. When this movie premiered, it was laughed at, pulled from theaters and bombed! this confuses me a lot. It had an impressive story, that made a little more sense actually than the first movie. This movie had more ideas in it than the first movie, and went together so nicely. Even If People Didn't Like This Movie, look at it, it had a complex story, meant to confuse a little (To make you think just like the first), and people are dumb enough to put this as 1 of the worst movies ever..think of the worst movie you saw...one with no reason for being made, easily written script, no ideas, nothing, one that annoyed you.....and people actually put this there? thats crazy...I think this was one of the best movies ever made, just like the original....Picture "The Godfather" as a 1 star movie...how would you react? Whats your or one of your favorite movies?...picture seeing it the 1st time..not knowing a rating it was given, then for curiosity finding reviews for it and having people say it was one of the worst movies ever....it would make you mad right? insult your intelligence?...well this is one of my favorite movies, I loved it, I showed my friend, he liked Exorcist a lot and thought The Heretic was better (his fav. movie)....he could get shot for that. This movie is surrounded by mystery, whats with the people that hated this movie....I don't know, maybe too good for them, too complex, can you believe one of the reasons people didn't like it is because there was a machine in it that seemed dumb because they didn't know how it could work,hmmmm was a time machine invented? i guess that means "Back to the Future" was 1 of the worst movies ever....at least(from what I heard), Martin Scorcese(director of Goodfellas, Casino, Raging Bull & Taxi Driver) thought it was great, he is also my fav. director. Critics aren't correct allot, Check this movie out if u liked the first and/or like complex movies that can make you think...... This Movie = **** Perfection
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This is not as bad as people think
Rigor-218 October 1998
I don´t think this movie is bad at all, I think it´s really good. I think this is a worthy following to the first one. Rent or borrow it and see for yourself.
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A noteworthy film, one of the most underrated movies ever!
sleiva8618 September 2010
The Exorcist II: The Heretic is, in my opinion, one of the most underrated movies ever. A well-known flop both in terms of box office and reviews. It's only but great sin is being the sequel of one of the most acclaimed and highest grossing movies in film history. "The Heretic" lacks enough scares to be qualified even as a scary movie, and the first "Exorcist" is widely regarded as "the scariest movie ever". The John Boorman's movie moves away from the genre in order to offer an independent work with a different visual and narrative style. But beyond the prejudice for being the next part of a great classic and, therefore, the high expectations placed on it, the main failure of the film (and from my point of view the only one) is its very complex plot, full of details and with an excess of information that, coupled with a somewhat neglected narrative development, built a film difficult to understand and, at times, slow and somewhat boring. A script in which take place the continuation of the story (of her protagonist Regan, played again for the beautiful Linda Blair), the supposed heresy of a priest, the eternal struggle between science and religion and metaphysics. A really far from mainstream content.

But apart from its difficult understanding, its estrangement from the genre of the first movie and its slow development, "The Heretic" is still a NOTEWORTHY MOVIE, especially if not compared to the first one. This film is valuable in itself. Personally I appreciate the risk and originality to create a new work of art. Because, above all, this movie has a remarkable art direction that helps to maintain the interest, and to lighten its dense story. The African landscapes, with simply sensational background music and an impressive use of the footage create a dreamlike feeling very accomplished. The music also stands out in other scenes of great visual impact, such as that in which Regan looks thoughtfully at its roof in an attic in New York, with a strongly beautiful score, "Regan's Theme" a melancholic and somewhat angelic theme, suggesting this girl, formerly victim of a demon, is a special human being. It's really worthy of mention this John Boorman's ability to convey certain feelings and emotions with a simple but very effective right mix of music and image. And while many dialogs have the certain innocence of that years (the 1970s), I think that almost the whole cast ensemble match their respective characters. Draws particular attention the angelic beauty of Linda Blair, who in this movie gets rid of the unpleasant character of the previous film to offer a girl that no longer possessed (although at the risk of being again) appears (as stated before) as a kind of messiah, an envoy to do the good.

I think it is a worthy and remarkable film. I'm surprised the terrible criticism raised, especially when today almost no Hollywood film has content. Maybe with a more understandable script, a little less of footage, and a few more scares, the film had managed to won the public's support. I admit it is a dense film, you can like it, you can dislike it. But no one is indifferent to it. I can't understand how the reviewers, who always support anything that away from the easy way, don't like this movie (despite its failures). It's easier to understand its relative flop at the box office (It grossed over $30 million dollars at that time, thereby it was profitable, although not as expected) because is very difficult to market it for being difficult to place it in a specific genre. But in short, I keep going thinking the same. It is one of the most underrated movies ever and I encourage a new revision. The film deserves to be watched twice at last, and unbiased. You may find, among the entire jumble, a potential masterpiece that was never a masterpiece but shows its aims to be that.

If seeing any crap movie from Hollywood now, those that offer a lot of FX and no content, do you really think that "The Exorcist II" is a bad film? It may be not easy to watch, but I think its strengths are too numerous to be considered a crap.

The best: - The amazing soundtrack by Ennio Morricone. Stunning! - The cinematography and the visuals - The whole cast ensemble. Linda Blair: an angel. - Its originality and risk - The story

The worst - Lack of scares (in my opinion it is not a failure, but compared to the first film its seems to be too light) - The difficulty to understand some things, due to its dense and a little complicated script - The ending, forced and not too conclusive

Overall: it needs a further review and another chance. I can't understand the so much hatred to this enjoyable and personal movie.
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