Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)

Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Linda Blair, Richard Burton, Louise Fletcher, Max von Sydow
A girl once possessed by a demon finds that it still lurks within her. Meanwhile, a priest investigates the death of the girl's exorcist.
  • R Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 17 Jun 1977 Released:
  • 20 Aug 2002 DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • William Goodhart Writer:
  • John Boorman Director:
  • N/A Website:


The worst sequel...ever.1/10

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.
A Brilliant, Lousy Film5/10

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.
Highly underrated, but not great, either7/10
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.
So Bad It's Great!2/10
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?
Exorcist II: Alien Vomit3/10
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.