When it comes to the media I consume, I’m a person that loves loving things. I don’t like to spend time dwelling on things I don’t enjoy, and I can pretty much tell you something I loved about every movie I’ve seen, story I’ve read, game I’ve played and album I’ve listened to. I approach each new piece of media with the intent of finding something about it to love. This approach has greatly benefited me as a lifelong horror fan, and especially my love of movies that others might deem unwatchable.
So as I was knocking around ideas for a series of posts I could do for the Midnight Society, I decided I was going to write about horror movies, stories and games that are flawed experiences, but contain something amazing–at least, in my humble opinion.
Welcome to the first installment of DIEmonds in the Rough (Get it? Because horror? I’ll be here all week folks.).
Today we’ll be examining William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist III. Released in 1990, this film is a sequel to the original Exorcist and pretty much ignores the second film in the series, which was universally panned (although perhaps a blog post for another day). The movie follows George C. Scott’s character Lieutenant William Kinderman as he investigates a series of bizarre murders that seem to be linked to a deceased serial killer. As Kinderman gets deeper into the case, he finds that not only is it linked to the original killer, it’s also linked to the exorcism of Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair’s character from the original film).
I was a huge fan of The Exorcist, which in my opinion is one of the scariest movies ever made. I actually went and saw The Exorcist III in the theater when it came out, and it scared the hell out of me (we’ll get to why in a minute). And while the movie received mixed reviews at the time, it’s since gone on to become a cult hit, and I actually think it has a better story than the original movie (but that may just be the Criminal Justice major in me talking).
There’s definitely some rough edges to The Exorcist III, most of them having to do with the production. Not only did it take a ridiculously long time for this movie to get made (it went from screenplay to novel back to screenplay), but it went through multiple potential directors (including William Friedkin and John Carpenter), until Blatty ended up directing it himself.
The movie can be plodding at times, and both Brad Dourif and Geroge C. Scott have moments of almost cartoonish overacting (although I would argue it fits Dourif’s character perfectly). The least interesting part of the story is its connection to the events of the original film. After the initial cut was done, Blatty was pretty much forced by the studio to reshoot the ending, adding in an exorcism (to justify the franchise title in the eyes of the public). In many ways, this film would have been better off–and better received–had it not been associated with the Exorcist franchise at all.
There is a true DIEmond in this film, in the form of one of the scariest scenes ever to grace the big screen. It’s an expertly crafted few minutes of dread, punctuated by a moment of pure terror. What I love about the scene is that other than a brief change in perspective, it’s almost entirely one camera angle. By the time the scene actually
I found a cut of this scene on YouTube, and you can watch it below. BUT, I would highly recommend you watch the entire movie as opposed to just this scene. I’m putting this here mostly for those who have seen the movie to relive its greatness.
I love The Exorcist III, and it’s easily one of my all-time top twenty horror films. If you want a great crime thriller with some genuinely terrifying moments, you should absolutely give this one a watch.
Do you have any films, stories, games or movies that you consider DIEmonds in the Rough? Let me know in the comments!