Franchise Weekend – Exorcist 2: The Heretic (1977)

Director: John Boorman

Writer: William Goodhart (Screenplay)

Starring: Linda Blair, Richard Burton, Louise Fletcher, Max von Sydow, Kitty Winn, Paul Henreid, James Earl Jones, Ned Beatty

 

Plot: 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.


Tagline – It’s four years later…what does she remember?

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Substandard Sequel

 

Story: Exorcist 2: The Heretic starts as we meet Regan (Blair) a couple of years after the events of her exorcism, she doesn’t have any memories on those events and with the help of psychologist Dr Gene Tuskin (Fletcher) they look to rid her mind of any lingering dreams. This is until Father Philip Lamont (Burton) charged with investigating the exorcism which cost the lives of Father Merrin (von Sydow) and Father Karres arrives to see if Regan can help confirm what happened that fateful night.

Father Lamont must travel to Africa to learn the origin of the demon that is still inside Regan in any hopes of stopping before it takes over once again.

 

Thoughts on Exorcist 2: The Heretic

 

Characters – Regan is now little bit older and getting back on with a normal life, she is still seeing a psychologist to keep everything under control, when she starts to get questioned by the church about the exorcism things soon start coming back to her, this time she is in control about where her character goes. Father Philip Lamont is sent by the church to learn the truth about the original exorcism, what he learns sends him on a journey to Africa to hopefully learn the origin of the demon living in Regan. Dr Gene Tuskin is the psychologist helping sick children, one of which is Regan, she has bold ideas that could bring about new ideas to helping children open up. Father Merrin is involved in a few dream sequences, it is his death that is being investigated by Lamont.

PerformancesLinda Blair does return for this outing and doesn’t reach the levels of the first film, mostly because we don’t have to deal with many possession sequences until late in the film. Richard Burton is solid though we know how talent he is and this doesn’t show his full range. Louise Fletcher was struggling to capture her skills too and hen we look at the non-existent involvement from Max von Sydow we don’t get anything better than solid in the performance area.

StoryThe story does start on the right path, the idea that Regan could still be possessed is acceptable because we are still trying to balance the line between actual possession and mental health. Where things go terribly wrong for this story, is when we start looking at an ancient demon that is controlling Regan which has caused the events. The investigation into the origin only confuses and lessen the impact of the original film. it becomes an even bigger mess as thing unfold and we are left wondering just what the hell we are watching.

HorrorThe horror in the film doesn’t come through in any way, nothing involving any of the possesses even remote will scare the audience.

SettingsWe have a new setting, New York I feel, which is fine, but the problems here come from have a large part of the story in Africa investigating the origin over having any possession sequences which should scare us.

Special EffectsThe effects in film are weak even for the time, that locust will have people laughing.


Scene of the Movie –
The first syncing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of possession time.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the weakest sequels to a true classic I have ever seen, it has weak performances, a boring storyline and effects which haven’t dated in any acceptable way.

 

Overall: Just terrible.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Exorcist (1973)

Director: William Friedkin

Writer: William Peter Blatty (Screenplay)

Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair, Lee J Cobb, Kitty Winn, Jack MacGowran, Jason Miller, William O’Malley

 

Plot: When a teenage girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter.


Tagline – Now… Open your eyes to..

Runtime: 2 Hours 2 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly a Horror Classic

 

Story: The Exorcist starts as we meet Father Merrin (von Sydow) working overseas on an arachnological dig, uncovering something evil, Father Karras (Miller) is facing a question of faith after seeing the different effects passed over by the church and single mother Chris MacNeil (Burstyn) caring for her daughter Regan (Blair).

When Regan starts acting strange the doctors aim to look for a solution with test and even a psychologist, with them failing Chris turns to the church where Father Merrin and Father Karras look to exorcise the demon that has taken over her body.

 

 

Thoughts on The Exorcist

 

Characters – Chris MacNeil is an actress and single mother working on her new project when her daughter becomes sick, she is a concerned mother that wants answers getting ever more frustrated with the lack of results being found. Regan is the daughter is Chris, she is like any other young teenager that becomes possessed by a demon, first however she goes for medical procedures to see if it is medical before the priest come to help with the problem. Father Karras is the local priest and psychologist within the church, he can study Regan’s case with a scientific and a religious side and has been having a crisis of faith after his mother’s death. Father Merrin is the experienced priest that has been through exorcisms before he is the one that gets bought in to try and cure Regan, teaching Karras along the way.

PerformancesThis is a performance heavy movie, Ellen Burstyn is excellent in her role as the concerned mother, Linda Blair (with help from another actress) gives us one of the creepiest scary performances in horror history and the two different stages of their careers in the film performances from Max von Sydow and Jason Miller are a delight to see.

StoryThe story here shows us what is happening to a teenage girl once she becomes possessed by a demon, where this story is intelligent, is by going through the medical and mental issue which are known for being used first. Away from this and the slow build as things become even more shocking and terrifying as the film unfolds shows how story telling in horror isn’t all about jump scares, it can focus on the idea of possession becoming more powerful. The film creates the right characters for the film by giving each of our main characters enough time to develop to feel like they are going to be playing a major part in the movie too. This will become the level all horror story tellers will be looking to get close to.

HorrorThis is a horror movie that uses the slow build and horrific moments to shock us to our core as we see the procedure behind an exorcism and just how the demon can take control.

SettingsThe film does use the settings well because they put us in a location where it could happen in the middle of a big city, which only adds to the horror we are seeing.

Special EffectsThe effects that we go through are some of the best effects we will ever see in cinema for the time, practical all the way through the use of make up shows us just what could be achieved to create the horror.


Scene of the Movie –
The exorcism scenes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me So many different edits of it.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the classic horror movies that can be enjoyed in terror by anyone in the audience, at 45 years old it still stands the test of time.

 

Overall: True classic.

Rating

 

 

Summer of Fear (1978)

summerDirector: Wes Craven

Writer: Glenn M Benest, Max A Keller (Screenplay) Lois Duncan (Novel)

Starring: Linda Blair, Lee Purcell, Jeremy Slate, Jeff McCracken, Jeff East, Carol Lawrence

 

Plot: A teenage girl’s life is turned upside down after her cousin moves into her house, and as time goes by, she begins to suspect that she may be a practitioner of witchcraft.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Thriller

 

Story: Summer of Fear starts when the Bryant family Peter (East), Leslie (Lawrence), Tom (Slate) and Rachel (Blair) taking in Julia (Purcell) a cousin whose family is killed in a car crash. Rachel tries to be open to helping her cousin feel welcome but for unknown reason Rachel’s horse has taken a dislike to become a danger towards Julia as we start to see things becoming difficult for Rachel.

Rachel becomes obsessed that Julia is trying to take over her life, with first the horse being moved away and then when her boyfriend starts having a fling with her while she is coincidentally sick at the same time. Rachel believes Julia is using witchcraft to make things go her way and must uncover the truth before it is too late.

Summer of Fear brings us into the world where a perfect little world slow gets bought down by a new member to the family, we have seen this before with the likes of Step-Father. It all unfolds slowly and just doesn’t pull you in as much as it should do. You don’t really believe most of what is going on and you really don’t see any of the powers until the final act which only really disappoints.

 

Actor Review

 

Linda Blair: Rachel has the perfect life, boyfriend and champion horse, everything changes when her cousin Julia comes to stay though. Rachel loses her perfect life along with her beloved horse as she becomes the victim of the witchcraft being performed by Julia. Linda disappoints in this role and never really comes off as believable.

Lee Purcell: Julia is the cousin of Rachel whose family got killed in a car crash, she moves in the Bryant family where she starts taking over Rachel’s life with her witchcraft. Lee comes off well without really doing too much until the end.

Jeremy Slate: Tom is the brother of Rachel who takes an attraction to his cousin which soon turns into protection as he becomes mesmerized by her spell. Jeremy gives us a solid but basic supporting performance.

Jeff McCracken: Mike is Rachel’s boyfriend to start with as well as the horse trainer, when Julia ends up coming into the lives he takes a shine to her getting caught under her spell. Jeff also only gives a basic supporting performance with nothing memorable happening.

Support Cast: Summer of Fear has a basic supporting cast that really doesn’t do enough to help the final story.

Director Review: Wes CravenWes shows he was going onto bigger things but this isn’t one of his highlights.

 

Horror: Summer of Fear has basic use of horror but not enough for the direction of this film.

Thriller: Summer of Fear tries to keep us guessing to where the film will go but never drags us in enough.

Settings: Summer of Fear uses basic settings with only the driving location being the main highlight.
Special Effects
: Summer of Fear uses very basic effects when we finally see them in the final act.

Suggestion: Summer of Fear is one to watch to complete the Craven collection but otherwise it is one that is avoidable. (Craven Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Horse scene looks great.

Worst Part: Too slow.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Left open to one.

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Step-father

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

Tagline: Tonight, the world premiere of a chilling story of witchcraft, demons and the supernatural!

 

Overall: Slow thriller that forgets to use the horror side of the story

Ratingcard