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William Friedkin has never bothered to watch The Exorcist sequels

10.27.2017

The Exorcist William Friedkin

Over the decades since its release, THE EXORCIST has easily stood the test of time as one of the greatest horror movies out there, but, as with anything that successful, it was only natural that there would be a demand for sequels. Some of those sequels were dreadful (EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC) while others were surprisingly decent (THE EXORCIST III), and the two prequels (EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING and DOMINION: PREQUEL TO THE EXORCIST) at least managed serve as an interesting experiment of the same movie directed by two different people, but what does William Friedkin think of those sequels? Not much, because in an interview with IndieWire, the director of THE EXORCIST says that he never bothered to watch them.

I never saw any of the Exorcist films, not even Bill’s [William Blatty, author of “The Exorcist” novel]. I saw a few minutes of “Exorcist II,” but that was only because I was in the Technicolor lab timing a film that I had directed — I forget which one — and one of the color timers at Technicolor said, hey, we just made a print of “Exorcist II,” would you like to have a look at it? I said OK. I went in, and after five minutes, it just blasted me. I couldn’t take it. I thought it was just ridiculous and stupid. But that was only five minutes, so I can’t make an ultimate judgement about it. It just seemed to me to have nothing to do with “The Exorcist.” I know Bill [Blatty] did one, which was not meant to be called “Exorcist III.” It was from another novel he’d written called “Legion.” I had no interest. I loved Bill Blatty. I dedicated my documentary to him and we remained close friends to his death. But I know that he had to make a lot of compromises — he had to put an exorcism scene in there, which he never intended, so that the producers could call it “Exorcist III.”

The past year has proven to be a big one for the horror genre, as several horror flicks have impressed at the box-office well beyond expectations, including Andy Muschietti's adaptation of Stephen King's IT. Some reports even went so far as to claim that IT had dethroned THE EXORCIST as the most successful horror film of all time, which is something William Friedkin takes exception to, despite enjoying the film.

I thought it was a little bit over the top, but “It” was really good. The clown was pretty scary stuff. I really like it. But here’s the thing. It will never have as many admissions as “The Exorcist” in terms of people who came to see it. The price of a ticket when “The Exorcist” came out was probably on average less than two dollars; I think today it’s closer to nine. Neither “The Exorcist” nor any of the other films that made a lot of money will ever have as many viewers as “Gone with the Wind” or “Birth of a Nation.” I think it cost 15 cents or a quarter to see. So you can’t talk about how many people saw this more than something else because of the difference in the value of money. But it’s kind of unusual for Warner Bros. to get behind a story like that because “The Exorcist” has been such an important film to them. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Still, I liked “It.” I thought it was terrific.

Which EXORCIST sequel is your favourite?

Extra Tidbit: Despite knowing that it's coming, there's one jump scare in The Exorcist III that never fails to get me. If you've seen the movie, you know what I mean. Snip snip.
Source: IndieWire

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