Awfully Good: Exorcist II

Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)

Director: John Boorman
Stars: Richard Burton, Linda Blair, James Earl Jones

Is there a plot?

The power of Christ compels you…harder.

What's the damage?

THE EXORCIST. One of the scariest movies ever made. And how exactly do you top a genre classic of such magnitude? Hire the director of the Sean Connery disaster ZARDOZ to make a movie about an older, sexier Reagan teaming up with a priest and tracking down demons!

To forever cement her position as Nelly's #1 fan, Cecilia proves that it really is hot in herre.

Nobody wanted anything to do with this movie, that much is clear. Ellen Burstyn opted out, forcing them to make Regan’s therapist her “mother.” You can play the “Spot when Richard Burton is drunk” game and score pretty high. Max Von Sydow does return as Father Merrin for some useless flashback scenes, but I can't even remember if he has any actual lines or not. And director John Boorman is clearly bored or just has no idea what’s going on, reverting back to some of his ZARDOZ-style insanity with locust-POV shots, random Yoko Ono-esque yodeling and more unnecessary zaniness.

Steve knew what it took to please the ladies.

Aside from some brief cameos by James Earl Jones and Boorman’s DELIVERANCE star Ned Beatty cameo, the only person who seems to actually be onboard with this film is 17 year old Linda Blair, who attempts to keep her budding career afloat by refusing to wear a bra for most of the movie. Whether she’s bouncily tap dancing, wearing tight shirts, or being blown by the wind in see-through nightgowns, it’s enough to make you say a few guilty Hail Mary’s.

"Now leave me alone so I can make out with Rupert!"

The big issue with EXORCIST II is that, unlike its predecessor, it’s not scary at all. I’m not sure if the filmmakers were even attempting that, as there really aren’t any scenes that would make it a horror movie. (See: Yodeling.) It’s just a limp, uninteresting drama about an overdramatic priest, a demon named Pazuzu, and a teenager with magical telepathic powers. Yes, the events of the first film have somehow given Regan mind bullets. She can read and explore the minds of others, help young girls overcome their autism, and yada yada yada something about the shared collective consciousness of Catholicism. This also gives way to the Synchronizer, one of the dumbest movie inventions ever and something that wouldn’t even fly in a bad sci-fi flick. The Synchronizer is a shoddily-built “biofeedback machine” that hypnotizes people with beeping strobe lights and connects their brainwaves to the point where they can see and feel what the other person is thinking. I bet the writer who came up with this still uses tin cans and string to talk on the phone.

The demonic possession and locust swarms were bad enough, but then Kokumo remembered he also had AIDS.

The film’s conclusion, where the action returns to the original Georgetown house and should resemble the first EXORCIST, is just utter nonsense. People come in and out of trances for no reason other than when it's convenient to the anorexia-thin plot. There’s evil spirit doppelgangers, locust attacks, demon repossession, building collapse, heart ripping, flaming self-immolation and more. Nothing has any sense of pacing or finesse; all that stuff just happens at once for no reason. In the end, amongst the catastrophic mess that threatens to destroy the universe, Reagan uses a magical African lasso chant to will it all away. That’s no joke. See it below.

James Earl Jones hears the news that George Lucas added extra Darth Vader "Noooo's!" to the RETURN OF THE JEDI Blu-Ray.

Also, I really wanted to see how Dr. Tuskin was going to explain everything to the cop’s at the end. “The torn apart house? Well, Officer, that was a random, really specific earthquake that affected no other residences. Also, the thousands of dead locusts were here already when we got here. Oh, and that random lady was walking by and remembered ZARDOZ and set herself on fire. I swear.”

"Best" Line

Teeth of the wind, spitting leopards, brushing wings and other things people in this movie say that make no sense.

"Best" Parts

1) A bunch of yodeling and random screaming and then James Earl Jones turns in to a leopard. This sums up this movie pretty well, actually.

2) This clip showcases the insanity of the ending, as well as Linda Blair's magical invisible African lasso that fixes everything. (Magical Arsenio Hall impersonation is also a valid answer.)

3) Behold…The Synchronizer! Dumbest scientific device ever.

Nudity Watch

There's some National Geographic-style boob in Africa.


Remember REPOSSESSED with Leslie Nielsen? I miss him. Oh yeah, buy this movie here!

Play Along at Home!

Take a shot or drink every time:

  • Burton is clearly drunk on screen
  • Locust POV!
  • Someone catches fire
  • Someone dances
  • There is yodeling

Double shot if:

  • There is an epic fall

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email and give him an excuse to drink.

Source: Digital Dorm
Tags: awfully good



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