After recently going over Poltergeist III, it seems like a reasonable idea to tackle another worthwhile “Part III” film. Written and directed by William Peter Blatty, The Exorcist III is one of those great mixed bag horror movies. There’s a chance you’ll like some of what’s inside, but other aspects will probably not be to your liking.

The storyline ends up being quite absurd as it progresses. For one thing, Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller) is somehow a character in this one, despite rather clearly dying in the original Exorcist.” Pair this with any basic skepticism you have about exorcism and you’ll have a whopper of a headache trying to take it seriously. On that note, it’s best to not overthink The Exorcist III. Let it wash over you like a crazy wave.

The Performances

One can easily admire the respectable-to-great performances from George C. Scott as Lt. Kinderman and Brad Dourif as The “Gemini Killer.” In fact, Dourif arguably gives one of his best performances in the film, as he’s always elevated every film/TV show he’s appeared in. What’s unique about Brad Dourif is that his intensity seems to have many different layers, as each moment is somehow different. When he’s angry as Gemini, it seems fairly different from when he’s angry as Chucky/Charles Lee Ray in the Child’s Play movies. Of course, George C. Scott’s performance is nothing to sneeze at, either. While Dourif has an intensity, Scott comes across as jaded, resigned to uncertainty. As his character’s mind unravels, one may care less about plot holes. It is, after all, a very strange world this film is presenting us with.

The Scares

Phot credit:  Morgan Creek Entertainment 

As with the original Exorcist, there could be disagreement over whether or not The Exorcist III should be classified as horror. It’s definitely mysterious, odd and unruly. Still, it is fairly restrained, leaving plenty to the imagination. However, the so-called “nurse station scene” has sometimes been called one of the scariest scenes ever. For example, this Youtube clip.
There are plenty of other creepy moments involving patients in the psychiatric hospital. While it’s unlikely everyone will even find these scenes scary, there’s a chance you will.

2 Interesting Facts About The Exorcist III

  1. It’s pretty well known that, for whatever reason, serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, along with “Return of the Jedi.” In fact, this was actually mentioned during Dahmer’s trial (and here’s the clip), where he supposedly admired characters in each for the power they had over others. Supposedly, Dahmer even bought yellow contacts to look like Gemini, as well as The Emperor from Return of the Jedi.
    Does this make The Exorcist III a dangerous movie? Not really. Not everyone who watches it (or Return of the Jedi) is a serial killer. Similarly, not everyone who listens to Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues will shoot a man in Reno just to watch him die.

2. Fabio has a cameo in Exorcist III. Yes, that Fabio.

What are your thoughts on The Exorcist III? Let us know in the comments!

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Wade Wanio is an author.

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