The Exorcist III (1990) is based on the 1983 novel, Legion, by William Peter Blatty. Though it is the third film in the trilogy, it is a direct sequel to the first. There is no mention of the events which took place in The Exorcist II: The Heretic.
Seventeen years after Father Damien Karras took Regan McNeil’s demon into his body and threw himself out the second-story window, killing himself on the steps outside the home, a strange entity bursts into a church. The statue of Jesus on the cross opens its eyes as gusts of wind buffet the holy interior. Then, we switch to the POV of an unknown person. He speaks of dreams, dreams of a rose and falling downstairs. We pass a twelve-year-old African -American boy on the street. He holds a long-stemmed rose. Then, we tumble down the steps near Regan McNeil’s former home.
Cut to a crime scene. Lt. Kinderman is investigating the murder of the boy we passed earlier. His name was Thomas Kintry and he has been horribly mutilated and crucified. We discover the details when Kinderman meets Father Dyer and attends a movie with him. They watch It’s a Wonderful Life. After that, a priest is murdered and decapitated. Fingerprints are found at both murders but neither matches the other.
Father Dyer is the victim of a third murder. “It’s a Wonderful Life” is written on the wall in blood above the body. As Kinderman continues his investigation, he realizes that a serial killer is at work. Unfortunately, this murderer, The Gemini Killer, has been dead for over seventeen years.
The Exorcist III is one of the best horror films I have ever seen. As in the case of Silver Bullet, the screenwriter is also the author of the book. Blatty also directed the movie and it’s amazing. The violence is subtle, the suspense palpable. One scene features Kinderman’s visit to a nursing home. While he is there, one of the residents crawls across the ceiling like an insect. Kinderman never looks up and never sees the horror waiting above him! He’s completely oblivious.
George C. Scott, like all great actors, makes this movie believable and frightening. He is a police detective, not a priest, and woefully unprepared to fight spiritual evil or even understand it. His performance is terrific.
Lt. William F. Kinderman – George C. Scott
Father Dyer – Ed Flanders
Patient X/Father Damien Karras – Jason Miller
James Venamun/The Gemini Killer – Brad Dourif
Father Morning – Nicol Williamson
LITTLE KNOWN FACTS:
-Samuel L. Jackson plays the Blind Dream Man.
-Blatty wanted John Carpenter to direct, but Carpenter backed out because Blatty decided to direct himself.
-The altered voice of the demon belongs to an uncredited Colleen Dewhurst, actress and former wife of George C. Scott.
-The Gemini Killer is based on The Zodiac Killer.
I still hear from her occasionally, screaming. I think the dead should shut up, unless there's something to say.
Unbeknownst to everyone, the demon is possessing elderly people in a nursing home. A nurse who works there, makes her rounds during the night. She walks up and down the hall and back and forth across it several times before the killer, covered in a sheet, appears. Off-screen, he decapitates her.
My sister and I watched this film for the first time during the summer of 1994. She slept in a bunk bed close to the ceiling of our bedroom and was so terrified of the “bug woman,” she insisted we sleep out in a tent in the front yard.
HOW YOU CAN WATCH:
The Exorcist III is rated R. You can see the film during AMC’s FEAR FEST. It will air as part of the “Demons Inside” Marathon on October 25 at 10 am EDT—October 26 at 3:40 am EDT. If you wish to see it uncut, you can purchase it on Amazon.
Tune in tomorrow for our next October Fright, Dead Silence! And, be sure to share your favorite movie memory in the comments below before hopping to the next blog.