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Exorcist II: The Heretic: Collector's Edition (1977)

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Exorcist II: The Heretic - Blu-ray Review

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I am STILL not sure of what I have seen.  My first trip with this sequel was in high school.  But the idea of hypnosis as a vehicle for good and evil just didn’t take hold.  It still doesn’t.  All I remember liking about this movie was Linda Blair in a see-through nightgown.  Seriously.  The movie hasn’t aged well.  Exorcist II: The Heretic is still a film that simply falls apart in a grand display of absolute cluelessness. 

Scream Factory, knowing the film’s history (essentially being rewritten as it was being filmed), do their best in giving this film yet another chance on home video with a new 2K scan of both the original and the theatrical cut, but nothing they can do with the film’s presentation can save it from itself. 

the film is as aimless as it is needlessly long.  And it makes no sense.  At all.


Metaphysical horror?  Okay, I’ll bite.  Yet, nothing – and I do mean NADA – makes any damn sense at all as audience expectations are thwarted.  I mean, are we to view the sequel to a classic horror film as one long fantasy film?  Because that’s the sense I get from all the locusts, the studio stages doubling as Africa, and all the damn tap dancing. 

Obviously, you can already tell that there are a lot of moving parts on display throughout William Goodhart’s script, but with no connective tissue to bring it all together, the film is as aimless as it is needlessly long.  And it makes no sense.  At all.  It is still one of the biggest disappointments in box office history.

Two versions.  One hot mess of a movie.  With a star-studded cast emoting against an interesting Ennio Morricone soundtrack, the film – as written and assembled – had promise to be something memorable.  I mean, you have Richard Burton, Louise Fletcher, Max Von Sydow, James Earl Jones, Ned Beatty, and, of course, Blair reprising her role of Regan from the original film and it is all directed by John Boorman, who was just nominated for an academy award just the previous year for Deliverance.  This shouldn’t suck.  But, man oh man, the resulting film is a disaster.

Exorcist II takes place four years after the original.  The demon Pazuzu is still inside Regan (Blair), who is suffering from repressed memories and nightmares.  Regan is being seen by Dr. Gene Tuskin (Fletcher) who has a new invention that can psychic link brains, causing them to share the same experience.  Enter Father Philip Lamont (Burton).  He’s been asked to look into the death of Father Merrin (Sydow) and so he involves himself with the therapy of Regan as she and Tuskin explore her bedroom to see what answers can still be found there. Exorcist II: The Heretic - Blu-ray Review

And then we go to Africa via locust wings.  Or something like that.  I don’t know.  There’s a lot wailing and screaming as Burton (drunk or not) bumbles his way across another exorcist victim of Merrin’s.  At one point, even James Earl Jones gets in on the crazy train ride and climbs into a locust suit.  Whatever.  Between Blair repeatedly feeling up Fletcher in one key scene and a very fake-looking Africa in another, trying to make sense of Exorcist II is an exercise in futility.

Boorman made a conscience decision to subvert audiences with this release.  What he didn’t intend was for the resulting film, which was edited again WHILE it was still in theaters (resulting in the two versions included here) and then switched out, to suck as much as it does. 

Exorcist II: The Heretic needs saving from itself.

Exorcist II: The Heretic - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
118 mins
Director
: John Boorman
Writer:
William Goodhart
Cast:
Richard Burton, Linda Blair, Louise Fletcher
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
It's four years later...what does she remember?
Memorable Movie Quote: "I was possessed by a demon. Oh, it's okay. He's gone!"
Theatrical Distributor:
Warner Bros.
Official Site:
Release Date:
June 17, 1977
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 25, 2018
Synopsis: Bizarre nightmares plague Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) four years after her possession and exorcism. Has the demon returned? And if so, can the combined faith and knowledge of a Vatican investigator (Richard Burton) and a research specialist (Louise Fletcher) free her from its grasp?

Exorcist II: The Heretic - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- September 25, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Scream Factory’s NEW 2k scan and 1080p transfer is simply fantastic.  The crisp image is fully resolved with the lightest, most beautiful layer of grain and no detection of digital noise reduction whatsoever.  Blacks are deep and strong.  The mastering here is impeccable.  Both cuts provide a fair amount of detail and not a speck of dirt to be found in the scans of the original movie, though.  Simply put, this title has never looked better.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 takes full advantage of the horror atmospherics and the score, carrying the viewer from one scene to the next, with ease.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • See Special Features for the breakdown.

Special Features:

This is for diehards only, but Scream Factory do supply a great deal of goodies for those who like car crashes.

DISC ONE (118 Minute Cut Of The Film):

  • • NEW 2K Scan From Original Film Elements
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Director John Boorman
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Project Consultant Scott Bosco
  • NEW What Does She Remember? – An Interview With Actress Linda Blair
  • NEW Interview With Editor Tom Priestley

DISC TWO (102 Minute Cut Of The Film):

  • NEW 2K Scan From Original Film Elements
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Mike White Of The Projection Booth Blog
  • Original Teaser Trailer
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Still Galleries Including Rare Color And B&W Stills, Behind-The-Scenes, Deleted Scene Photos, Posters, And Lobby Cards

Exorcist II: The Heretic - Blu-ray Review

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