Movie Review: EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC (Collector’s Edition) Blu-ray

EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC is based on characters from the novel “The Exorcist” by William Peter Blatty. The movie was directed by John Boorman from a screenplay by William Goodhart and stars Linda Blair, Richard Burton, Louise Fletcher, Max von Sydow, Kitty Winn, Paul Henreid, Ned Beatty and James Earl Jones.

Owing to his experience with exorcisms, Father Philip Lamont (Richard Burton) is chosen by his superiors to investigate the death of Father Merrin (Max von Sydow), who died during the exorcism of young Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair). Lamont finds Regan under the psychiatric care of Dr. Tuskin (Louise Fletcher). By hypnotizing the girl, he is able to learn that Merrin previously exorcised the same demon from a boy in Africa. Hoping for answers, Lamont travels to Africa in search of the youth.

This 1977 horror sequel takes place four years after the terrifying events of the first movie. Father Lamont, an investigator from the Vatican, has now entered the picture and isn’t so sure the demon has been fully expelled from Regan who is now under the care of Dr. Tuskin. Regan has moved on with her life and is trying to live as normal of a life as she can but something isn’t quite right. What happens is, a special hypnotizing technique is used to see if the young girl is indeed free from the supernatural force and this is where they make a shocking discovery that the demon Pazuzu is still inside her and wants to resurface. The crazy thing is, Regan wasn’t even aware of this and maybe they should have left it all alone because it seems like once the demon was disturbed, all hell is once again unleashed.

Father Lamont also discovers that Father Merrin had dealt with the demon Pazuzu before he ever exorcised Regan and this takes him on a dangerous journey to Africa where he learns more about what happened to this unfortunate victim. He finds out all he needs to know during his visit but soon realizes that he’s not welcome there because the locals think he’s evil. So, Father Lamont heads back to Regan where Pazuzu ends up making its move and tries to lure the good father into its trap by using Regan to seduce him. At first Father Lamont falls for the demon’s trick but it’s Regan’s innocence that ends up helping the father regain his composure and just when Pazuzu makes its final strike, Regan and Father Lamont join forces to stop this demonic force from fully resurfacing. Did I mention the swarm of giant locusts?

The packaging comes with a slipcover/0-card. The front features the all-new artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some original artwork and movie credits so you have your pick of which side you’d like to use for the front cover. Each Blu-ray disc also features artwork that matches the front and reverse covers. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. Scream Factory has given both cuts of the movie a pristine 2K scan from original film elements. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition upgrade were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, even though Exorcist II: The Heretic isn’t quite the movie that everyone set out to make in the beginning, it’s found its place in cult fandom over the years as being one of the strangest sequels in cinematic history. Evidentally the story was really good in the beginning but it ended up getting changed several times so we’ll never know what could have been. The end result is this bizarre horror sequel that picks up four years after the events of the original classic where a new priest enters the picture and discovers that this demon is still connected to the young girl. He also learns a lot more about the demon and what all his predecessor went through to exorcise it, not once but twice. So, the story is strange and the movie itself is just as weird but it’s still an entertaining watch because of what’s going on with Regan and Father Lamont. The demon finds a different way to surface this time and uses seduction instead of body mutilation like it did in the first movie. The movie has an impressive cast but I think it’s a case of signing on to a project after reading the script but once they arrive on set things had been changed. John Boorman did a good job directing the movie considering the odd circumstances and there’s some stunning cinematography used to compliment his work. Exorcist II: The Heretic will be available on a 2-disc Collector’s Edition Blu-ray set on September 25th.

Distributor: Scream Factory

Run Time: Disc One – Theatrical Cut – 118 Minutes / Disc Two – Home Video Cut – 102 Minutes

Rated: R

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: Good Stuff! The list of extras include three new audio commentary tracks, two new interviews, teaser trailer, theatrical trailer and a still gallery.

Disc One

  • 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 (19:16)
  • NEW interview with editor Tom Priestley (06:57)

Disc Two

  • NEW Audio Commentary with Mike White of The Projection Booth blog
  • Teaser Trailer (01:19)
  • Theatrical Trailer (01:58)
  • Still Galleries – Color and B&W Stills, Behind-the-Scenes, Deleted Scene photos, Posters and Lobby Cards

 

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