The Exorcist III is a mess of a film. It’s certainly an improvement upon The Exorcist II: The Heretic, but it never quite reached the levels everyone expected, especially with William Peter Blatty at the helm, who penned the novel that became William Friedkin’s bloodcurdling, Oscar-winning film.
But. But. But. There was something there with the third installment in the horrifying ‘possessed-by-the-devil’ franchise, so we, as horror fans, always held out for some version to come out of the disjointed mess.
Now, perhaps, we will have it. On October 25th, Shout Factory will release the definitive Director’s Cut of the film. This has been a thing of rumor for twenty-six years, since the film was released in 1990.
Here is speculation about the difference between the two cuts of The Exorcist III:
First, and most profound, is Brad Dourif‘s full performance as the Gemini Killer. In the theatrical cut much of Dourif’s scenes are cut out and instead intertwined with Jason Miller returning as Father Karras (aka Patient X). As much as I enjoy Miller’s performance, Dourif’s was on another level. That’s just the tip of the iceberg as the removal of Miller only elevates the realism of Legion. In this Director’s Cut, the audience wonders, is this truly the Gemini Killer or just a madman who knows intimate details of the murders? While it becomes increasingly clear that there’s a demonic presence at work, there’s no flash or pizzaz like in the theatrical cut to take the audience out of the moment.