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The Exorcist: The Complete Anthology (1973-2005) (Blu-ray) Available for Preorder

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#61 of 74 OFFLINE   Russell G

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Posted September 26 2014 - 01:34 PM

Waiting on reviews, if one of the films is cropped then I'll be waiting for this to hit a dirt cheap price. I already have the digibook



#62 of 74 OFFLINE   Lord Dalek

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Posted September 26 2014 - 04:38 PM

Dominion (as well The Beginning) was actually shot in Univisium so either way, its cropped.



#63 of 74 ONLINE   Reggie W

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Posted September 27 2014 - 06:04 AM

I have the set but have not opened it as it went into the pile of "October's 31 Days of Terror" which is now jam packed with first time on blu-ray horror films. I mean there is just such an amazing assortment of catalog genre pictures debuting on blu-ray this year the entire slate of films I have set up for October will likely consist of nothing but blu...which is pretty cool I think. 

 

So, let's chat about The Exorcist "Franchise" which really I don't think is ever thought of as a "franchise" the way things like Halloween, The Howling, or Friday the 13th are. Sort of strange I think that as the frantic push to create sequels and "franchises" rather than "original" films remains the primary goal in Hollywood that The Exorcist has not inspired more sequels or attempts to capitalize on what is considered a "benchmark" horror film. Really, The Exorcist series of films reminds me most of the Jaws series of films where basically the first film so towers over all that came after that people never really think of these as a franchise but sort of ignore the sequels due to the "drop-off" in quality. However, I think The Exorcist series of films is one of the most interesting horror franchises in the history of film and there is good reason for me to say this.

 

I think we can debate the merits of each film and how they appealed or did not appeal to us but there is one thing you can say about the series of  Exorcist films that you can't say about any other horror "franchise" and that is each entry seemed to be a genuine attempt by talented people to make something interesting and exciting. I mean just the list of players in this series of films is pretty fantastic...Friedkin, Boorman, Blatty himself, and Paul Schrader each taking a turn in the director's chair speaks to the fact that they were not taking these films lightly and that each one at least set out to make a top notch film. Certainly no other horror "franchise" could boast of players of this caliber. There are of course the stories of how each of these films became a debacle in the process and due to this never quite became the film that was intended or hoped for and you could fill a book with these tales. 

 

Of course it is never a favorable task to have to make a sequel to a film that looms so large in the minds of film fans everywhere...I mean do you want to be the guy asked to make Citizen Kane 2, North by Northwest by Southeast, Apocalypse Now and Again, or The Return of Lawrence of Arabia?  Seriously, whatever you do would look silly in the shadow of the unique visions the original films present. So, all the more interesting the list of people that took a stab at following up Friedkin's film and doesn't this add greatly to at least the curiosity factor in revisiting these films? I'll try to make a case here film by film. 

 

The Exorcist - I won't dwell very long on this film as probably everybody is familiar with it and so much has already been said about it. Let's just consider the fact that upon its release in 1973 it was a game changer and became a standard by which all horror films that came after would be judged. The music, effects work, the acting, Blatty's thoughtful meditation on faith, and Friedkin's savvy work at the helm made this a stunning film and an event. No discussion of the horror genre would omit The Exorcist going forward.

 

To be continued...



#64 of 74 OFFLINE   bigshot

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Posted September 27 2014 - 06:06 PM

Oh man.



#65 of 74 OFFLINE   Lord Dalek

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Posted September 27 2014 - 09:34 PM

As far as I'm concerned The Exorcist "Trilogy" is The Exorcist, The Ninth Configuration, and Exorcist III: Legion. Two of those movies aren't in the box set and one of them technically doesn't even exist.



#66 of 74 ONLINE   Reggie W

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Posted September 28 2014 - 01:58 PM

[color=#006400;]Exorcist II: The Heretic [/color]- Let's start by letting one of the fans of this film say something about it...

 

"[color=rgb(17,17,17);font-family:Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;] Again, we're dealing with metaphysics. The picture asks: Does great goodness bring upon itself great evil? This goes back to the Book of Job; it's God testing the good. In this sense, Regan (Linda Blair) is a modern-day saint -- like Ingrid Bergman in Europa '51, and, in a way, like Charlie in Mean Streets. I like the first Exorcist, because of the Catholic guilt I have, and because it scared the hell out of me; [/color][color=#ff0000;][font="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;"]but The Heretic surpasses it. [/color][/font][color=rgb(17,17,17);font-family:Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;]Maybe Boorman failed to execute the material, but the movie still deserved better than it got." -Martin Scorsese [/color]

 

Yes, that's right, Martin Scorsese is a fan of Exorcist II. He was not alone Pauline Kael also liked Exorcist II more than the original. Truth be told, John Boorman did not appreciate Friedkin's film feeling it was all about torturing a child and the reason he ended up accepting the challenge of creating a sequel was because he saw it as a chance to provide some sort of positive response to what he felt was a very dark work. Here's Boorman...

 

"[color=rgb(37,37,37);font-family:sans-serif;]The film that I made, I saw as a kind of riposte to the ugliness and darkness of [/color]The Exorcist[color=rgb(37,37,37);font-family:sans-serif;] – I wanted a film about journeys that was positive, about good, essentially. And I think that audiences, in hindsight, were right. I denied them what they wanted and they were pissed off about it – quite rightly, I knew I wasn't giving them what they wanted and it was a really foolish choice. The film itself, I think, is an interesting one – there's some good work in it – but when they came to me with it I told John Calley[/color][color=rgb(37,37,37);font-family:sans-serif;], who was running Warner Bros. then, that I didn't want it. "Look," I said, "I have daughters, I don't want to make a film about torturing a child," which is how I saw the original film. But then I read a three-page treatment for a sequel written by a man named William Goodhart and I was really intrigued by it because it was about goodness. I saw it then as a chance to film a riposte to the first picture."[/color]

 

Let's put the film into some context by looking at where it occurs in Boorman's career. It came as the follow-up to Zardoz, another visually striking yet perhaps somewhat muddled work. In fact these two films have much in common in that while audiences seemed to turn away from them they both are jam packed with ideas and take an everything and the kitchen sink anything goes approach to the visuals. I don't think either of these films could have come out of any decade but the 1970s with their wildly experimental and boundary pushing...not to mention confusing to most people I'm sure...approach.

 

These are over the top works that show a filmmaker willing to try anything, with no shortage of ambition and a deep desire to tell complex multilayered stories. Boorman would continue his work as an amazing visual stylist in the film he followed up Exorcist II with, Excalibur. I mean say what you want about Boorman and these films but they are three balls out visual stunners that prove if nothing else he would take chances others would not get anywhere near.

 

I'll confess something here, I thought Exorcist II was terrible when I first saw it. I mean I really thought it was horrible and had so many issues I could not get past that I was stunned it was even released. I still can't take Linda Blair's acting in the film and whoever wrote her dialogue did her no favors but what made me appreciate the film...not love it but at least appreciate what Boorman and company created...was seeing the film on television with the sound turned down, playing some piece of classical music on the stereo while in the room doing something else not paying attention to the TV. I think I was packing boxes or something and I looked up and saw these incredible images on the television and wondered "What the hell is this?" 

 

It held me spellbound and I turned up the volume and realized after a few minutes it was a film I thought I had totally scrubbed from my memory because it was so bad...Exorcist II. I did not end up watching the rest of the film at the time but made a mental note to revisit it and to do so with a more open mind. 

 

Over the years I have tried the film several times. I have to admit that I am a bit fascinated with that three film run from Boorman where each film is some crazed explosion of visual style and labyrinthine ideas. Exorcist II began it's path to becoming a film as a cheapo follow-up that would use footage from the first film and just be dumped on the public to make a quick buck and ended up being Boorman's 14 million dollar meditation on goodness triumphing over evil as response to his disgust with Friedkin's film. In the end the film tries to do way too much and was hampered by so many issues it will never be seen as anything but a failure...probably rightly so...but it is a fascinating and beautiful failure in my opinion. 



#67 of 74 ONLINE   Reggie W

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Posted October 01 2014 - 04:44 AM

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[color=#0000ff;]The Exorcist III[/color] - The first thing to consider with The Exorcist III is 13 years passed before anybody took another stab at an Exorcist film. In that time there were knock-offs galore, parodies, and the rise of the "slasher" genre/niche. We should also probably consider it took at least that long before anybody felt comfortable even approaching a sequel due to the horrid stench that lingered from the second film...now a well celebrated turkey and regular entry in "Worst films ever made" annual lists. So allowing the world to forget about Exorcist II was probably at least part of the plan and the third film in the Exorcist series does totally ignore the second film ever happened. Also Blatty said it took him a long time to come up with a story he liked that would be a decent follow-up to The Exorcist. Originally Friedkin was going to return for this one but eventually backed out. Blatty published his novel, Legion, on which this film is based in 1983 and in the 7 years that went by before it became a film Blatty even attempted to bring in John Carpenter to direct before settling into the director's chair himself.

 

The second thing to note here is that Blatty never wanted to have the word "exorcist" in the title and the story was not going to be about an exorcism. After the sequel crazed 1980s and seeing how hungry audiences were to see the same story rehashed over and over again movie studios wanted any follow-up to The Exorcist to contain an exorcism...preferably one even more over the top than what we got in the original and so suggested to Blatty he include an exorcism of twins. Basically you can see the deck was stacked against Blatty right from the start and the people that would be paying for this film did not really understand what made the first film work. They had Blatty and his novel and the connection to The Exorcist and so what they wanted was another exorcism which Blatty's novel did not contain...it was a detective story/noir that included philosophical characters pondering good, evil, and faith and our connections to each other and these things. 

 

The third thing to note here is that this would be Blatty's second time in the director's chair and his first film, The Ninth Configuration, did have a connection to The Exorcist although the film does not really make this clear. Scott Wilson's astronaut character in this film is supposed to be the astronaut from the party in The Exorcist that Regan warns "You're going to die up there." and knowing this adds an interesting layer to watching The Ninth Configuration. This film also treads familiar thematic territory for Blatty in that it is about faith although in this case more about faith in our fellow human beings than anything else. 

 

As we see above a lot went on before The Exorcist III ever made it to the screen and it is my opinion that people had by 1990 begun to find possession and exorcism hijnks more than a little silly and after a flood of inferior films in this little niche expected bad things when they saw this advertised. So, after forcing Blatty to change the name of his film from Legion to The Exorcist III, which by default made it sound like a continuation of the much despised Exorcist II, and making him add a special effects loaded exorcism to his story...well...we end up with a much compromised film with an ad campaign that was bound to turn people away.

 

So what about the film itself?

 

Actually, in my opinion the film is pretty good and there is a lot to like about it. If this had been the sequel to The Exorcist without having Exorcist II muddying the waters, I think it would have been a smash. Another interesting item is that over the years when people are asked about the most frightening moments they have seen in a motion picture this film regularly comes up. So, it has gained quite a cult following. It does have fantastic atmosphere and a great cast including George C. Scott, the much underrated but always wonderful (there's a joke there) Ed Flanders, and the return of a key player from The Exorcist that is not Linda Blair. Taken as a stand alone film it is, in my opinion, an excellent horror film which still contains many of the elements of Blatty's original story. It would be great to see a "director's cut" of this film and Mark Kermode the Brit-Crit has been pushing for one for years getting the studio to search for the "exorcised" footage from Blatty's original cut...which so far remains missing. 

 

So bottom line is this film really is the "sequel" to The Exorcist and is a very creepy ride and for some folks remains one of the scariest films they have ever seen. Exorcist II is a "reaction" to The Exorcist and should be viewed as such and probably is best viewed after seeing this one if you are working your way through this new box set. 



#68 of 74 OFFLINE   Reed Grele

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Posted October 01 2014 - 09:50 AM

Re: Exorcist III. I won't give away anything, but any fright film that has a scene (or scenes) that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up, has, in my opinion succeeded.



#69 of 74 ONLINE   John Hermes

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Posted October 01 2014 - 10:44 AM

Re: Exorcist III. I won't give away anything, but any fright film that has a scene (or scenes) that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up, has, in my opinion succeeded.

Agreed.  The hospital scene in EIII is one frightening son-of-a-gun.



#70 of 74 OFFLINE   Russell G

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Posted October 01 2014 - 11:07 AM

My favourite part of EIII is when he flashes his police badge to get into the movies for free.

 

Spoiler alert!



#71 of 74 OFFLINE   Peter Apruzzese

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Posted October 01 2014 - 11:20 AM

My favourite part of EIII is when he flashes his police badge to get into the movies for free.

 

Spoiler alert!

 

"Official business"


"What we're fighting for, in the end...we're fighting for each other." - Col. Joshua Chamberlain in "Gettysburg"

 


#72 of 74 OFFLINE   cineMANIAC

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Posted October 01 2014 - 12:51 PM

The Exorcist II BD is one of the worst-looking transfers I've ever seen. Oh, and the film sucks too. Thankfully I only paid about $12 for it so no major loss.
RIP Roberto Gomez Bolanos.

#73 of 74 ONLINE   Reggie W

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Posted October 02 2014 - 05:46 AM

Next up...

 



#74 of 74 OFFLINE   Russell G

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Posted October 02 2014 - 10:01 AM

The Exorcist II BD is one of the worst-looking transfers I've ever seen. Oh, and the film sucks too. Thankfully I only paid about $12 for it so no major loss.

 

Wait, a terrible transfer coming from the hallowed halls of Warner Brothers... ;)

 

Another reason for me to hold of on this set to hit dirt, dirt cheap prices.







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