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Exorcist II: The Heretic - 3 hour version? (1 Viewer)

Blake Comeaux

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Jul 15, 1998
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I was reading the user comments on Exorcist II: The Heretic over at IMDB to see others opinions of the film.. I noticed tow or threepeople mention an original 3 hour cut of the film which is rumored to be far superior to the "butchered" version that was released to theaters.

One of the users wrote:

"I was fortunate enough to see the extended, three-hour plus cut of this movie in its original preview run, and what I saw took my breath away. In its complete state, EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC could have very well been one of the best sequels ever made, worthy of mention in the same vein as ALIENS, GODFATHER 2 and even TERMINATOR 2."

I wonder if John Boorman would be interested in revisiting this film and returning it to the original runtime. And if he was would Warner let him do so. It would be wonderful if Warner would include this version on the DVD, but I'd probably be more likely to see a Five Star Edition of Porky's Revenge from Fox than that actually happening. I guess I should thank Warner for even releasing this film to DVD at all. Would anyone else like to see the uncut version.
 

Jeff Ulmer

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This is one of the few Boorman flicks I haven't seen, but which will of course be included in the library. It wouldn't surprise me if there had been massive changes, since Boorman does know how to make a film, and this one has become his most criticised (next to Zardoz).
 

Jack Briggs

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But, Jeff, as you well know, Zardoz is much praised as well. Never heard many praising Heretic. Saw it once during its original theatrical run. My comment to my then wife upon emerging from the theater was to express hope that Mr. Boorman's career would survive that flick. Luckily, Excalibur put him back on track.

The music in The Heretic, however, is quite nice. There are some good shots and scenes in the film. But when Linda Blair matter-of-factly explains to an autistic child about having once been possessed by the demon Pezuzu, well, I, along with the rest of the audience, burst out laughing.

Even a very good director can make a major mistake. This was John Boorman's major mistake.
 

Rex Bachmann

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Jack Briggs wrote:
(That's "Pazuzu", an actual Babylonian mythological entity.)
And you never once burst out laughing at Friend's "aging" at the hands of the immortals, with their froofy clothes and (male) hair-"don'ts", and wacky chanting? Come on! That scene defines hilarity (of the unintentional variety)! Zardoz is a good movie with some interesting ideas, but it has moments every bit as stupid as some of those in The Heretic. (The stupid chanting of Zardoz reminds me very much of the dumb/wild (pseudo-)African chanting during the boy Kokumo's locust flight. Both are so bad that I even feel guilty about laughing so hard at them.)
Anyway, I don't know whether it would be humanly possible to take three hours of The Heretic, even if such a cut of the film exists (or can be restored). The funny bone will take only so much before it cracks under the strain.
 

Jack Briggs

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Rex:

You are talking to this board's two most vocal, staunchest, vehement, and activistic supporters of Zardoz. Jeff and I have many a war story to tell you. And this Forum played the key role in getting Fox to commit this title to DVD. (Jeff actually contributed value-added material to the DVD.)

I have no idea how many times I've seen Zardoz, but, theatrically, I've seen it fifty-eight times.

Looks like we've reached our first disagreement! Zardoz is far, far, far from "stupid." It's brilliant.

"The Tabernacle is indestructable and everlasting!"

JB
 

Kenneth English

Second Unit
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Sep 29, 1999
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The trouble with the whole "3-hour version is better" theory is that it assumes there is something left in the movie as released that is, in fact, salvagable.
Another hour and a half isn't going to make Richard Burton's god-awful scenery chewing or Louise Fletcher's stoned automaton-esque performance any better. And it's not going to make all the mind-synchronization/ESP jazz less painfully ridiculous and laughable. EXORCIST II's flaws have nothing to do with its length but rather with its ideas and conception. This one was a still-birth from the moment it's ludicrous script was approved. The filmmakers did humanity a small but significant service by trimming their monstrosity.
If there is any truth to this rumor I'd still love to see the deleted footage. The movie is so funny as-is that I can only imagine what the stuff they cut out must be like. :D
 

streeter

Screenwriter
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May 24, 2001
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Michael
I didn't know about this 3-hour version at all, but when I found out about the Exorcist II DVD release, I was disappointed that Boorman did not record a commentary track. With Exorcist IV coming up soon, this DVD will sell well- even though it's not a good film. Now is the time for it to be done right. Mr. Ulmer, are you in touch at all with John Boorman? Perhaps you are able to find out if the 3-hour cut is in fact the 'director's cut'...

Petition anyone?
 

Jeff Ulmer

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If this release is anything like the other Boorman releases, chances are he doesn't even know about it - the studios aren't exactly forthcoming with directors, at least not the first time out. He was in Panama shooting when I tracked him down for Zardoz. I tried to get him involved with Hope and Glory, but never heard back on that one, and the disc came out without his participation. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to keep in touch with him.

I do find it a bit strange that a film as universally panned as Exorcist II would be out before Point Blank or Beyond Rangoon, more Boorman MIA titles (I can understand a couple of the others, like Having a Wild Weekend, being hard to find). Warner has at least one of those, and got him involved with Deliverance and Excalibur.
 

Jack Briggs

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I saw Having a Wild Weekend on, of all things, one of our local PBS affiliates a few months ago. The Dave Clark Five achieves immortality! (We all have to start somewhere.)
 

Rex Bachmann

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Jack Briggs wrote:
.
Uh-huh, I hear you. We'll just have to disagree. Some of the ideas presented there may indeed be "brilliant", but the film itself---copies of which I have on both laserdisc and DVD, by the way---is strictly "hit-and-miss", in my book (like Excalibur, as well). I appreciate Boorman's stuff for what interests me in all "cinefantastique": the ideas. His realizations of those ideas seem to me to be very flawed, however.
Actually, I might consider doing a comparison thread discussing some of Boorman's ideas in his three "fantastic" films, if I ever have time, since I think there are similar threads running through all three. First off, though, there are a few other threads to initiate and deal with . . . .
 

Chris Dugger

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jun 5, 1998
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665
All I know is.....

On that opening Friday night, during the first evening show....

I get this.....

BANG... BANG.... BANG... on the projection booth door.

I answer it and there is this rep from Warner and he has a reel of film under his arm.

Before I can get a word out he asks.... "I need the last reel of your film".

"Huh?"

He says again, "I need the last 20 minute reel of your print". "Here, this is the replacement".

Next, I get a call from the Manager downstairs and he says "Just Do IT!"

Never saw that last 20 minutes again... until now on the dvd.

Dugger
 

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