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Will Warner please consider releasing “THE EXORCIST TRILOGY Box Set” on R1 DVD? (1 Viewer)

Roderick Gauci

Stunt Coordinator
Mar 3, 2002
A few days before Warners announced a clutch of horror film titles on DVD for release on 8/6 including John Boorman’s much maligned EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC (1977), I read that a Box Set will be coming out on 10/14/02 in the U.K. comprising all three EXORCIST films (see: http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htf...hlight=exorcist)! There is no mention of supplements for any of the titles (or whether the first one will be the standard or the extended version), but it will be the first time that either Part II or III are available on DVD on Region 2. Of course, both the 25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION and THE VERSION YOU’VE NEVER SEEN DVD versions of the original 1973 classic are available separately in Europe.
As of today, there has been no indication that a similar 3-Disc set of THE EXORCIST TRILOGY will be available on Region 1 as well. But I should think that an eventual decision on Warners’ part to release such a Box Set will be welcomed by its legion of fans who, like myself perhaps, have hesitated from buying the DVDs of either THE EXORCIST: THE VERSION YOU’VE NEVER SEEN (because of the uncalled for tinkering with an established piece of modern cinema history) or THE EXORCIST III (because it did not contain any significant supplementary features).
Although I did not watch THE EXORCIST in its first theatrical run (mainly because I was not born yet!), I did manage to catch it on its 25th Anniversary theatrical re-release and then again when the Writer/Producer’s Cut (rather than the Director’s) appeared two years later. I also bought the Region 1 disc of THE EXORCIST: 25TH ANNIVERSARY (because “The Fear Of God” Documentary was cut on Region 2) and have been seriously toying lately with the idea of acquiring THE EXORCIST: THE VERSION YOU’VE NEVER SEEN DVD as well.
While I am quite cynical of the onslaught of revamped re-issues we have had lately: THE STAR WARS TRILOGY, APOCALYPSE NOW, E.T., BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, etc. (with the obvious exception of TOUCH OF EVIL), I would still like to own the latest version of THE EXORCIST. While some of the new scenes added to THE VERSION YOU’VE NEVER SEEN do have their place in there (the extended hospital treatments, Karras listening to tapes with Regan’s “child” voice, etc.), others tend to be superfluous and endanger the film’s already halting pace, although one is still grateful for being able to watch this footage after all this time. I also find the digital touch-ups like the demon’s face appearing along the walls downstairs and Pazuzu’s shadow on Regan’s bedroom door too gimmicky and unnecessary. Where the new version definitely scores over the original is in the superb (and supremely effective) remix to which the soundtrack has been subjected.
I watched EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC only a couple of years ago. The release of this film signals another missed opportunity for Warners, unless they care to rectify the situation by the time the DVD hits the streets: I'm referring to the lack of an Audio Commentary by director John Boorman and the omission of the 110-minute revised cut of the film. Terrible as the film may be - perhaps the director's worst but NOT his only failure (LEO THE LAST [1969], ZARDOZ [1973]) - a Special Edition would have increased its chances of being "embraced" by people who were hugely disappointed by it on first viewing, and Boorman's comments could well lead us to look at the film in a new and totally different light. Recently, for example, I purchased the Anchor Bay DVD of Andrzej Zulawski's personal and pretentious POSSESSION (1981), another much maligned and misunderstood horror film. To be perfectly honest, I hated the film as I was watching it but Zulawski's commentary, which I listened to soon after, changed my views somewhat and, by the end, I had only respect for this particular director's vision!
Although I have never watched THE EXORCIST III (which is apparently the official continuation of the events which occurred in the first film), I do hope that it will also be revisited to include writer-director William Peter Blatty's commentary, especially since it does seem to have its own particular legion of fans out there. William Peter Blatty has already provided a commentary of sorts on the second audio track of THE EXORCIST: 25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION disc, and his interview with Mark Kermode (which runs through the whole film) on the Blue Dolphin DVD of his brilliant directorial debut THE NINTH CONFIGURATION (1980) is priceless.
While I am grateful for Warners for their upcoming bunch of horror/sci-fi titles (which I have already talked about at length here: http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...148#post658753
http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...258#post659176), I would very much like to have a definitive Box Set of this flawed but exceptionally intelligent horror saga which would satisfy the fans and be a high-seller for Warners.

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