The Exorcist III (1990)

If I were to write a list of special talents, procrastinating would be no.1.

I’m just SO good at avoiding the things I should be doing – masterful in fact. If anyone wants tips feel free to ask, though I  find staring into space helps the most. I’ve been meaning to review this film for around two months now but staring into space is preferable.

Anyway, as previously explained in this post right here – The Exorcist III was written and directed by William Peter Blatty (author of The Exorcist) and it’s a lot better than you might think. It certainly deserves more praise than just being ‘the third Exorcist’.

*this review may contain some tiny, weeny spoilers but nothing major*

‘The Exorcist III’ review

Blatty wrote the screenplay based on his seventh novel Legion, which was his sequel to The Exorcist (novel). Hdownload.jpge wanted to call the movie Legion too, but the brainiacs in Hollywood thought releasing it as a threequel (after the AMAZING Exorcist II: The Heretic….) would be a better idea (hmmm). I’ve read that Blatty fought against this vehemently but you know, the fat cats call the shots. I mean, what does the silly little author-slash-director know anyway?

So the story is set fifteen years after The Exorcist and includes characters from the original story. George C. Scott stars as Lieutenant Kinderman and Ed Flanders (Hidely-ho Neighbourino) plays Father Dyer.

Apart from an initial spooky scene to set the tone, the film starts with both men, who are friends, meeting on the anniversary of Father Karras’ death (he threw himself down the steps at the end of The Exorcist). Coincidentally – OR NOT! – Kinderman is also investigating a series of grisly, satanic-esque murders that mirror ‘The Gemini’ – a deceased serial killer (whom Blatty based on the Zodiac Killer).


George C. Scott was definitely my favourite part of the movie. Apparently he only signed up because he liked Blatty’s screenplay so much – he’d never even seen The Exorcist! But he was an excellent addition – as impressive and imposing as ever. He and Ed Flanders (Okely-dokely) were both fun to watch. I enjoyed their friendship and their “old man” conversations.


Sadly Father Dyer is murdered early on whilst in hospital. Because elements of his death match the murders Kinderman is investigating, the rest of the film then mostly takes place in the hospital where Dyer was murdered – and it’s clear something weird and evil is going on. It’s cool because hospitals are pretty creepy anyway and it provides the perfect backdrop for some super scary – and at times surreal – scenes.

We also meet some fairly strange characters – aos-2Fabio had a cameo. Yep. And there’s The Unhelpful Nurse with Rocky Horror make-up who we don’t know whether to trust or not. Of course Hershel from The Walking Dead – he played a very strange, chain-smoking doctor. Now I’m pretty good with faces but I literally had no idea it was him at all until I did some IMDB’ing. And then I was all like……

Oh, and I know that ‘Samuel L. Jackson’ is often bandied around this film but seriously, blink and you’ll miss him.

The Exorcist III feels more strongly ‘adapted from a book’ than The Exorcist did. Maybe because it was directed by a writer or because the plot is driven by a detective story -it certainly felt more involved. It’s more character and dialogue driven – I actually had to pay attention. Come on Emma, you’re not watching Con Air or Mean Girls now…

And of course it wasn’t as scary as The Exorcist, but what is anyway? Instead of the relentless terror associated with the former it had kind of a ’90s thriller’ vibe twinned with horror and fantasy. But that’s no bad thing – I mean 90s thrillers are fucking awesome and at least I can watch it on my own.

Don’t fear there are scary, screwed up scenes (one in particular was pretty damn unforgettable) and happily it retains atmosphere and tension throughout. It just won’t keep you up at night like Ms MacNeil might have done. But it’s a very solid, highly enjoyable film that definitely didn’t deserve its crummy threequel status.


Special shout out to Eric who I know loves this film!

About emmakwall

Films, books, soundtracks, good humour
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59 Responses to The Exorcist III (1990)

  1. aaronpkahle says:

    I think this film, a solid horror film, suffers from have Exorcist in its title. The director, William Peter Blatty, was furious at the studio for redoing his original cut and has always hoped to release a director’s cut of it. Apparently Morgan Creek claimed they had lost the footage. Last I read, Scream Factory released a two-disc set with Blatty’s original version of Exorcist III on Disc 2. That being said, they also make note that the lost footage is lost forever. It’s unfortunate but I always found this film to be simply a stand-alone horror film not related to the Exorcist. That’s just me. Good review!

  2. I’m watching this now and found your write up by googling to see if anyone else thought the chain smoking doctor character was notable!

    • emmakwall says:

      That is brilliant!!! That has made my day, seriously 🙂 I definitely thought he was notable! He was such a strange character ha ha 🙂 I’m honestly delighted that’s how you found my review 🙂 what did you think of the film?!

      • I love it. Some scenes, like the hallway scene, are some of the most effective horror ever, and then there’s funny dialogue. We were rewatching because my husband is doing a thing about it on his blog for Halloween.

        • emmakwall says:

          The hallway scene was incredible! And I agree about the funny dialogue, like the nurse at the hospital talking iwth George C. Scott. The film seemed quite surreal at times, the dream sequences truly bizarre!

          That sounds great! What is your husband’s blog, I’ll check it out 🙂

  3. I am a big fan of this one. I’m looking forward to the upcoming blu-ray from Scream Factory next month.

    Incidentally, I’ve taken the liberty of sharing this review on a fan page for E3 a friend and I run on FB.

    • emmakwall says:

      That’s great, thank you so much! 🙂

      Good news about the blu-ray too, I only watched this for the first time very recently and was impressed. I need to watch it again soon! 🙂

  4. I think we talked about this already, but I remember really liking this movie. I definitely need to check it out again.

  5. Lloyd Marken says:

    Solid film all the way, I saw it after all the hype around the release director’s cut of the original brought renewed interest in the series. Nothing quite touches the original but there’s good things here. The best thing you can about Part 2 is the score.

    • emmakwall says:

      Interesting, thanks Lloyd! I must check out that score, who did it? I’ll look it up anyway (lazy bones Emma!)

      I agree, doesn’t touch the original but definitely a worthy film.

  6. Kevin says:

    Oh Legion, very good film, perhaps not as scary as The Exorcist but certainly high on the creepness factor. Some of the scenes in the hospital are chilling.

    And the best part of it: no one goes on and one about the demon-Pokemon Pazuzu

    • emmakwall says:

      Blatty wanted to call it Legion (as his novel) but unfortunately had to call it The Exorcist 3! Boo! 🙂

      I totally agree, the hospital was a great backdrop. The greatest scene was definitely where the nurse was looking around and then the figure came out of nowhere after her with the machete, BANGING SCENE! Some of it was very surreal and fantasy-esque I felt too. No-where near as scary as The Exorcist but that’s not a slur.

      POKEMON?!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  7. Jordan Dodd says:

    I really need to see this. Great post Em 🙂

  8. This is one of my faves! I like the melding of a detective story and a possession/horror story.

  9. I actually do not remember if I have seen this or not

  10. Zoë says:

    I might have to watch this one again. I really, really didn’t like it, and it seems that my opinion is in the minority here hahaha. Great work Em!

    • emmakwall says:

      Thanks Zoe!! Ah that’s okay, we all like different stuff 🙂 remember my hatred for Forrest Gump lol. Everyone else loves that movie!!!

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