Well, I'm diving right into this film. I had planned to watch this during October, but I am kind of glad I waited so I can really give this a good bit of my attention and try to find some value in it. I decided that a brand new look at the film was in order. I remember renting this on VHS a few years ago after quite a considerable absence. I recall not exactly coming away all that thrilled about what I had to endure. Still, I'm willing to give it another shot regardless of how I have felt in the past and its rep as an absolute turkey.
The chanting at the beginning of Exorcist II: The Heretic as the credits came across the screen was more than a little unnerving I must admit. Kind of made my skin crawl.
I guess Richard Burton must have asked himself during the making of this film if sacrificing for Equus to star in Exorcist II was worth it. I can only imagine he never expected to be in a film like this towards the end of his career. I guess he just gobbled the booze and dealt with it the best he could.
|Burton's priest faces a difficult exorcism|
Despite the silly looking head gear and idea of “synchronized hypnosis”, it does provide Exorcist fans with an answer as to how Merrin perished. I mean, it was kind of obvious in the previous film that his heart was weak and this battle against the Devil involving Reagan’s mortality and soul exhausted him beyond his capabilities at such an advanced age. But it does allow the “science verses religion” theme to be explored which I have always found worth pursuing creatively in plot. You have “it” which Burton insists still remains and could return at any time while Fletcher looks at Reagan’s condition as a mental trouble that can be cured through scientific “therapy”.
The visuals of the past and present at odds with Fletcher’s life in danger as her physical body was imitating that of Merrin’s fate I did find rather striking. Fletcher barely surviving thanks to the efforts of those understanding her dilemma and not remembering, allowing her to maintain her belief that everything going on with Reagan isn’t spiritual but psychological, you can sense the frustration of Burton who continues to debate that evil hasn’t gone away but remains. The convergence of that fateful night where Merrin fought and lost his fight against evil and how Fletcher was in a similar place as he really impressed me, I must admit. That whole battle there, where science allows for evil to possibly murder the scientist, fascinated me.