plague Regan MacNeil four years after her possesion and exorcism. Has the
demon returned? And if so, can the combined faith and knowledge of a Vatican
investigator and a hypnotic research specialist free her from its grasp?
"I've flown this route before. It was on the wings of a demon."
- Father Lamont
Everything the first film did right . . . this one does wrong. Like everyone
else on the sequel bandwagon, Exorcist II makes an attempt to explore
and explain an element from the first film in an attempt to carry on the
self-contained plot of the first film. Specifically, father Merrin's death
and the demon Pezuzu. The problem? Like with so many sequels of this formula,
when explanations poor in things go to hell.
The mystique of the first film goes out the door, and with it goes the
craftsmanship and edge it carried. The Exorcist was shocking in
its early seventies premiere; it came out of nowhere and scared the world.
The job of the sequel is to overcome expectations, somehow find its own
original roots while acknowledging the first film, and at least match the
first film in all departments. Exorcist II fails its expectations,
it's not terribly original. (in the fact it retreads The Exorcist,
it is original in how it retreads but that doesn't make it much better)
The Tubular Bells are also gone.
Most of the characters except Blair's is gone, and for some reason Blair's
performance in this film didn't strike me as convincing as her first take
under the influence of the demon. The new characters don't come across
as anything terribly interesting. James Earl Jone's character is about
the only exception, but sadly the whole tangent surrounding him comes across
as irrelevant and out of place, like some abstract commentary that's supposed
to be deep and metaphorical but the writer couldn't think of something
non-gimmicky and so we're stuck with a cheesy comparison about locusts.
A cheesy metaphor which leads to an even cheesier climax and ending. Then
again, does that come as a surprise for a film named after a man who performs
exorcisms when not-a-one exorcism is performed throughout the course of
the film? The best Exorcist II can do is do a flashback to the first
film's timeline. Screw back story. If it was important it'd of been in
the first film. This franchise is about good versus evil, the God versus
Satan myth, and an Exorcist versus a Demon; not some collection of details
no one cares about from the past. This movie sucks.
- During the filming, director John Boorman contracted San Joaquin
Valley Fever (a respiratory fungal infection), which caused filming to
be suspended for five weeks. It was determined to be caused from the dust
used in the African sets from the film.
- Linda Blair refused to be subjected to the makeup she wore in the first
film. In flashback scenes, the possessed Regan was played by a double.
- In one scene (lasting eight minutes and ten seconds), the camera cuts to
close-ups of Lamont in which he's neither moving nor speaking, twenty six
times (not counting genuine reaction shots).
- The swarms of locusts were realized by painting a few thousand Styrofoam
packing peanuts brown and shooting them out of a large air blower. Director
John Boorman had experimented with a number of techniques to get actual
grasshoppers to swarm around (including clipping their legs off so they
couldn't land!), but none were convincing enough for him, so they used
the peanuts (nicknamed "Larrys" by the crew).
- Linda Blair has said that Richard Burton started out sober, but frequently
became drunk during the middle and end of filming. She also says that tensions
were high among the cast.
- Louise Fletcher hated the script and wanted to make changes to
it, and Director John Boorman tried to get out of directing the movie but
was threatened with a lawsuit if he quit.
- Jon Voight and Jack Nicholson were considered to play Father Lamont.
- On the night of the premiere, the movie was literally laughed
off the screen. Things were tolerable until the "synchronizer" machine
was introduced, and it when straight downhill from there.
- The director pulled the film out of theaters twice to do some