The Exorcist III (1990)

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  •  (3.5 out of 5 stars)

William Peter Blatty wrote and directed this Exorcist sequel based on his 1983 book Legion. It's a shame Blatty didn't direct more films because he was visually talented. Blatty only directed this film and The Ninth Configuration (1980) (which is also worth seeing). The Exorcist III picks up 15 years after the events of The Exorcist (1973). Lieutenant William F. Kinderman (George C. Scott) is investigating a series of serial killings, and it turns personal when Kinderman's friend, Father Joseph Dyer (Ed Flanders), is murdered in the hospital by the killer. George C. Scott is the glue that holds this murder mystery together, turning routine police interrogations into riveting scenes. Scott was over 60 when he shot this film, and he sounds even older with his curmudgeonly voice. In every scene, it seems like his temper is about to explode, and it often does to hilarious effect.

When Kinderman begins investigating in the hospital, he discovers a locked-up mental patient in the psychiatric ward who looks just like Father Damien Karras, who died at the end of The Exorcist (and is once again played by Jason Miller). In a sudden flash, actor Jason Miller transforms into actor Brad Dourif, who confesses to being a long-dead serial killer known as the Gemini Killer. At this point, the movie deviates from its routine murder mystery investigation into a more irrational plot. And it's a better movie for it, as the supernatural elements can run wild. Kinderman begins losing his mind as he discovers a demon has been using catatonic patients as conduits for the murders. It builds to an exciting conclusion, even if the studio apparently meddled in it, requiring an exorcism. While its murder mystery plot doesn't move along as thrillingly as William Friedkin's The Exorcist (1973), it still gives horror fans more of what they want than Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) (although Exorcist II has its qualities and should be seen as well). Keep an eye out in an early dream sequence for NBA star Patrick Ewing and fashion model Fabio.

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