After years of the Director's Cut of "The Exorcist III" being talked up like a lost piece of the Holy Scriptures, Scream Factory did everything in their power to take leftover footage (dailies) to reassemble what was meant to be William Peter Blatty's original vision of his sequel to "The Exorcist". I give Blatty respect for what he was trying to accomplish with what was originally titled "Legion", which was a sort of less sensationalistic supernatural crime thriller. However, I was underwhelmed by a lack of any sort of solid climax. I'm sure it has everything to do with the fact that all I've seen for the past two decades or so is the theatrical cut of the movie with it's flashy special effect extravaganza during the final act.
The theatrical version of "The Exorcist III" is, in my humble opinion, as good as (if not a teeny tiny bit better than) the original. It completely bypasses "The Exorcist II: The Heretic" and picks up fifteen years after the events of the first film. The version we get here might have been majorly tinkered with by the studio, but what we get is a perfect blend of psychological thrills and chills, haunting imagery, unforgettable dialogue, and visual flare. All the elements are well-placed and don't get in the way of each other. The low-key terrors are where they need to be and the bombastic segments explode onscreen when necessary.
For more than fifteen years Police Lieutenant Kinderman (George C. Scott) has been haunted by the death of his friend Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller). Now, on the fifteenth anniversary of the exorcism that claimed the priest’s life, Kinderman’s world is once again shattered when a boy is found decapitated and savagely crucified. It’s just the beginning of a nightmare series of bizarre religious murders.
The brutal murders bear the hallmarks of the infamous Gemini Killer… who died in the electric chair fifteen years earlier. But when a psychopath claiming to be the Gemini Killer reveals intimate, gruesome details that only the true killer could possibly know, Kinderman is confronted with a horrifying truth that he cannot explain…and that will shake him to the core in "The Exorcist III".
"The Exorcist III" is rated R for nudity, violence and gore, smoking and drinking, profanity, and frightening and intense scenes. The nudity is pictures hanging in the office of a doctor and really is unnecessary. The movie really is more of a psychological thriller than a graphic gore-fest, but there's still some bloodshed.
Disc One: "The Exorcist III" (Theatrical Cut)
New 2K Scan of the Interpositive
Deleted Scene / Alternate Takes / Bloopers
Vintage Interviews (featuring Behind-The-Scenes footage) with Writer/Director William Peter Blatty, George C. Scott, Jason Miller, Ed Flanders, Grand L. Bush, Executive Producer James G. Robinson, Production Designer Leslie Dilley, Larry King and C. Everett Koop
Disc Two: "Legion" (Original Director's Cut) 105 minutes
New Audio Interview with Writer / Director William Peter Blatty
New "A 'Wonderfull' Time" Featurette – Interviews with Producer Carter DeHaven, Actors Clifford David and Tracy Thorne and Production Assistant Kara Reidy
New "Signs Of The Gemini" Featurette – An Interview with Brad Dourif
New "The Devil In The Details" Featurette – Interview with Production Designer Leslie Dilley, Assistant Designer Daren Dochterman and Illustrator Simon Murton
New "Music For a Padded Cell" Featurette – An Interview with Composer Barry DeVorzon
New "All This Bleeding" Featurette – A Look at the Re-shoot and Makeup Effects with Production Manager Ronald Colby, Editor Todd Ramsay, Effects Artists William Forsche, Mike Smithson, Brian Wade and Actor / Body Double Charles Powell
"The Exorcist III" Collector's Edition is available now on Blu-ray.