The Exorcist 3 title

AKA: Exorcist III : Legion

Tag line : Dare you walk these steps again...

The Exorcist 3This is actually the film that SHOULD have been Exorcist 2. Based on William Peter Blatty's follow up novel "Legion", and directed by Blatty himself, the film follows the exploits of one of the minor characters from the original movie, Police Lt Kinderman (played by George Scott, who takes over the role from the late Lee J. Cobb from the first film).

Set some 15 years after part 1, and Georgetown has been shocked by a series of extremely grisly murders, with the victims having been nailed to crosses and decapitated. The police are completely baffled, with each crime having the markings of the same killer, but finding different fingerprints and evidence at each crime scene.

Detective Kinderman is also alarmed to find that the killings match the work of a serial killer known as "The Gemini", whom he had sent to the electric chair some 15 years previously. Meanwhile, the body count begins to increase, with one of the victims even being Kinderman's long time friend Father Dyer (another character from the first movie, played here by Ed Flanders).

However, whilst at the hospital Kinderman comes across a patient in the secure wing known only as "Patient X", who to his complete surprise looks exactly like Father Karras (played by original cast member Jason Miller), who died after falling down the stairs at the end of part 1. To compound matters further, this unknown patient seems to know an awful lot about the recent murder spree, and also claims to know a lot about the long deceased Gemini killer (played by horror veteran Brad Douriff).

Kinderman has long disputed there being an afterlife, or the notions of demonic possession. But with each new murder, evidence begins to mount that Patient X could some how be behind the killings, even though he's been confined in his cell on each occasion. The question also arises, not of who could be possessed, but rather how many?

All in all, this is a very good film and is very much in keeping with the original. Praised by critics as being the first true sequel to The Exorcist, it (thankfully) ignores the disastrous part 2, and fans of the first film will undoubtedly enjoy it. No Linda Blair this time though!

Terrifying Trivia.

  • Warner Bros turned down making this film, however after George Scott agreed to play the role of Lt Kinderman 20th Century Fox snapped up the distribution rights.

  • Horror veteran Brad Douriff was originally going to play the role of Patient X/Father Karras in this film, as Jason Miller was at the time unavailable. However, the distributors later insisted that Jason Miller had to reprise the role, despite the fact they had already begun filming with Brad Douriff.

  • There were two major plot changes made, which deviated from the novel. First of all having Patient X's face switch between Father Karras's (Jason Miller) and The Gemini Killer's (Brad Douriff), which was done to retain Brad Douriff in the film. Secondly, the exorcism scene at the end was added at the insistence of the distributors, who claimed the film couldn't be marketed as an Exorcist sequel, unless it contained an exorcism. The novel had simply ended with Kinderman confronting Patient X and pulling a gun on him.

  • The movie was going to be called "Exorcist 3 : Legion", but the sub-title was eventually dropped for it's final release.

  • US chat show host Larry King makes a cameo appearance during the restaurant scene, if you look carefully you can see him in the background.

  • There were several scenes filmed, that were not used in the final print of the movie. A scene were a priest is decapitated was removed after people objected at a sneak preview. Several flashback scenes, showing Brad Douriff as Father Karras being loaded into the ambulance and taken to the morgue, were not used because of Jason Miller coming back to play the character, and the final exorcism originally had more special effects, along with Patient X's head continually changing between Father Karas's and the Gemini Killer's, although a shot of this still exists in the promotional trailers.

  • Although Linda Blair does not appear in the film, she did make a sort-of third film. Starring with comedy actor Leslie Nielson in the spoof "Repossessed", which was released at the same time as Exorcist 3.

  • Beware of a film released in the UK during the late 80's called "Exorcist 3 : Cries and Shadows". This was actually a low-budget foreign rip-off which had previously been released under it's original title "Naked Exorcism". It has nothing to do with the official Exorcist series and fortunately (for them), the distributors of the official Exorcist 3 never sued. To my knowledge this truly awful rip-off, never turned up in any reputable video shops, but was spotted for sale on market stalls and at discount warehouses. You have been warned!

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Buy it at Amazon.co.uk

Buy the UK DVD box set (5 discs).

Buy "Legion" the original novel.

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Buy the US DVD box-set (5 discs).

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