How The Exorcist III Reshot Ending Almost Ruined The Movie

Whereas The Exorcist endured as a horror masterpiece, this 1973 William Friedkin the directorial effort spawned some truly chaotic and cursed sequels. Exorcist II: The Heretic is widely regarded as one of the worst films of all time, while the production of the fourth entry, The Exorcist: The Beginning, was plagued with constant problems and ended up spawning two drastically different cuts long before “The Snyder Cut” entered the lexicon of internet discourse. Because of these issues, it may be surprising to realize that watching by Peter William Blatty 1990 movie The Exorcist III that it’s not just a step ahead of the others Exorcist followed, this is a truly well-made and disconcerting film.

Unfortunately, The Exorcist III the theatrical cut is capped off with an awkward ending that was mandated by studio executives. The inorganic nature of this conclusion is evident for countless reasons, and provides a frustratingly disjointed resolution to what was otherwise a thoughtful extension of the original. Exorcist.

What happened during the production of The Exorcist III?

The book The Exorcist: Out of the Shadows presents various passages that clarify the behind-the-scenes context of The Exorcist IIIis an awkward ending. William Peter Blatty recalls in this text that, a few months after the shooting of The Exorcist III was made, the film’s production company, Morgan Creek Productions, called him to inform him that the climax needed to be changed. In their opinion, a Exorcist the film needed an exorcism. Blatty couldn’t refuse their request, so he got to work on a new finale. This new conclusion would introduce an all-new character, Father Morning (Nicholas Williamson) and plenty of splashy spectacle as that priest and protagonist William F. Kinderman (George C. Scott) trying to remove the spirit that possessed the corpse of Damien Karras (Jason Miller).

Although Blatty complied with the studio’s wishes, he was never happy with how the sequence turned out. His feelings are already incredibly understandable before you consider how much this hastily remade ending contrasts with the original Blatty-filmed conclusion. Initially, The Exorcist III reportedly ended up with Kinderman, after narrowly saving his family from a murderous nurse, by simply walking in and shooting the possessed Karras. It would have been an understated conclusion to a movie that’s all about subtlety, not to mention something radically different from the famous climax of The Exorcist.

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Instead of delivering that ending, Blatty was forced to do something that could never escape the shadow of the original. the exorcist finale and feel at odds with the previous film. This last problem is particularly apparent since the tone of this new finale borders on insulting in that it rubs against the rest of The Exorcist III.

What was wrong with the Reshot Exorcist III End

For a large part of The Exorcist III, writer/director Blatty is content to let the atmosphere of this film simmer. It’s the story of human beings like Kinderman reeling from the horrors of the world they can’t explain, whether it’s the events of the first Exorcist movie or the terrifying actions of the ruthless Gemini Killer. Most of the characters walk around in a state of fugue, while Scott’s silent deliveries suggest he’s resigned to the waves of confusion and grief that have consumed him.

The majority of gruesome deaths that move the plot forward, including that of Kinderman’s friend Father Dyer (Ed Flanders), are kept off-screen. More unique ways of conveying their demise are used, such as Kinderman meeting Dyer, who has stitches around his neck, in a vision from Heaven just before he learns he was murdered. By these means, The Exorcist III quietly points out that the real terror here is not to see murder but to live knowing that murderous evil exists. The mere fact of trying to lead a daily existence aware of this provides a heavy anchor to his soul.

It’s all those thoughtful qualities of The Exorcist III which, unfortunately, are thrown out the window for the climax. Suddenly we see people pinned to the ceiling and having their flesh ripped off by the chants of satanic forces. Worse, the film even undermines earlier acts of violence that were so effectively kept offscreen. One of the first murders in the film is that of a young black boy named Thomas Kintry. Her disappearance shakes Kinderman to his heart, a fact made evident when he describes the youngster’s violent death and the hideous fact that his face was covered in blackface makeup when the cops found his corpse.

Keeping this off-screen was what made this development effective as it left the boy’s demise to the audience’s imagination. Unfortunately, that kind of restraint is abandoned for this finale, as Kintry’s corpse suddenly appears nailed to a cross in a vision delivered to Kinderman by the possessed priest. The dialogue-based approach to exploring how violence leaves an inescapable mark on a person’s psychology has now been traded in for this kind of splashy spectacle. The Exorcist III traded quiet but punchy for loud but hollow in its finale, all to appease studio execs who believe you can recreate the horrors of The Exorcist on a penny.

The problems with this reshot climax are limitless, but one particularly glaring shortcoming is Father Morning’s clunky presence. Suddenly appearing in the plot just so this film can do a classic exorcism sequence, it’s impossible to get invested in Morning since we’ve never known him before this intense spiritual confrontation. It also means Kinderman, the story’s protagonist, is sidelined for much of the finale. What can he do during an exorcism as a simple police investigator? The previously entrenched nature of The Exorcist III allowed an interesting protagonist like Kinderman to flourish, but this clunky climax pushes him aside.

The Exorcist III The story doesn’t end with this awkward conclusion

The Exorcist III is a surprisingly good film, very atmospheric and often showing impressive restraint and a great sense of timing in its scares. A crummy finale can’t totally gut the movie, but it does show the kind of issues so many movies face navigating the studio system. Executives often just want a reminder of what worked before, so doing something different will make them nervous. The Exorcist III so often excels because it avoids doing what you expect a Exorcist movie, when its climax is so mediocre because it tries too hard to emulate what it thinks audiences expect from a Exorcist Payment.

Fortunately, the story of The Exorcist III did not end with this theatrical cut. For years, fans have been clamoring to see Blatty’s initial vision for this movie, including that quirky ending. Although most of the deleted footage was originally considered lost, most of this footage, including much of the original ending, has been restored to a sleek Blu-ray release of Shout! Factory in 2016. With this release, viewers might finally have the chance to experience Blatty’s vision for this Exorcist slices while the curse that afflicts these Exorcist the sequels were eventually, if only temporarily, put to rest.

How The Exorcist III Reshot Ending Almost Ruined The Movie – GameSpot