Years later on Shudder I watched the regular cut of The Exorcist III after having seeing the Director’s Cut thanks to my local public library. I prefer the DC although the theatrical cut is also fine, even though I feel that Legion is far more scarier and has a more effective and creepier ending. Both center on evil refusing to die, the past coming back to haunt people, and of course that epic nightmare fuel jump scare scene involving someone wielding a large pair of sheers. George C. Scott anchors this film as a policeman searching for answers that lead him back to a dead serial killer known as The Gemini Killer.
The opening for Legion is different and features an odd, wind filled sequence in a church that inspires dread. Legion is about how evil never really dies and how the devil has endless ways of maintaining evil , only in this case it is through a long dead killer showing back up again. Brad Dourif has always been good at playing evil and crazy people, yet I think he is at his most terrifying here as Gemini, the instrument of the film’s awful events. I can’t think of a movie that’s made me wary of garden sheers than this one, or at least one that’s been made recently. Ed Flanders and Scott Wilson also do a great job as part of the supporting cast as well. Wilson and Flanders both were also in the equally great The Ninth Configuration, which Blatty also directed.
Although this isn’t as good as The Exorcist, The Exorcist III is a worthy sequel and is one of the best horror films of the 1990s. It has also held up pretty well, particularly in it’s discussions of faith, belief, and fighting against the forces of darkness. The battle is a dirty daily job, but according to Scott’s policeman someone has to do it on a daily basis and the war never ends.