31 Days of Halloween Day 23 – The Exorcit III

31 Days of Halloween – Day 23

The Exorcist III (directed by William Peter Blatty, 1990) When I first wrote out a list of the movies I would blog about for my ’31 Days of Halloween’ series, for day twenty-three, I had James Whale’s 1935 classic Bride of Frankenstein. Bride is probably the best of the Universal Monster movies of the 30’s and 40’s, but it just didn’t seem right to include it on this list. I wanted to give the spot to something that truly scared the hell out of me after seeing it for the first time. Friends and I went to the theater to watch the film, and it immediately had an effect on me. And if that wasn’t enough, no word of a lie, there was a storm and power outage that night. I had to sit in the dark and think about what I just saw, and if the devil was responsible for the lack of electricity on my street. This is why I switched in The Exorcist III as day twenty-three on this list. This movie still gets under my skin. Lieutenant Kinderman (George C. Scott) has been investigating a string of serial murders which share far too many similarities to those of “Gemini Killer”, who has been dead for fifteen years. The current murders contain evidence that only the police knew about during the original series of killings, but what is really puzzling is that the finger prints at each scene are different, making it seem that there are multiple killers at play. The trail leads Kinderman to a psychiatric hospital and what he discovers in Cell 11 will truly test his faith in all that is holy. Exorcist III should be considered the true sequel to the classic 1973 The Exorcist. The film has received average reviews, and admittedly seems to be appreciated more twenty five years later, but I feel it does not get the credit it deserves. The story is actually well crafted, and makes sense. True evil never dies; it just finds another body to hide in. The acting is great lead by George C. Scott, who was always a commanding screen presence. Jason Miller returns as Father Damian Karras, and the always charming Brad Dourif is scary and convincing as the Gemini Killer. The cast of elderly people, who play an important part of the story, are wonderfully creepy. The original is so shocking and blasphemous that it would be hard to even come close to duplicating, but this sequel tries to deliver some genuinely freaky moments. One of the best jump scares of any film, in my opinion, is a long hospital hallway shot that builds for quite a bit, but delivers a satisfying payoff. What frightens me most in horror films is the use of Catholicism and religious symbolism, or demonic possession (if done right), and Exorcist III is chalk full. This Halloween, if you want to see the film that made me (figuratively) wet my pants, watch The Exorcist III. If you do not get the creeps, you can laugh at me.

IMG_0678

Recap

  • Day 1 – The Conjuring
  • Day 2 – You’re Next
  • Day 3 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • Day 4 – Dog Soldiers
  • Day 5 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
  • Day 6 – Psycho (1960)
  • Day 7 – John Carpenter’s The Thing
  • Day 8 – The Prowler
  • Day 9 – Pet Sematary
  • Day 10 – The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Day 11 – Near Dark
  • Day 12 – The Lost Boys
  • Day 13 – Child’s Play
  • Day 14 – Sleepy Hollow
  • Day 15 – House of 1,000 Corpses
  • Day 16 – The Devil’s Rejects
  • Day 17 – Night of the Living Dead
  • Day 18 – Dawn of the Dead (’78)
  • Day 19 – Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
  • Day 20 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
  • Day 21 – The Cabin In The Woods
  • Day 22 – A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
  • Day 23 – The Exorcist III

Top Five Underrated Fright Films – Under-appreciated Horror!

Sam

Most horror films don’t get good reviews. I’d say maybe ten or twenty percent are well received by critics. Fans are a little more forgiving, granting a lot of bad movies a chance. This is why I would sooner listen to fans than critics. It seems that if a horror movie is not original, it is not worth a critic’s time. Some of my favorite horror films got ripped apart by critics. Horror movies, for the most part, are not projects for directors to develop characters, write endearing dialogue, or tug at your emotions. Besides offering up laughs (most of the laughs are unintentional), horror films are meant to scare the crap out of you, and give you the creeps. Fright films pose one question; what lurks in yonder shadows? Basically I am saying give horror a chance! Here are my top five (in no particular order) underrated horror films.

Exorcist III: Legion (directed by William Peter Blatty, 1990) This movie scared to living hell out of me. I saw it in the theater when I was 14, and it affected me more than any other horror movie. No word of a lie, there was a power outage that night because of a storm, and it just made the whole experience a little more hair-raising. Of course, this film can’t touch the original as far as being a complete film, but Legion, has a lot going for it. Jump scares, great tension build, and enough religious imagery to give anyone the creeps. The film is set in the year it was made, but the story connects right back to the end of 1973 classic original, The Exorcist. It also completely ignores the sequel to the original, The Exorcist: Heretic, which was a piece of garbage. Even if you have seen it, give it another shot. It’s worth while.

Lords of Salem (directed by Rob Zombie, 2012) Lords of Salem is a departure from the ultra-violent House of 1,000 Corpses, and the amazing Devil’s Rejects. This almost seems like Rob Zombie wanted to make an art film, as well as homage to Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch. The first time I watched it, I lasted ten minutes and was distracted by something shiny, so I shut it off. About a year ago, I decided to give the movie another shot. This time, it sucked me in. The story has holes, and confusing here and there, but the film is beautifully shot. Not to mention, with all Rob Zombie projects, Lords has an amazing soundtrack. Sheri Moon Zombie is great as a radio deejay that becomes the conduit for the witches of Salem to return to present time and get their revenge for being persecuted during the Salem Witch Trials. Great imagery and creepy atmosphere make Lords of Salem worth checking out.

Jason X (directed by James Isaac) Being the ninth sequel in a tired, dying franchise, it should be the worst one, logically thinking. What else could they do with Mr. Voorhees? Well, they decided to put him in space, and give him a robotic/cyber type makeover. Sound ridiculous, right? Well it is. It has bad acting, a really far-fetched story, and some cheesy effects. The film is dumb, but it is dumb in funny, inventive way. The kill scenes are far more entertaining and original than most of the Friday the 13th deaths, and there is humour! This film knows it’s not to be taken seriously, so it throws every cliche at you, and makes fun of it in the process. This is not my favorite installment of the Jason franchise but it is better than at least four of the others.

Idle Hands (directed by Rodman Flender, 1999) Idle Hands is a horror comedy that falls a little more on the comedy side. I think the writers decided to capitalize on two popular genres of the time; the teen horror film, and raunchy teen comedies. This was around the time films like American Pie and Scream were popular date movies. Idle Hands is a little bit of both. I suppose the horror aspect of the movie is used for comedic purposes, but it does the job effectively. Even Seth Green is funny. The main character, Anton, is a lazy teenager with no ambitions, with the exception of his right hand. His hand is possessed and has murderous intentions. This is a nice nod to another possessed appendage film, Evil Dead 2. Gore, violence, nudity, comedy, drug use and a fresh-faced Jessica Alba. What’s not to love?

Trick r Treat (directed by Michael Dougherty, 2007) To be fair, Trick r treat is widely liked by critics, but it does not get the recognition it deserves. The film follows four separate stories on Halloween, but all interweave in some aspect. The common factor in all the stories is Sam, the ambiguous little fellow that wears a burlap sack on his head, who is as deadly as he is adorable. Trick r Treat is right up there with Creepshow and Twilight Zone as far as horror anthology films go, and I’ll even go as far as to say it is my favorite. Anna Paquin and Brian Cox star in this new staple in my Halloween viewing arsenal. Above all things, Trick r Treat teaches us that Halloween traditions should be respected, or bad things can and will happen!

T.