Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)

The magical land of Africa once again draws in more white people than Narnia and Middle Earth combined. Most of this film takes place in the United States four years after Regan’s (Linda Blair) cock-filled dialogue in the first Exorcist, but there are also extended flashbacks to the adventures of now-deceased Father Merrin (Max von Sydow) in Africa, where he brought God to the godless and took demons away from the demon-superfluous.

As is detailed in the fourth film(s) in the series (which bear little resemblance to this one), Merrin first encountered Regan’s demon, Pazuzu, in the Motherland, although given over 25 years of hindsight, one wonders why anyone would want to revisit any part of this hokey film. Besides some interesting visuals (including “mystical darkie” James Earl Jones dressed as a giant locust), camp value is the only real appeal here (Did I mention James Earl Jones dressed as a giant locust?). Inane dialogue, a silly plot involving a hypnosis machine (What, is a swaying pocket watch suddenly not good enough?) and overwrought acting make this a camp lover’s wet dream.

If that’s not enough, check out the scene in which Regan’s tap dance routine (!) is interrupted when her Spidey sense — er, psychic link with Father Lamont (Richard Burton) — tells her that he’s getting stoned during his visit to Africa. With real stones. Aimed at his head. Sadly, he survives to prolong the film. The same can’t be said for Bill Grant, the black cabbie who has one of the more thankless cinematic deaths you’ll see, even for a black horror character.

“Where the white women at?”
Jenny’s all-girl recreation of the Lincoln assassination was ahead of its time.
“Little help over here?…Ma’am?”
The sound of African crickets? Not so peaceful.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here