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  • Legion (2016)

    When William Peter Blatty's novel Legion was turned into THE EXORCIST III, the director and studio battled over a lot of things including the title. Things got much worse for the director when the studio was unhappy with the film he turned in because it didn't feature any sort of exorcism. With the two sides battling the cast and crew were called back in to make an alternate ending, which not only featured an exorcism but also had Jason Miller returning so that they could have a better connection to someone from the original movie.

    Sadly, Blatty's original cut has been lost but Shout Factory! did try to assemble something close to it on their latest Blu-ray release. LEGION has been presented on Blu-ray with a ninety-minute documentary on the film as well as a reconstruction of the original director's cut. The only problem is that the majority of the footage has been lost so the studio was forced to use a VHS workprint, which is shown full screen while the rest of the movie is the original 1.85:1. The quality on the new footage is fairly decent for a VHS rip but it is also quite distracting from the rest of the picture. It should also be noted that the opening credits are that of the theatrical version because credits for the original cut weren't done.

    So, is the director's cut better? Honestly, I don't think so. This film is hard to judge because it doesn't contain all the original footage and it also suffers from some poor quality but on the whole I don't think this version was better. There's added dialogue sequences between George C. Scott and the Brad Dourif character. There's an additional scene of Scott investigating at the church as well as another scene by Father Karras' grave. The ending is also completely different since there's no exorcism stuff.

    The new dialogue sequences certainly help expand on the Dourif character but I'm really not sure this version is any better. The exorcism sequence in the theatrical cut certainly stuck out like a sore thumb but commercially it's easy to see why it was added. I've never felt it hurt the film too bad and I liked the way Miller was used for a connection to the original. I'd also argue that the added scenes here really don't add any suspense and the final showdown between Scott and Dourif doesn't pack that much of a punch.

    Still, fans of THE EXORCIST III has screamed for a director's cut for over twenty-five years. This here is the best it's going to get so fans will still want to check this out.
  • Judging from the two flicks he made, William Peter Blatty was a talented director. He had vision and ambition. But that didn't make him infallible. THE EXORCIST III is a case in point. The theatrical version was flawed and we loved to blame the "suits" who demanded changes and re-shoots. But now here's LEGION, the version Blatty intended to make and I'm sad to report that it's even more flawed than the theatrical version. The theatrical version had that silly exorcism at the end, which brought an up until that point thoughtful flick down to the level of bargain basement horror. But the ending of the director's cut isn't much better, it's extremely anti-climactic and a million miles removed from the theological ending of the book. Another big difference is that in the director's cut Brad Dourif plays both the Gemini Killer/Patient X and Karras. You gotta hand it to the "suits" at Morgan Creek who insisted on re-shoots with Jason Miller, because the going back and forth between Dourif/Gemini and Miller/Karras in the theatrical version works like a charm. That part is much better in the theatrical version.

    What's great about EXORCIST III remains great in the director's cut: the performances, especially the lead role by George C. Scott, the eerie atmosphere and photography and the best jump scare I have ever seen.

    All in all, EXORCIST III remains flawed in both versions. But it's great that we can establish that by ourselves, thanks to the good folks who assembled the director's cut from whatever crude material they could get their hands on. In that respect, it's mostly historically interesting.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I waited for this cut for a long time, and now that I see it I can see why the studio wanted re-shoots. There is no reason at all for the viewer to understand why Kinderman thinks Dourif's character is Karras in this cut. Even the scenes with Dourif lack the intensity they did with the re-shoots. The only thing I can agree with is the removal of the priest and the exorcism. This character and his subsequent scenes are simply not needed and feel tacked on.... as, of course, they were. Jason Miller's scenes are amazing in the theatrical version, and much better than Dourif's performance. The directors cut is homogenized to the point that performances that originally gave me the chills now leave me empty. While the S/F laden theatrical ending was a bit over the top, it was much better than the boring ending of the director's cut. This film is my favorite horror movie, I'm a little disappointed this didn't impress me or add anything to my enjoyment of it. I'm glad they released the remastered Blu-Ray a little while back, so kudos to the studio for that, but you could have left this in the vaults. Just my opinion though. If others like it I'm happy for you.
  • Oddly enough this comes out literally just as William Peter Blatty dies. Maybe it is a fitting end to his brilliant writing and filmmaking.

    Yes you have to look past the fact that much of the "new" footage is old, bad quality and looks like it was ripped from an old VHS tape but that just leaves so much more to the imagination - much like the first version of the film did. Also a brilliant movie.

    Gone are some sub-plots and even people from the original film and this version has definitely been de-Hollywootized and instead been Twin Peaksed.... stripped of many of the more elaborate sets and special effects - but it still works.

    The part that was so amazing in the first film was the mood, the moments, the small things - and it's carried on into this version. I don't want to do any spoilers so I'll leave it at that. But if you loved the original you don't want to miss this one. Great acting, great lines and moments that get under your skin in a way few (if any) movies manages to do today.
  • For years fans were wanting the the Directors Cut of "Exorcist III" and in 2016 Scream Factory released it.

    "The Exorcist III" original version was destroyed or lost by the production company "Morgan Creek". However I think there is still the uncut print around somewhere. So in the Scream factory release they re-created the director's cut the best way they could by including VHS copy the director had. They cleaned up the footage and it was used "Sparingly". However the difference in quality and screen ratio is very noticeable and it might put off some viewers however this version is much better than the theatrical cut however I do prefer the ending that was used for the theatrical version.

    The story is about Police Lt. Kinderman (George C. Scott) who notices similarities between his current murder investigation and the methods used by the "Gemini" killer (Brad Dourif) who was executed 15 years before. He soon discovers a hospitalized mental patient (Jason Miller) claiming to be the dead serial killer, but who looks uncannily like a priest Kinderman knew who died during an exorcism. As more bodies are found, Kinderman looks for connections between the two supposedly dead men.

    Not exactly a sequel its a spin-off of the original film. To me its not an Exorcist sequel if Linda Blair is not in it.

    Everyone needs to view this film not as a sequel but just a movie about a police investigation. In fact the film was originally titled "Legion". It was marketing people that called it "Exorcist III". When test audiences were told the title was "Exorcist III" they were expecting an Exorcism. When one didn't happen they gave this film a major "Thumbs Down"! This sent the film back into production and the re-shoots caused major controversy.