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SHOUT

MOVIE INFO

Director:
John Boorman
Cast:
Linda Blair, Louise Fletcher, Richard Burton
Writing Credits:
William Goodhart

Synopsis:
A teenage girl once possessed by a demon finds that it still lurks within her.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$6,735,000 on 703 Screens.
Domestic Gross
$30,749,142.

MPAA:
Rated R.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 117 min. (Theatrical)
102 min. (TV)
Price: $34.93
Release Date: 9/25/2018

Bonus:
• Both Theatrical and TV Versions
• Audio Commentary with Director John Boorman
• Audio Commentary with Project Consultant Scott Bosco
• Audio Commentary with Historian Mike White
• Interview with Actor Linda Blair
• Interview with Editor Tom Priestley
• Trailers
• Still Galleries


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RELATED REVIEWS


Exorcist II: The Heretic [Blu-Ray] (1977)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 5, 2018)

When The Exorcist hit screens in 1973, it came with two strong commercial disadvantages. For one, horror films tended to find genre audiences and not make a dent with the mainstream, and for another, its “R”-rating severely limited who could see it.

Despite these drawbacks, Exorcist became a massive hit. It earned nearly $200 million – an astonishing sum in its era – and it still stands in the all-time top 10 when adjusted for inflation.

Though sequels weren’t automatic back in the 1970s like they are now, the success of Exorcist made a second chapter inevitable. This story finally arrived four years later via 1977’s Exorcist II: The Heretic.

After the horrific events she endured in the first film, 16-year-old Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) continues to experience nightmares. She works with Dr. Gene Tuskin (Louise Fletcher), a therapist whose techniques eventually reveal that the demon that previously possessed Regan may still reside within her.

In addition, Father Philip Lamont (Richard Burton) investigates the death of Father Merrin (Max von Sydow), one of the priests who performed Regan’s exorcism. This leads him on a path toward Regan and a confrontation with her literal demons.

Whatever failures one may encounter with Heretic, one can’t claim the studio skimped on talent. Burton and von Sydow were already legends, and Fletcher was fresh off an Oscar win for 1976’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

The cast also includes good actors like James Earl Jones, Ned Beatty and Paul Henreid, and it boasts noted director John Boorman behind the camera. With all that talent involved, what could go wrong?

Plenty, as it happens. Somehow that strong cast and crew made a stinker – an epic, brain-numbing stinker with next to no positives involved.

At its core, a good story could come of this, mainly related to Regan’s continued inner torment. If Heretic focused on her end and a renewed attempt to save her soul, we might get something interesting. Granted, that would skirt perilously close to remake territory, but I think enough changes could come to the table to allow such a tale to work.

As it exists, Heretic touches on Regan’s continued evolution, but it does so with little energy or commitment. Despite discussions of her nightmares, Regan seems no more tormented than the average teen girl, so she comes across as perky and glib.

Those aren’t characteristics that lend toward an interesting thriller or horror flick, and the basic thinness of Heretic’s Regan turns into a major limitation. We don’t sense the darkness necessary to carry over the character from the first film.

The basic story of Heretic also lacks forward movement or thrust. Eventually the whole thing devolves into a weird psychic connection between Regan and Father Lamont, a development that sounds vaguely intriguing on the surface but not one that goes anywhere.

Which can be said for the movie as a whole, as Heretic comes saddled with a plot that takes a slow train to nowhere. Those involved appear to believe they’re bringing us on a creepy trip, but they’re wrong.

This leads to one plodding, boring sequence after another, all of which add up to precisely nothing. I guess it all connects eventually but the tale offers so little of interest that I find it impossible to care about the characters or their outcomes.

None of the actors do much with their parts. Blair completely loses the chilling sense of psychological damage she showed in the first, so she coasts through her breezy, unengaging turn.

Fletcher feels totally disconnected from her part and she barely appears to attempt a performance. Burton tends to bark his lines and look like he wishes he could get drunk instead.

Some view Heretic as laughably bad, but I can’t even find any unintentional humor here. Instead, Heretic offers the worst kind of bad movie: a dull, monotonous one with zero entertainment value involved.


The Disc Grades: Picture C/ Audio C/ Bonus A

Exorcist II: The Heretic appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not bad, the image seemed mediocre.

Sharpness became an issue, as an awful lot of the film appeared soft and tentative. At best, delineation appeared reasonably positive, but this never became an especially well-defined presentation.

Neither jagged edges nor moiré effects materialized, and I saw no edge haloes. In terms of print flaws, I saw a few small specks but nothing major. Grain tended to be heavier than average, though.

Colors veered toward the bland side of the street, as the movie’s earthy palette lacked much impact. The hues showed acceptable clarity but no better than that.

Blacks tended to seem somewhat inky, while shadows usually appeared a bit thick. Honestly, I suspect some of the visual concerns related to the original photography, as filters appeared to impact various areas. Nonetheless, the end result seemed surprisingly flat.

I didn’t experience anything more impressive via the film’s mediocre DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack, as it lacked punch. Speech seemed somewhat stiff, but the lines remained intelligible and lacked edginess.

Music showed acceptable definition, but the score lacked range and felt a bit dull. The same went for effects, as they remained accurate enough but they didn’t deliver much obvious impact. This turned into a wholly average mix for its era.

This two-disc packages sports two separate cuts of the film. We get an Original Cut (1:57:39) as well as the Original Home Video Cut (1:42:41). For this review, I only watched the longer version but if you’d prefer a shorter edition, knock yourself out! Apparently it includes a fair number of alternate shots, so those could make it interesting as a curiosity.

Alongside the “Original Cut”, we find two separate audio commentaries, the first of which comes from director John Boorman. He delivers a running, screen-specific look at how he came to the project, story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, and related areas.

Though Boorman starts well, he quickly loses steam. This means that after an interesting opening, the director goes MIA for long periods and tends to deliver information on a spotty basis. These factors turn this into a frustrating commentary.

For the second commentary, we hear from special project consultant Michael Bosco. During his running, screen-specific discussion, Bosco covers a mix of areas connected to the production as well as various themes.

For the most part, Bosco brings us a good look at the film. He seems too defensive about Heretic, and his bias can be a little tough to take at times, but I admit it’s nice to hear from someone who likes the much-loathed movie. Overall, Bosco mixes nuts and bolts with interpretation/background in a satisfying manner.

A third commentary accompanies the “Video” version. Projection Booth Blog’s Mike White brings his own running, screen-specific take on various production topics, some changes made to this cut, and related movie-related domains.

White’s chat comes with a scope similar to that of Bosco’s, though he maintains less reverence toward Heretic and goes snarky at times. That’s a better approach, I think, but White presents less useful information. While he makes this a moderately informative discussion, it never becomes great.

On Disc One, two video programs also appear, and we find a new Interview with Actor Linda Blair. In this 19-minute, 16-second piece, Blair chats about her decision to appear in the sequel, her co-stars, aspects of the shoot, and various problems along the way.

Blair offers a good discussion, one that looks at both positives and negatives. While she doesn’t pile on, she covers concerns in a frank way and makes this a worthwhile piece.

An Interview with Editor Tom Priestley goes for six minutes, 57 seconds and offers Priestley’s thoughts about how he came to the project as well as his work on the film. This becomes a short but informative chat.

On Disc Two, we find two trailers as well as five Still Galleries. These cover “Black & White Stills” (127 shots), “Deleted Scene Photos” (5), “Color Stills” (55), “Behind the Scenes” (53) and “Poster and Lobby Cards” (97). All of those add up to a good compilation of images.

No one expected another classic from Exorcist II: The Heretic, but viewers wanted something with a pulse. Heretic lacks even basic energy or power, as it turns into a sluggish, moronic attempt to cash in on its predecessor. The Blu-ray brings mediocre picture and audio as well as a nice array of supplements. This ends up as a terrible sequel.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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