12 January 2017



In typical 'me' fashion, I ended up seeing this brilliant 'demonic possession' film before watching either the original EXORCIST movie or any of the other films in the franchise. That's me all over, always going in ass-backwards, haha. It was just the way it worked out.

There was a late-night screening of it at a local Horrorthon a couple of Halloweens ago. Feeling brave, I bought a ticket and watched the film. Though I hadn't seen the original movie and didn't follow some of the references to it, I was deeply, deeply drawn to the film. There was, like, an instant attraction there, a spark that still hasn't burned out and probably never will.

I watched the first EXORCIST movie shortly afterwards and loved it. I'm going to go out on a bit of a limb here and say that I think I prefer EXORCIST 3. There's a lot of stuff going on in it that I love, like the genuine friendship between two tetchy adult males played out against a background of horrific murders, and I also find it a terrifying film to watch. In fact, each successive time I watch it it scares me more.

Remember Lieutenant William F. Kinderman, the cop played by Lee J. Cobb in THE EXORCIST? He's back again, this time played by George C. Scott. Scott was nominated for a GOLDEN RASPBERRY AWARD FOR WORST ACTOR for his performance here but I think that that was totally mean and uncalled for.

I thought he was lovely and solid and huggable in this, if a wee bit hammy. Nothing wrong with a bit of ham though, especially if there's some nice cheese and a couple of slices of bread to go with it. I also happen to think he's a very attractive older man, so there. The critics can put that in their respective pipes and smoke it if they care to. Humph...!

Kinderman is investigating a series of murders that remind him strangely of those committed by the executed serial murderer known as the 'Gemini Killer.' But if the Gemini Killer is dead, why are there victims showing up all over the place with his peculiar 'signature' scrawled all over them?

That's not a literal signature we're talking about, by the way. It means that the murd-diddly-urderer has left his special mark on the deceased in some way, It's a way of 'personalising' your crime and making it specific to you, as it were. I learned that from reading true crime stories, haha. The more gruesome, the better. There must be something seriously wrong with me, haha.

Anyway, there's a patient in the locked psychiatric ward of the local hospital who claims to be the Gemini Killer. He resembles Kinderman's former friend Father Damien Karras, who died horribly at the end of the first movie. Kinderman is staggered at the shocking sight of his old friend, seemingly returned to life.

Just who is this deeply unpleasant man, this so-called 'Patient X,' who until recently had been in a vegetative state for seventeen years, and why is he claiming to have brutally slaughtered Kinderman's best friend when Kinderman knows for a fact that he, 'Patient X,'  was in a straitjacket in a locked room when the murder took place? There's a story and a half here, folks, and Kinderman will have his work cut out for him trying to get to the root of it all.

I also loved the friendship between Kindermann and the cuddly old grey-haired 'n' grizzly Father Dyer. The stuffed penguin sitting on the hospital windowsill as the rain poured down outside made me cry buckets, as did the fact that Frank Capra's 'IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE' is the all-time favourite film of both elderly gents. It's one of mine too!

They're such good pals and they have so much in common, not least of which is the pleasure they seem to derive out of slagging each other off and taking the piss out of each other. Every year, on the anniversary of Father Karras's death, they clear their diaries so that each can 'cheer the other up.' Their lovely bromance is probably the one thing about the film that isn't shrouded in a stinking miasma of black-as-night evil.

I wouldn't book myself into the Georgetown hospital in the film if I were you. Nancy Fish as Nurse Allerton is terrifying. She looks like she should be torturing mental patients in a video-nasty. Viveca Lindfors as Nurse X, making a house call to Kinderman's home, is another one I wouldn't open the door to either. Not if you paid me! All the old people in the film are as creepy as hell. No disrespect intended. I normally love old people. I've dated enough of 'em, haha.

This film also put me off going to confession for life. I bet it scared the life out of real-life priests who saw the film as well. After all, they're the ones who have to go into those little boxes in the dark and talk and listen to those faceless black holes.

Christ alone knows what could be sitting in the dark on the other side of that grille! This film probably did for confessing one's sins what Steven Spielberg's JAWS did for swimming in the open sea. Just when you thought it was safe to go back to confession...

The dark, steep flight of special EXORCIST steps are back too, and they are flippin' terrifying. They played a huge part in the first film and they really should have a credit of their own, they're so memorable and evil. Can steps be evil? The answer is yes. Most definitely yes. Without a doubt.

If I may be less than positive for a moment (massive spoiler alert!!!), I'd just like to say that I initially found the murder of little Nurse Amy hilarious. In the space of a few seconds, she was slit from top to bottom, stuffed with rosary beads and stitched right back up without anyone spotting whodunnit.

Mind you, that is one under-staffed and poorly-lit hospital. I wouldn't trust my loved ones to its tender mercies, that's for sure. Any more than I'd initially have sent my old Ma to the Damien Karras Retirement Home...! Subsequent viewings taught me to respect that scene and fear it. Now I have nightmares about it. Serves me right, haha.

When the words 'Ed Flanders' came up on the screen at the start of the film to signify the actor who played Father Dyer, the whole Horrorthon audience sniggered, by the way, probably because 'Ed Flanders' sounds a lot like 'Ned Flanders,' Homer Simpson's saintly moustachioed neighbourino in THE SIMPSONS. Oh and, by the way again, cheesy sex symbol Fabio turns up briefly as an angel in Heaven. Say no more.

Over the years, THE EXORCIST 3 has garnered a lot of respect from critics who generally seem to agree that the film is haunting, chilling and deeply unsettling. I'll say. It unsettles the bejeesus out of me every time I see it. It's my personal favourite film of the five-film franchise, and I also think it's the best one after the original movie. It beats the pants off Number Two, that's for sure!

Anyway, I'll sign off by telling you about the weird dream I had last night. It was about a rose, and about falling down a long flight of stairs. You don't think that's weird? Wait till you watch the film...


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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