Posts Tagged ‘1990s’

I spent a lot of time looking at this movie in genuine bewilderment and saying, out loud, “Are you serious right now?”  I never got an answer.  I suspect the answer was no.  That suspicion is in fact the only thing saving this movie from the coveted zero-star rating; that and the conviction that everyone involved in the movie had a lot more fun making it than I had watching it. In fact, I was left with many more questions than answers.  Deep, philosophical questions such as:

  • Why does Ghostbuster Dude recite all his lines as if he were being badly dubbed over a kung fu movie from 1978?
  • Wait.  Why does that ghost know what they’re looking for?
  • Is that supposed to be a puppet?  An alien puppet?
  • Does Tuberculosis Guy think that boxes become different boxes if you turn them sideways?
  • What does any of this have to do with people who were killed by Winchester rifles?
  • Why are there teenagers in roles that appear to be written for six-year-olds?
  • Does that woman seriously think a cop with a knife through her throat is going to answer questions about where her kid is?
  • This looks like someone thinks it’s going to be a twist.  Is it supposed to be a twist?
  • Okay, I got the “twist.”  Can you stop explaining it to me now, please?
  • How is that greenscreen so bad?  This movie has the worst effects I have seen in I don’t know how long.
  • What is that woman even doing right now?  What are they supposed to do, wander around there forever?
  • And finally but most pertinently: what in blue hell were the filmmakers trying to do with this?

I fear none of these questions will ever be answered.  That’s okay.  I’m not all that interested in the answers, to tell the truth.

So what’s the verdict?  One star, but I honestly feel a little bad about it.  The goofiness level in this movie is so high that I can’t imagine anyone involved with it took it seriously.  It didn’t even insult my intelligence; it just sort of… refused to engage with my intelligence. It’s like this movie exists in a happy little world where intelligence does not exist, nor things like coherent plots and well-done CGI, and the worst thing ghosts ever do is wander around in bad rubber masks going “RARR!” half-heartedly at you from across the room.  I feel sort of bad for introducing criticism into that good-natured, inoffensive place.

On the other hand, this is a really damn terrible movie.  If you’re in the mood for something like this, dig up that old Disney movie, Child of Glass.  I loved that shit when I was a kid.


The Exorcist III (1990)

Posted: February 14, 2010 in 4 stars, Reviews
Tags: ,

In 1977, Hollywood, flush with the 1973 success of The Exorcist, filmed a sequel entitled Exorcist II: The Heretic and unleashed it upon an unsuspecting public.

“What in the actual fuck am I watching,” the public said.

“Um,” said Hollywood.  “The latest addition to the wildly successful Exorcist franchise?”

“Is that a locust-cam? Seriously?” said the public.

“Yes, it is a locust-cam.  Our bad,” said Hollywood, slouching sulkily off toward Bethlehem.  The movie flopped with a resounding crash, and there the matter rested for thirteen years.

In 1990, William Peter Blatty wrested his franchise back out of the hands of the people responsible for E2, probably bitch-slapped them with it, and started over, wisely choosing to pretend that E2 had never happened.  And I wish that movie hadn’t left such a bad taste in everyone’s mouth, because The Exorcist III is an underappreciated gem of a movie, creepy and gothic, with at least a couple of moments capable of scarring you for life without a drop of blood being shed onscreen.

Though, don’t get me wrong, there’s blood too.  Creatively.

I thought about capping the scene with the nurse, but then I didn’t.  If you’ve seen the movie, that part probably scarred you for life the first time around.  If you haven’t, I want you to be scarred right along with the rest of us.  I’m generous like that.

For E3, Blatty wisely chose to jettison Regan MacNeil, who was a bit of a one-trick pony anyway, in favor of bringing back Detective Kinderman (George C. Scott) and Father Dyer (Ed Flanders).  Kinderman is facing a rash of religion-themed murders that bear all the hallmarks of having been committed by the fifteen-years-dead Gemini Killer – except that fingerprint evidence indicates the murders were all committed by different people.  His investigations lead him to the disturbed ward of the local hospital; where he finds, among other surprises, that the Gemini killer (in the person of the incomparable Brad Dourif, handling some five solid minutes of bad-guy exposition with such flair that you never want him to stop talking about killing people) is, while indisputably dead, not as gone as one might hope.

Half the joy of this movie is that, like the original, the creepiness builds not just from blood-splashed confessional booths but from such small things.  Kinderman speaks the name of God and the clock stops.   Someone whispers his name as he walks through the disturbed ward.  An empty street in the middle of the night has people running across it every couple of minutes for no apparent reason.  Things that are done and then left alone to be unnerving all by themselves, not overemphasized by music stings or dramatic reactions.  It’s a very different experience from loud and rambunctious slasher movies,  so immersive that it closes over your head like water.

The movie’s not flawless.  (Father Morning, wtf?  I love him, but wtf, where did he even come from?  I’m pretty sure he’s a replicant.  Also, water dripping into a sink is not ominous, it’s just annoying.)  But there are places where it could have been flawed and wasn’t.  Even pinned cruciform against the wall by the power of Satan Or Whoever, for instance, Kinderman stubbornly refuses to have a heartwarming reconciliation with God.  And what the movie gets right, it gets so right that you’re in awe.

Father Morning.  A dream to some… A NIGHTMARE TO OTHERS!

So what’s the verdict? Four stars.  I almost gave it five, putting it up there with the seminal horror movie of my childhood, Halloween; that’s how great this movie is.  It only lost a star for the deus ex machina quality of the ending, which is strangely unsatisfying until the last minute or so of the climactic scene. Watch it, own it, just don’t blame me when you develop a phobia of birdlike little old ladies.

Also, check out the exhaustive and hilarious writeup of Exorcist II on  They’re braver than I am, that’s for damn sure.


Kinderman has a dream about Limbo.  I don’t even want to know what he had for dinner that Limbo involves Angel Fabio, but I hope to god I never eat it after six.

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