The Exorcist III (1990)

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Released 3-Dec-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1990
Running Time 105:19
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (46:23) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By William Peter Blatty
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring George C. Scott
Ed Flanders
Brad Dourif
Jason Miller
Nicol Williamson
Scott Wilson
Nancy Fish
George Dicenzo
Don Gordon
Lee Richardson
Grand L. Bush
Mary Jackson
Viveca Lindfors
Case ?
RPI Box Music Barry De Vorzon


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
German
Spanish
Swedish
Norwegian
Danish
Finnish
Polish
Czech
Turkish
Hungarian
Icelandic
Croatian
French
Italian
English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    A critical and commercial diaster, The Exorcist II: The Heretic, appeared to be the last Exorcist movie. However, after the passing of many years, the original author of the Exorcist novel, William Peter Blatty, managed to revive the franchise with The Exorcist III.

    As I wrote in a previous review, "released in 1973, the Academy Award winning The Exorcist was a critical and commercial success. Even recent polls still list it as being one of the "scariest movies ever made". But The Exorcist was much more than that. With an excellent script, based on a great novel (and a true story), and a movie that exhibited superb direction, acting, photography, editing, art direction, and special/make-up effects, The Exorcist remains a brilliant movie and an absolute 'corker' of a DVD (I'm referring to he digitally remastered The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen). Even though grossly vulgar and crude at times, the movie was stylish and classy (never B Grade), and featured unforgettable and startling visual and aural imagery . . . As a movie, The Exorcist II: The Heretic lacked the style and substance of its predecessor. As a DVD, it also lacks the beautifully restored transfer and the English Dolby Digital 5.1EX audio of its predecessor. Indeed, it's just downright disappointing all-round".

    Made almost twenty years after The Exorcist, The Exorcist III reprises the characters of Lt. William 'Bill' Kinderman (George C. Scott) and Father Joseph Kevin Dyer (Ed Flanders), but with new actors in the roles. Jason Miller returns in an all-too-brief appearance as Father Damien Karras, but there is no Regan (Linda Blair) or Father Merrin (Max Von Sydow) to be seen. Based on William Peter Blatty's novel Legion, and written and directed by Blatty himself, The Exorcist III has actually very little to do with the events of The Exorcist. Indeed, it is a completely separate story, and I wonder if this movie would have been green-lit at all without the tie-in to a commercially successful movie.

    The plot of The Exorcist III is a simplistic detective story, tarted up with some supernatural elements: Kinderman is investigating a series of gruesome murders which resemble the work of an executed serial killer, The Gemini Killer (Brad Dourif). His investigations lead him to the disturbed ward in a local hospital. In this ward Kinderman is startled by what (and who) he finds . . .

    Strangely, Blatty has taken a few liberties with his original Exorcist story and film. For example, now Kinderman and Karras are presented as having been best friends, whereas the two characters only met briefly in The Exorcist before Karras' untimely 'death'. The changes made are not crucial to the story, but will leave some Exorcist fans, like me, scratching their heads.

    If The Exorcist II: The Heretic was flogging a dead horse, then The Exorcist III is flogging its decomposed remains.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is quite decent overall, and presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness is good. For example, consider the detailed and textured shot of Kinderman's face at 13:46. However, the shadow detail is variable, and often poor such as at 37:08. The colours are excellent, and colour is used effectively in the story-telling.

    There are no problems with MPEG or film-to-video artefacts, but tiny film artefacts appear throughout. There is some very slight telecine wobble on occasion, such as at 24:02

    The English subtitles are simplified, but accurate.

    This is an RSDL disc, with a slight pause during the layer change at 39:38.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    While not matching the aural intensity of the beautifully digitally remastered The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen, there is a decent audio mix here.

    There are three audio options on this DVD: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s), German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s), and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s). The English version is the default audio.

    There are no problems with either the dialogue quality or the audio sync.

    The musical score is credited to the Barry Devorzon, and it is minimal but effective. Having been left out of The Exorcist II: The Heretic, Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells also makes a welcome return.

    The surround sound mix is very subtle and very stereo-surround like, but there are some gently enveloping effects such as the rain through the rears at 48:17. The subwoofer is called upon frequently, such as with the ominous rumbles during the dream sequence at 25:22.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The extras are very slim.

Menu

    A simple menu.

Theatrical Trailer

    A 'teaser trailer' presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital stereo-surround audio.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Exorcist III has been previously released in R1.

    The Region 4 DVD misses out on:

    The Region 1 DVD misses out on:

    While the features are similar, I would favour the R4 for the dual-layered disc.

Summary

   The Exorcist III promises a lot, but delivers little. While there are a few scares here and there, the overall film seems to meander, lacking tension, purpose, and even a coherent storyline.

    The video quality is reasonable.

    The audio quality is good.

    The extras are really not worth mentioning.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Wednesday, December 03, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Anthony Clarke

Comments (Add)
Your comments on the plot are a bit unfair... - REPLY POSTED
Quite Scary and pretty good all round, really. - Rodda (This... is my *bioom* stick!) REPLY POSTED
1973 - 1990 ... 17 years = "almost 30"? n/t - REPLY POSTED
Read the sodding book... - REPLY POSTED
re "Charlie & Tex"s comments on "Legion" - Bran (my bio, or something very like it)