Combustible Celluloid
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With: Linda Blair, Ellen Burstyn, Jason Miller, Max von Sydow, Lee J. Cobb, Richard Burton, Louise Fletcher, Kitty Winn, Paul Henreid, James Earl Jones, Ned Beatty, George C. Scott, Brad Dourif, Stellan Skarsgard, Izabella Scorupco, James D'Arcy, Remy Sweeney, Gabriel Mann, Clara Bellar
Written by: William Peter Blatty, William Goodhart, William Wisher Jr., Caleb Carr, Alexi Hawley
Directed by: William Friedkin, John Boorman, William Peter Blatty, Paul Schrader, Renny Harlin
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 710
Date: 01/12/2006

The Exorcist: The Complete Anthology (2006)

4 Stars (out of 4)

The Devil Inside

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Warner Home Video has released the complete Exorcist collection in one place and for a very reasonable price. While it's true that none of the sequels live up to the original, they all have some cinematic value, and together the set exceeds the sum of its parts. The set includes both cuts of William Friedkin's The Exorcist (1973 and 2000); I prefer the original, but the re-release has some definitive spooky moments. John Boorman's Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) was a famous flop, but is still worth a look for its unique visuals and Ennio Morrocone score (as well as for its crackpot story). Exorcist III (1990), directed by original novelist William Peter Blatty, is an earnest attempt to bring intelligence back into the series, with George C. Scott providing some class in the lead role; it contains one or two great scares, but it's ultimately nonsensical. Finally, Renny Harlin and Paul Schrader's alternate takes on the prequel (from 2004 and 2005) are available together for the first time, making back-to-back comparisons possible. Friedkin, Harlin and Schrader provide commentary tracks.

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