Synopsis by Robert Firsching
William Peter Blatty, author of The Exorcist, directed this intriguing, deliberately-paced thriller based on his novel Legion. Ignoring the events of John Boorman's disappointing Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), the film moves ahead 15 years from the end of the original, when Georgetown is being plagued by occult murders bearing signs of the long-dead Gemini Killer, James Venamon (Brad Dourif). Although the killer was executed 15 years earlier, a young boy is horribly mutilated and the ailing Father Dyer (Ed Flanders) is drained of blood in his hospital bed. George C. Scott takes over the role of dedicated police Lt. William Kinderman, who is convinced that the key to the killings lies in an amnesiac mental patient who looks exactly like the dead Father Karras (Jason Miller) at some times, and like Venamon at others. It appears that Venamon was executed at the exact moment that Father Karras became possessed by the killer/devil and hurtled from the window at the end of the first film. Kinderman slowly comes to accept that the patient is Venamon and enlists an exorcist, Father Morning (Nicol Williamson), to free Karras' soul and stop the murders. The Exorcist III is heavy on dialogue, but contains some fine performances and some chilling moments, particularly the haunting opening in a Georgetown church. George DiCenzo, Viveca Lindfors, and Zohra Lampert also appear in this underrated, low-key horror film. Award-winning makeup artist Greg Cannom contributed to the special-effects, Gerry Fisher's cinematography is excellent, and the cast includes some notable bit parts by Samuel L. Jackson, Patrick Ewing, and Tyra Ferrell.
exorcism, detective, evil-possession, good-vs-evil, mental-patient, Satan, demon, execution, investigation, murder, priest, supernatural, mutilation, serial-killer