Exorcist II: The Heretic is not without its defenders, but these fans are far outweighed by the number of viewers who consider it a monstrous disappointment after the classic 1973 original, with even the first film’s helmsman, William Friedkin, last year calling the 1977 sequel “ridiculous and stupid.”
All the same, actress Linda Blair seems to have few regrets about returning to the series for a second installment, partly because of the big names she got to work opposite. With a new Blu-ray collector’s edition of The Heretic set for release on September 29th, the demonically possessed star of the franchise has recalled her excitement at coming on board for the continuation of the Exorcist story.
“Finally, one day, the script appears. And I felt like, Wow, this project is amazing, it’s perfect, it’s fabulous. They presented a really good next step, for the film, for the project, for Regan. You give me these amazing actors. Richard Burton, for me, that was what got me. To work with Richard Burton, that’s still, to this day, is one of the highlights of my life.”
Regardless of what you think of the resulting film, you can hardly blame the still-teenage Blair for wanting to work with the iconic star of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and 1984. Throw Louise Fletcher, Max von Sydow, James Earl Jones, and Deliverance director John Boorman into the mix, and you’ve got a pretty impressive line-up for a less-than-beloved movie.
In any case, despite the critical panning and poor box office numbers that The Heretic was met with upon release, the series has continued to find paths onto the big and small screen, usually with more warmly received results. And despite the recent cancellation of The Exorcist TV show, we’re sure we haven’t seen the last of this Satanic saga. In this era of constant horror reboots, spinoffs, and sequels, the devil will always make work for idle franchises.