Movie List
Loading ...
Find Theaters and Movie Times
Search Movies

Tiger by the tail

By STEVE VINEBERG  |  November 18, 2008

And don't forgo the chance to see his maddest film, EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC (Brattle: November 23 at 9:30 pm), on the big screen, where the astonishing visuals can truly be appreciated. The first of the Exorcist sequels (it came out in 1977), it has a stupefying William Goodhart script and a late Richard Burton performance — he's the priest sent to investigate the exorcisms of the late Father Merrin (Max von Sydow) — in which the combination of his embroidered Welsh-accented line readings and his physical stiffness turns him into a prize camp object. Pauline Kael once wrote that the movie would be amazing if you could turn off the sound, and a friend of mine once solved the problem by renting the DVD and turning on the dubbed Italian soundtrack.

The Brattle won't be offering that option, as far as I know, but the howlers in the script are probably worth the price of admission. (Burton actually says, "Evil is an insidious being.") And certainly the double-layered imagery is worth it in the eye-popping scene where Burton, Linda Blair, and Louise Fletcher as a forward-thinking shrink "go down" together via a "synchronizer" to revisit the exorcism at the climax of the first movie. The Exorcist was unredeemed, heartless junk; Exorcist II: The Heretic is simultaneously insane and visionary. Who could beat that combo?

John Boorman appears in person at the Harvard Film Archive November 21-22.

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  | 
Related: Review: Department of Eagles, Photos: El Perro Del Mar at the Brattle Theatre, Review: El Perro Del Mar at the Brattle, More more >
  Topics: Features , Entertainment, James Dickey, John Boorman,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   BAFFLED IN BOISE  |  October 09, 2012
    Samuel D. Hunter's A Bright New Boise, receiving its Boston premiere in a production by the Zeitgeist Stage Company, has no dramatic structure.
  •   SAD BOY  |  October 02, 2012
    The Irish playwright Brendan Behan, known for his plays The Hostage and The Quare Fellow and for his memoir Borstal Boy, was a raucous, charismatic, hard-drinking Irish Republican who began to write after he got out of prison for shooting at English detectives during a public event.
  •   GOOD PEOPLE COULD BE BETTER  |  September 24, 2012
    Good People , which opens the SEASON at the Huntington Theatre Company, is a schizoid experience.
  •   CAR TALK IS NO MUSICAL  |  June 26, 2012
    The notion of a musical inspired by Car Talk is bizarre.
  •   COWARD'S 'PRIVATE LIVES' ROARS AGAIN  |  June 05, 2012
    It wouldn't be a stretch to call Noël Coward's 1930 Private Lives the funniest play of the 20th century.

 See all articles by: STEVE VINEBERG