Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Halloween 2018 #16: The Exorcist III (aka Legion) *** (1990)

Starring a world weary George C. Scott as Detective Kinderman from the original Exorcist film, Legion is about a series of grisly murders in Washington D.C. that are connected to the events of the first film. While the original story is referenced, the third chapter in the saga stands on its own as a unique supernatural mystery. William Peter Blatty wrote and directed an adaptation of his own novel.

Legion is about the eternal struggle between good and evil. Detective Kinderman's spent a life time trying to bring justice to the world, yet when faced with a horrible series of murders that will include his good friend Father Dyer (Ed Flanders), he struggles to find his faith. The scenes with Scott and Flanders are like a separate film as they swap one liners. Still haunted by what he witnessed in Regan MacNeil's bedroom, he struggles on with his faith.

Most of the major scenes take place in a hospital. Hospitals are places where life and death intermingle everyday, a clearinghouse for spiritual angst. A hospital is even more intense than a haunted house, a grand central station for spiritual combat. Blatty directs the hospital scenes with an unsettling intimacy, including one of the most bizarre murder sequences ever put on film, anticipating the found footage genre.

The story itself gets a bit muddled, involving a serial killer who may be possess supernatural abilities. Played both by Brad Dourif and Jason Miller, these scenes are dialogue heavy, creepy, but incoherent. 

The use of Washington DC as a setting sets a nice connection with the original, despite all the horror elements, in the end Exorcist III is a meditation on evil that offers few answers, simply suggesting these ancient struggles are at the center of the human heart. 

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