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Exorcist II: The Heretic
Exorcist II The Heretic poster
Directed by John Boorman
Produced by John Boorman
Richard Lederer
Written by William Goodhart
Starring

Linda Blair
Richard Burton
Louise Fletcher
Max von Sydow
Kitty Winn
Paul Henreid
James Earl Jones

Music by Ennio Morricone
Cinematography William A. Fraker
Editing by Tom Priestley
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release June 17, 1977
Running time 118 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $14 million
Gross revenue $30,749,142
Preceded by The Exorcist
Followed by The Exorcist III

Exorcist II: The Heretic is a 1977 horror film directed by John Boorman and written by William Goodhart. It stars Linda Blair, Richard Burton, Louise Fletcher, Max von Sydow, Kitty Winn, Paul Henreid and James Earl Jones. It is a sequel to William Friedkin's 1973 film The Exorcist based on the 1971 novel by William Peter Blatty. The sequel is set four years after The Exorcist, and centers on a now 16-year-old Regan MacNeil who is still recovering from her previous demonic possession.

The film was a critical failure at the time of its release. The Heretic is often considered the worst film in the series.

Plot

Philip Lamont, a priest struggling with his faith, attempts to exorcise a possessed South American girl who claims to "heal the sick". Afterwards, Lamont is assigned by the Cardinal to investigate the death of Father Lankester Merrin, who had been killed four years prior in the course of exorcising the Assyrian demon Pazuzu from Regan MacNeil. The Cardinal informs Lamont (who has had some experience at exorcism, and has been exposed to Merrin's teachings) that Merrin is up on posthumous heresy charges due to his controversial writings. Apparently, Church authorities are trying to modernize and do not want to acknowledge that Satan as an actual evil entity exists.

Regan, although now seemingly normal and staying with guardian Sharon Spencer in New York, continues to be monitored at a psychiatric institute by Dr. Gene Tuskin. Regan claims she remembers nothing about her plight in Washington, D.C., but Tuskin believes her memories are only buried or repressed. Father Lamont visits the institute but his attempts to question Regan about the circumstances of Father Merrin's death are rebuffed by Dr. Tuskin, believing that Lamont's approach would do Regan more harm than good. In an attempt to plumb her memories of the exorcism, specifically the circumstances in which Merrin died, Dr. Tuskin hypnotizes the girl, to whom she is linked by a "synchronizer" — a biofeedback device used by two people to synchronize their brainwaves. After a guided tour by Sharon of the Georgetown house where the exorcism took place, Lamont returns to be coupled with Regan by synchronizer. The priest is spirited to the past by Pazuzu to observe Father Merrin exorcising a young boy, Kokumo, in Africa. Learning that the boy developed special powers to fight Pazuzu, who appears as a swarm of locusts, Lamont journeys to Africa, defying his superior, to seek help from the adult Kokumo.

Lamont learns that Pazuzu attacks people who all have some form of psychic healing ability. Kokumo has since become a scientist, studying how to prevent grasshoppers from becoming locust swarms. Regan is able to reach telepathically inside the minds of others; she uses this to help an autistic girl to speak, for instance. Father Merrin belonged to a group of theologians who believed that psychic powers were a spiritual gift which would one day be shared by all humanity in a kind of global consciousness, and thought people like Kokumo and Regan were foreshadowers of this new type of humanity. In a vision, Merrin asks Lamont to watch over Regan.

Lamont and Regan return to the old house in Georgetown. The pair are followed by Tuskin and Sharon, concerned about Regan's safety. En route, Pazuzu tempts Lamont by offering him unlimited power, appearing as a succubus doppelgänger of Regan. Lamont initially succumbs to the demon but is brought back by Regan and attacks the Regan doppelgänger while a swarm of locusts deluge the pair and the entire house begins to crumble around them. However, Lamont manages to kill the Regan doppelgänger by beating open its chest and pulling out its heart. In the end, Regan banishes the locusts (and Pazuzu) by enacting the same ritual attempted by Kokumo to get rid of locusts in Africa (although he failed and was possessed). Outside the house, Sharon dies from burn injuries after she immolates herself and Tuskin tells Lamont to watch over Regan. Regan and Lamont leave and Tuskin remains at the house to answer the police's questions.

Cast

  • Linda Blair as Regan MacNeil
  • Richard Burton as Father Philip Lamont
  • Louise Fletcher as Dr. Gene Tuskin
  • Max von Sydow as Father Lankester Merrin
  • Kitty Winn as Sharon Spencer
  • Paul Henreid as The Cardinal
  • James Earl Jones as Kokumo
  • Ned Beatty as Edwards
  • Belinda Beatty as Liz
  • Barbara Cason as Mrs. Phalor
  • Joey Green as Young Kokumo
  • Ken Renard as Abbot
  • Dana Plato (uncredited) as Sandra Phalor
  • Karen Knapp (uncredited) as Pazuzu


The Exorcist Films vte
Films The ExorcistExorcist IIThe Exorcist IIIExorcist: The BeginningDominion: Prequel to the Exorcist
Characters Regan MacNeilFather Damien KarrasFather Lankester MerrinPazuzu

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