Exorcist Director William Friedkin Calls Exorcist II A ‘Disgrace’

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When Exorcist II: The Heretic arrived on Blu-ray a few months back, we acknowledged its status as a widely derided sequel (and a bizarre deviation from its predecessor), but we also argued that it’s “a daring and original film.” If you’re a fan of adventurous, unconventional genre films, there’s really no reason not to appreciate Exorcist II—unless you directed the original.

While a case could be made that William Friedkin (The Exorcist, The French Connection, Sorcerer, Cruising) has a moderately less impressive body of work than John Boorman (Exorcist II, Point Blank, Deliverance, Excalibur), Friedkin is not shy about belittling his successor’s work on the franchise.

“I tell you, I did see a great deal of Exorcist II, under the following circumstances,” he said on The Movies That Made Me podcast. “I was at the Technicolor lab, colour timing something, and one of the timers said, ‘We just finished Exorcist II, would you like to have a look at it?’ And I don’t know why, but I went into the room and I sat through maybe 40 minutes of it. It’s the worst piece of sh*t I’ve ever seen. It’s a f*cking disgrace…. and God, what a cast it had: Richard Burton and Max von Sydow and Louise Fletcher, plus Linda Blair. James Earl Jones. That’s the worst 40 minutes of film I have ever seen, really, and that’s saying a lot.”

Evidently, Friedkin has yet to see his own 1995 mega dud Jade. Love it or hate it, Exorcist II: The Heretic is available—in several different incarnations—on a recent Blu-ray from Scream Factory. Check out the trailer below.