If you are a horror fan, then The Exorcist is a film that needs no introduction. A classic in every sense of the word, it paved the way for modern horror touchstones like The Conjuring franchise or even the Insidious series. However, the sequels to The Exorcist have arguably become somewhat less celebrated over the years, and it turns out that director William Friedkin has not even watched them. The director of the original Exorcist film opened up and explained:
I never saw any of the Exorcist films, not even Bill's [William Blatty, author of The Exorcist novel]. I saw a few minutes of Exorcist II, but that was only because I was in the Technicolor lab timing a film that I had directed --- I forget which one --- and one of the color timers at Technicolor said, hey, we just made a print of Exorcist II, would you like to have a look at it? I said OK. I went in, and after five minutes, it just blasted me. I couldn't take it. I thought it was just ridiculous and stupid. But that was only five minutes, so I can't make an ultimate judgment about it. It just seemed to me to have nothing to do with The Exorcist.
In terms of the critical reception, The Exorcist franchise experienced a reasonably notable dropoff after the release of the original film back in 1973. With the exception of the first movie and the current FOX series inspired by its continuity, every installment in the series has been classified as "rotten" by Rotten Tomatoes. It's hard to pinpoint exactly why this happened, but the fact that the sequels became far more bogged down in the mythology behind the demonic possessions (as well as the inclusion of some shoehorned exorcism scenes) might have something to do with it.
Based on his comments to IndieWire, it's pretty clear that William Friedkin's connection to the demonic horror franchise runs deep. Not only is he responsible for directing the original take on The Exorcist mythology (widely regarded as one of the best horror movies ever made), but he also recently made a cameo appearance on the most recent Halloween episode of The Simpsons -- doing (you guessed it) a riff on The Exorcist.
Even though William Friedkin has never sat through the entirety of The Exorcist franchise, his work remains pretty much unchallenged in the annals of horror history. It has been over a decade since the last Exorcist film hit theaters so we will have to wait and see if the series will ever return to the world of movies. Until then, you can The Exorcist TV show on Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on FOX.