Original Exorcist Director Says The Sequel Was The Worst Movie He’s Ever Seen

Linda Blair In The Exorcist II

The Exorcist is viewed as one of the great horror movies of all-time. The film was a commercial hit as well, and the 1970s were no different than today in that regard. A popular film was bound to get a sequel. And thus came 1977's Exorcist II: The Heretic. Recently, William Friedkin, the director of the original Exorcist admitted to having seen a chunk of the sequel film back then, and not only did he dislike it, he called it the worst movie he'd ever seen. According to the director...

I tell you, I did see a great deal of Exorcist II, under the following circumstances. I was at the Technicolor lab, color 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 shit I've ever seen. It's a fucking disgrace.

To be fair, William Friedkin's response to Exorcist II is about on par with most people who have seen it. It's regarded by many to be one of the worst films ever made. Friedkin tells The Movies that Made Me podcast that the movie tries to "reverse" the work of William Blatty, the author of the original Exorcist novel which the first film was based on. Friedkin clearly has a lot of respect for Blatty, and thus has little respect for a movie that he feels has no respect for the source material.

Beyond that, however, William Friedkin doesn't pull punches when it comes to the craft of moviemaking either. He calls the film "talentless."

The movie was written by William Goodhart, who had only written one movie prior to Exorcist II and would only write one after, so there may be something there, but it was helmed by John Boorman, a two-time Academy Award nominee for Best Director, so it's difficult to say there was no talent involved. Friedkin also comments about the, frankly remarkable, talent that was in front of the camera as well...

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.

There was clearly talent involved in making Exorcist II, but sometimes great people still make bad movies, and that's clearly what happened in this case. While horror movies are frequently not given the respect they deserve, few would argue that this particular endeavor deserves much respect at all.

Although, as is pointed out in the podcast, every movie that's ever been made is somebody's favorite, so there are probably some that love Exorcist II. If you're one of those people, make your case in the comments.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.