In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare John Boorman’s best and worst rated films, Deliverance (1972) and Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), respectively. Nate finally rates a film 1/10, Austin is possessed by Pazuzu, and they both squeal like a pig.
Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Mel Brooks’s Young Frankenstein (1974) and Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995), his best and worst rated films.
Also check out this interview with the cast of Deliverance:
Exorcist II: The Heretic Notes
PLOT: A teenage girl once possessed by a demon finds that it still lurks within her. Meanwhile, a priest investigates the death of the girl’s exorcist.
- Ratings: IMDb 3.7 | RT 20% C / 13% A
- Released: 1977
- Director: John Boorman
- Writer(s): William Goodhart (written by), John Boorman and Rospo Pallenberg (uncredited)
- Cinematographer: William A. Fraker (Rosemary’s Baby, Tombstone)
- Notable actors: Linda Blair, Richard Burton, Louise Fletcher, Max von Sydow, Kitty Winn, Paul Henreid, James Earl Jones, Ned Beatty
- Budget: $14 million
- Box office: $30.7 million
- Fun Facts:
- William Friedkin, director of the first film, told a story, recalled to by a Warner Bros. executive, at the Chicago Critics Film Festival in April 2013. Studio heads came to the sneak preview of “Exorcist II” in a limo, and told the drivers to go get fast food. They entered the auditorium, and within 10 minutes into the film, an audience member stood up, glanced into the crowd, and proclaimed: “The people who made this piece of shit are in this room!” 10 or 12 other audience members gathered to find the executives. The heads rushed out of the theater and realized that there were no cars to make their escape. They were subsequently chased down the street by a group of angry audience members.
- The original cast and crew of The Exorcist (1973) were very much opposed to a sequel. William Friedkin and William Peter Blatty actually met to discuss ideas at one point, but when they failed to develop a suitable premise, they abandoned the project. Both Linda Blair and Ellen Burstyn turned down repeated offers by the studio, though Blair eventually agreed to return when presented with what she considered a good script. However, according to Blair, due to various rewrites the script ended up a total mess. By that point, however, she was contractually bound to a sequel, and unable to drop out of the project.
- The original, opening night version of this film was so poorly received that the audience at a theater on Hollywood Blvd. actually threw things at the screen to express their disgust when it was over.
- Stanley Kubrick turned down the offer to direct. When John Boorman accepted, Kubrick warned him that the only way a sequel to “The Exorcist” would succeed is if it were to be more graphic and horrific than the original.
- Linda Blair has said that Richard Burton started out sober, but frequently became drunk during the middle and end of filming. She also says that tensions were high among the cast.
PLOT: Intent on seeing the Cahulawassee River before it’s turned into one huge lake, outdoor fanatic Lewis Medlock takes his friends on a river-rafting trip they’ll never forget into the dangerous American back-country.
- Ratings: IMDb 7.7 | RT 93% C / 82% A
- Released: 1972
- Director: John Boorman
- Writer(s): James Dickey (screenplay), James Dickey (novel), John Boorman (additional dialogue)
- Cinematographer: Vilmos Zsigmond (The Deer Hunter, Close Encounters of the Third Kind)
- Notable actors: Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox, Billy Redden, Bill McKinney, Herbert Coward
- Budget: $2 million
- Box office: $46.1 million
- Fun Facts:
- In the year after the film’s release, more than 30 people drowned in the Chattooga River while trying to replicate the characters’ adventures.
- To minimize costs, the production wasn’t insured, and the actors did their own stunts. Jon Voight actually climbed the cliff.
- The rape scene was filmed in one take, largely because Ned Beatty didn’t want to film it repeatedly.
- To save costs and add to the realism, local residents were cast in the roles of the hill people.
- According to director John Boorman, the gas station attendant’s jig during “Dueling Banjos” was unscripted and spontaneous.
- Burt Reynolds broke his coccyx while going down the rapids when the canoe capsized. Originally, a cloth dummy was used, but it looked too much like a dummy going over a waterfall. While Reynolds recovered, he asked, “How did it look?” Boorman replied, “Like a dummy going over a waterfall.”
- Much of the film had to have its color desaturated because the river looked too pretty.
- “Dueling Banjos” was the first scene shot. The rest of the movie was almost entirely shot in sequence.
- The rape scene as originally scripted consisted mainly of swearing. The “squeal like a pig” phrase was an attempt to “clean up” the scene for TV viewing. John Boorman liked the “cleaner” version, and used it in the film.
- Much of the dialogue is taken almost verbatim from the source novel.
- Burt Reynolds breakthrough role, transforming him from an actor to a film superstar.
Intro music: Calm The Fuck Down – Broke For Free / CC BY 3.0