William Peter Blatty

William Peter Blatty

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The Exorcist III Review


Excellent
Yeah, I know. It's a horror movie with a number after the title, which usually as promising a signal as "This film was not screened for critics." Well, if Evil Dead II is the horror sequel's Citizen Kane, then Exorcist III is its The Godfather.

Burdened with a disastrous prior sequel, E3 effectively rescues the franchise with earnest terror and dark wit. Writer and director William Peter Blatty, the man who scribed the novel and screenplay to the original Exorcist, completely ignores the heresy that was Exorcist II: The Heretic, and picks up 15 years after the first installment with a story loaded with dastardly twists, dreadful things that lurk just off-screen, and Brad Dourif.

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A Shot In The Dark Review


Extraordinary
The second film in the Pink Panther series doesn't mention its heritage in the title (and in fact there's no relation to the titular jewel at all in the movie), but A Shot in the Dark is widely -- and wisely -- thought to be the best film in the series of five. Peter Sellers is back as the incompetent Clouseau, this time investigating a murder at a wealthy Frenchman's (George Sanders) estate, where all signs point to the maid (Elke Sommer) as the guilty party. Clouseau refuses to see it this way, with wildly funny, slapstick, and simply crazy results. Sellers is on full tilt in this one.

The Exorcist III Review


Good
So we're not talking about great art here. But pound for pound, this second sequel to The Exorcist is one of the most frightening movies ever made. Largely set in an old hospital, we find that Father Damien may very well be alive and kicking in the depths of the mental ward -- and possibly possessed by the devil and with the power to possess others at will to do his bidding outside the confines of the straightjacket.

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Darling Lili Review


Terrible
Chances are you've never heard of Darling Lili, despite Blake Edwards as director and Rock Hudson and Julie Andrews as stars. Hell, audiences in 1970 barely heard of it, because it was a disaster on release. It's so bad it never even merited an appearance on VHS. Well, DVDs are cheap, and Blake Edwards is still alive and enjoying new noteriety thanks to a recent Oscar appearance... and Andrews is in the news, too. So why not put out a director's cut of what might be the worst film either of them ever made?

Problem #1 can be seen in a premise: It's a film that no self-respecting studio head should have ever greenlit, but inexplicably somebody did. Who in their right mind could have thought that anyone would want to see a musical about Mata Hari? Not even the real Mata Hari, but a Mata Hari-like character plying her trade during World War I.

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The Ninth Configuration Review


Good
Decidedly weird, The Ninth Configuration is a slow burn of a thriller that gives us Stacy Keach in a dead-on performance as a marine psychiatrist brought in to do his doctoring in a (what else) converted, remote castle in the Pacific Northwest. Namely, he interacts with NASA astronaut-gone-nuts Scott Wilson (equally good, if not better), until it starts to surface that Keach's character may not be altogether there himself. It's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by way of Jacob's Ladder. Written and directed by William Peter Blatty (The Exorcist). Very capable, though it flounders considerably in the final act. Still worth checking out, though.

The Exorcist Review


Extraordinary
Green vomit. Unnatural head twisting. Unlikely use of a crucifix. These images from William Friedkin's The Exorcist have become so memorable, so iconic, that they almost carry an air of humor (even spoofed by Linda Blair herself in 1990's Repossessed). They're no longer just parts of the movie, they are the movie. But now that Warner Bros. has given the film a Friedkin-enhanced re-release, it's time to see The Exorcist again as a complete film, beginning to end, with the gory details intact and in context. The result is that 27 years after its controversial release, The Exorcist is nothing short of a taut, American classic.

People may forget that The Exorcist, recently screened at the Boston Film Festival and now hitting wide re-release, was a wildly independent movie when that particular movement was really getting in gear. Shocking and blasphemous-beyond-words in 1973, the story of a sweet little girl's demonic possession still has a renegade feel today -- the introductory exposition takes nearly forty minutes, the use of profane language is disgusting and thrilling, even by today's standards, and the long battle at the film's end is relentless.

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William Peter Blatty

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