As a horror film, Exorcist 3 has good bones - stellar acting, suspense over gore, intricate plotting and genuine bone-chilling scares. However, the studio's need to mold it into an Exorcist sequel caused one character to be played by two different actors and included a tacked on exorcism in the third act that feels forced and unearned. Spicediver's fanedit, Legion, is his effort to restore as much as possible what the movie would have been without the studio's influence.
This is one of those fan edits in which the editor has a keen eye not to cut out material just because he can. There are subtle trims to the dialog throughout the movie, but this edit is careful not to step on the scenes that actually work in the original. While he is unable to fix the problem of two actors playing the same character, his version more accurately conveys Blatty's intent - that one actor is playing how the character looks, and the other is playing the entity that is controlling him. In the original, this distinction is harder to grasp.
However, where this edit shines is in the execution of its third act. Seemingly impossible at the outset, Spicediver has managed to exorcise the exorcism (cute, right?) altogether without the slightest hint that something is missing. The edit changes the entire tone of the ending substituting spectacle for remorseless finality. In doing so, it creates an entirely new dimension of horror altogether - the tragic fate of Father Karras.
This is an excellent edit, not only in being a taut horror film, but also as an example in demonstrating that sometimes insurmountable problems can be fixed in the right editor's hands.
Audio / Video Quality: Great. There's no pixilation or noticeable blocking in the blacks, which is a prominent color in the film. Though, I do wish the edit was available in HD.
Video: Seamless editing here. Nothing feels oddly inserted or missing.
Audio: Excellent. There are no pops, dialog chopping or noticeable transitions in the soundtrack.
Narrative: An improvement upon the original by bringing elements of the original to the front that were present but not prominent.
Enjoyment: When it comes to horror films, if you enjoy tension more than bloodshed, and pondering over spectacle, this edit is for you.
This is, pure and simple, one of the most amazing fanedits I’ve seen, if only because absolutely NOTHING in it indicates that this is fanedited. I could have sworn this played in theaters, and I could have sworn this played in theaters back in 1990, as even the new opening credits have that optically printed feel, while most fanedit credits feel like homemade, albeit many of them very good, digital addendums. Speaking of credits, the ENTIRE closing credits crawl appears to have been retyped, every single word, just to cut out Nicol Williamson’s name and add some acknowledgements (any time, BTW!). Some meticulous work. Spicediver is not only an excellent editor, but even more of a perfectionist than I am.
As for the movie itself: I think the theatrical cut is a mess, and I think that even this version is flawed as cinema. It has some very interesting elements, but too much misplaced humor (“HIS GODDAMN NOSE IS BROKEN!!!” You’ve gotta be kidding) and Blatty’s limited directorial skills, much inferior to his talent as a writer and thus producing a mix of good moments and embarrassing ones (the scares could have been filmed by Ed Wood, and that dream sequence has to be a prank. It HAS to be a prank) keep it from exploring its many possibilities. The worst offenders could have been easily excised, but that’s not what this edit is about. It’s not how Spicediver wants the movie, it’s how he thinks Blatty would want it. And in that respect, this is a huge triumph, not to mention that, warts and all, it’s far superior to the theatrical. I particulsarly liked the simple but very effective way the ending was resolved. In this case, less is truly more.
Technically, this was flawless. Perfect video, perfect audio, indistinguishable from a store-bought official release. The menu is just a still of the cover, I think at least some music and a chapters menu would have been nice, but those are minor quibbles anyway. Extras are a nice trailer and some text links.
This said, I see no reason to not give this one a full 10/10. Great, very professional stuff.
Fantastic edit of one of my favorite films. The extended flashback to the first film at the beginning works a lot better than the quicker version in the original edit, and the new ending is just awesome. I never outright hated the original "flashy exorcism" ending, but it was always something that seemed so utterly pointless, especially considering the rather low-key film that preceded it. Obviously due to the limited material at hand the new ending doesn't quite deliver the emotional end the film is building towards, but it's much more in line with the rest of the film than the studio-imposed ending.
It's obvious a lot of Spicediver care and attention went into demucking the theatrical release and turning it into an altogether different beast. The edit takes on a different pace and feels like a religious horror piece from the '70s, which is a plus; it allows one a chance to enjoy Dourif's and Scott's performances within a more coherent story, even if the latter hams it up in spots.
As noted by Dwight Fry, the custom titles look fantastic and range-free studio organic, both at the beginning of the movie and at the end. Another nice touch: Spicediver's foreword with creepy choirboy singing before the edit proper begins.
I watched the mp4 version, which sported excellent video quality.
Owner's replyOctober 02, 2012
Thanks for the positive review, ssj.
Some very observant comments about the 70's flavour - It never occurred to me until now.
My favorite fan edits usually take a pretty good movie and make it even more enjoyable and I think spicediver has done just that with this edit. I was already a pretty big fan of The Exorcist III. I think it's a very good looking movie with some terrific performances. The film only has a couple of really big scares, but I think the atmosphere and buildup to those moments makes them all the more effective. The original Alien does a similar slow buildup to create tension. Spicediver has made a few simple, but effective changes to the film, that I think work very well. The ending does feel a little rushed, but I know that he only had so much source material to work with. I highly recommended this edit to any fan of The Exorcist III.