Released in June of 1977, Exorcist II: The Heretic, the highly-anticipated sequel to 1973’s The Exorcist, was a commercial and critical disaster. While The Heretic has gained an appreciative so-bad-it’s-good following over the years, William Friedkin, the director of The Exorcist, has never been a fan.
Friedkin hates the sequel to his blockbuster. “It’s the worst piece of s—t I’ve ever seen,” said Friedkin. It is a f—ing disgrace. “What a cast it had—Richard Burton and Max Sydow, and Louise Fletcher, plus Linda Blair. James Earl Jones. That’s the worst forty minutes of film I have ever seen, really, and that’s saying a lot.”
Speaking to Joe Dante and Josh Olson on a recent episode of The Movies That Made Me podcast, Friedkin recounted his first viewing of The Heretic in 1977. “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?’ recalled Friedkin. “I went into the room, and I sat through maybe forty minutes of it.”
Directed by John Boorman, Exorcist II: The Heretic grossed $30 million at the domestic box office, far less than The Exorcist, which made more than $400 million at the worldwide box office throughout its life-cycle. Boorman’s other film credits include Deliverance, Excalibur, and Point Blank.
Last year, Exorcist II: The Heretic was re-released as a two-disc collector’s edition Blu-ray by Shout Factory!