The Exorcist III (1990) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Exorcist III (1990)

The Exorcist III (1990)

The Exorcist III




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Exorcist III Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

William Peter Blatty, author of The Exorcist, directed this intriguing, deliberately-paced thriller based on his novel Legion. Ignoring the events of John Boorman's disappointing Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), the film moves ahead 15 years from the end of the original, when Georgetown is being plagued by occult murders bearing signs of the long-dead Gemini Killer, James Venamon (Brad Dourif). Although the killer was executed 15 years earlier, a young boy is horribly mutilated and the ailing Father Dyer (Ed Flanders) is drained of blood in his hospital bed. George C. Scott takes over the role of dedicated police Lt. William Kinderman, who is convinced that the key to the killings lies in an amnesiac mental patient who looks exactly like the dead Father Karras (Jason Miller) at some times, and like Venamon at others. It appears that Venamon was executed at the exact moment that Father Karras became possessed by the killer/devil and hurtled from the window at the end of the first film. Kinderman slowly comes to accept that the patient is Venamon and enlists an exorcist, Father Morning (Nicol Williamson), to free Karras' soul and stop the murders. The Exorcist III is heavy on dialogue, but contains some fine performances and some chilling moments, particularly the haunting opening in a Georgetown church. George DiCenzo, Viveca Lindfors, and Zohra Lampert also appear in this underrated, low-key horror film. Award-winning makeup artist Greg Cannom contributed to the special-effects, Gerry Fisher's cinematography is excellent, and the cast includes some notable bit parts by Samuel L. Jackson, Patrick Ewing, and Tyra Ferrell.more
Rating: R
Genre: Horror
Directed By:
Written By: William Peter Blatty
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 5, 2001


George C. Scott
as Kinderman
Ed Flanders
as Father Dyer
Brad Dourif
as Gemini Killer
Jason Miller
as Patient X
Nicol Williamson
as Fr. Morning
Scott Wilson
as Dr. Temple
Nancy Fish
as Nurse Allerton
Don Gordon
as Sgt. Ryan
Lee Richardson
as University President
Grand L. Bush
as Sgt. Atkins
Mary Jackson
as Mrs. Clelia
Ken Lerner
as Dr. Freedman
Tracy Thorne
as Nurse Keating
Zohra Lampert
as Mary Kinderman
Harry Carey Jr.
as Fr. Kanavan
Sherrie Wills
as Julie Kinderman
Edward Lynch
as Patient A
Cilfford David
as Dr. Bruno
Lois Foraker
as Nurse Merrin
Tyra Ferrell
as Nurse Blaine
James Burgess
as Thomas Kintry
Kevin Corrigan
as Altar Boy
Peggy Alston
as Mrs. Kintry
Fr. John Durkin
as Elderly Jesuit
Bobby Deren
as Nurse Bierce
Alexis Chieffet
as Counter Attendant
Debra Port
as Waitress
Walt MacPherson
as Police Sergeant
David Dwyer
as 2nd Police Officer
Daniel Epper
as Police Driver
William Preston Robe...
as Old Man in Wheelchai...
Chuck Kinlaw
as Attendant
Nina Hansen
as Little Old Lady
John A. Coe
as Old Man in Dream
Samuel L. Jackson
as Dream Blind Man
Jan Smook
as Radio Man
Amelia Campbell
as Young Girl in Dream
Larry King
as Himself
Patrick Ewing
as Angel of Death
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Exorcist III

Critic Reviews for The Exorcist III

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (5)

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Suggests that Blatty had seen and loved many films without ever really paying attention to how they worked.

Full Review… | July 22, 2013
Antagony & Ecstasy

Exorcist III wields a mighty sword of scares and contemplation, drilling into those primal areas of nail-chewing tension...This film is a humdinger.

Full Review… | August 22, 2010

A good chunk of The Exorcist III is taken up by a series of sit-down chats; close-ups of Scott's ugly mug are the only half-frightening thing on the screen.

Full Review… | July 6, 2010
Georgia Straight

I'll call it a noble failure.

Full Review… | July 30, 2007

Unnecessary sequel to sequel with top cast.

May 11, 2006

Audience Reviews for The Exorcist III

The Exorcist III should have been called by its original title, Legion. But due to marketing issues, the studio felt that it would succeed more under an Exorcist moniker. Well let me just say it's far superior to the heretic and is far more creepy and intriguing than the previous film. The cast does a fairly decent job, and the film is filled with tense moments of creepy atmosphere and suspenseful scenes. A solidly paced and directed horror film, Exorcist III is a different take on the story, but it does succeed on creating effective terror and jolts. Although not as memorable as the original masterpiece, Exorcist III is still a necessary film to watch. What's great about the film is that it still manages at delivering good scares, but unlike the original, it doesn't have the intensity that you'd want from a film like The original, but compared to the second one, this third entry is an improvement. There's plenty of good elements to deliver an effective horror film here, but in the end I felt it also was a good stand alone film as well, not a film that necessarily needed The Exorcist title on the cover. The film is very entertaining for what it is, and though is not as horrifying as the original film, it still has enough good horror bits to really make it an interesting, and scary horror film to watch. If you loved the original, was disappointed by the second; then check this one out, the film is worth your time, and will give you a few good jolts in the process.

Alex roy

Super Reviewer

A number of brutal and ritualistic-type murders that have taken place in Georgetown has police Let. Bill Kinderman, George C. Scott, deeply concerned. Lt. Kindeman was in charge of the "Gemini Killer" serial murder case that happened fifteen years ago and the MO of these killings are identical to that of that long ago killer.

The fact that the murder victims now, a 12 years-old boy and two Catholic priests, were killed exactly the same way as those victims of the "Gemini Killer" were back then. The method of his savage actions was never reviled to the newspapers and the public yet these killings could not have possibly been done by him since the "Gemini Killer" was executed back in 1973, or was he?

Worthy follow-up to the original movie "The Exorcist" if you throw out the awful "The Exorcist Part II: The Heretic" made some thirteen years earlier. William Peter Blatty's "Exorcist III" starts where "The Exorcist" left off when the heroic Father Karras, Jason Miller,fell down a long flight of stairs outside the MacNeil residents taking the demon who was in possession of young Regan MacNeil's body with him to his death. At that very moment the convicted "Gemini Killer" James Venamun, "Brad Dourif" was executed for his crimes. The Devil took advantage of this moment in time by transferring the soul of Venamun into the dead Father Karras' body and at the same time bring Karras back to life. Wondering around the streets of Georgetown the now unrecognizable and comatose Father Karras was taken into a local mental institution where he spent the last fifteen years, strapped down in a padded cell, and known to those in charge only as patient X.

As time went by Karras' mental facilities slowly came back to him and with Venamun in control of his body and, this is hard to take, soul has been using the mental patients to do his bloody work. Manipulating their, crippled and very impressionable, minds the patients go out in the neighborhood as well as in the hospital and commit this latest string of "Gemini " killings.

"Exorcist III" has a lot of dream-like and surrealistic scenes in it which at times confuses you. As it moves to it final conclusion, in the graphic battle between "Good" and "Evil", it becomes very clear to what it's been telling you for the first 90 minutes or so. "The Devil" through the helpless Father Karras, whom he brought back from the dead, is waging his war against "Good" with one of those saintly men who stood fought and died for it.

George C. Scott gives his usual top-rate performance as the troubled and gilt-ridden, he felt that he should have saved Father Karras back in 1973, police Lt. Kinderman. At first Lt. Kinderman didn't really understand what he was up against, the Devil. When he finally did, at the end of the movie, he not only cast the Devil's demons out of the tragic priest but put Karras tortured soul to rest and peace forever, in a truly shocking and memorable final sequence.

Both Brad Dourif & Jason Miller were just as good as Scott as the "Gemini Killer" James Venamun and Father Karras who both occupied the same, Karras', body. Like in a titanic tug of war Venamun and Father Karras were in conflict with each other throughout the entire movie. Until the evil, that was engineered by the Devil, on the people of Georgetown and the Catholic Church was finally put to an end.
This is a film that I wish we could get a director's cut. They're was a different opening and ending along with other scenes taken out by the studio. It seems this footage is lost now but hopefully it will surface one day.

David Ladd

Super Reviewer

(Review coming soon)

Edward Boxler

Super Reviewer

The Exorcist III Quotes

– Submitted by Jorge G (4 years ago)

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