True horror fans have been dreading this day, but I guess it was as inevitable as Halloween getting remade.
Yes, The Exorcist is going to be redone, this time as a ten part mini-series. An article on why this is a bad idea writes itself, but I have a few things I think I have to say about all of this.
Ever since The Exorcist became one of the biggest hits of the 1970’s, there’ve been countless demonic possession rip offs, and at least four sequels to the original.
When Exorcist II: The Heretic came out, and was one of the biggest disasters of all time, you’d think they’d learn their lesson, but they’ve been trying ever since to bring the Exorcist back, and they should frankly just leave it alone.
William Friedkin, who directed the original, had famously said he would never do an Exorcist sequel in a million years, “not for a hundred percent of the profits,” and like Jaws and Halloween, it was a complete exercise that said all it had to say. Steven Spielberg and John Carpenter also resisted sequels to Jaws and Halloween, yet the studios moved forward anyways.
Despite pressure from Universal, Spielberg would have nothing to do with Jaws 2 because like The Exorcist and Halloween, the first Jaws was a masterpiece, and it still stands as the ultimate shark movie. Carpenter was involved in Halloween II because he knew it was going to get made with or without him, and if he came aboard, at least he could have some control over the proceedings. (Lucas was also pushed into a sequel to American Graffiti the same way, because Universal owned the rights and could make a sequel whether he wanted one or not).
The mini-series will be written and directed by Sean Durkin, and like a lot of stupid horror remakes, it’s going to show what happened before, the exorcism in the jungle that almost killed Father Merrin, and left the demon Pazuzu possessing Linda Blair to try and settle the score.
I guess everyone forgot the prequel approach was also done with 2004’s Exorcist Dominion, which was a disaster. First Paul Scharder (Taxi Driver) wrote and directed, the producer wasn’t happy with it, so he then hired Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2) to rework it into Exorcist: The Beginning.
Neither version did any business, and it’s as much proof as you need, along with Exorcist II, that this classic tale of terror can never be duplicated or equaled, so why spend millions of dollars trying?