Exorcist II: The Heretic is getting a Blu-ray collector's edition at the end of this month and actress Linda Blair reveals why she agreed to do the movie in a preview for the bonus features. The sequel has gained cult status over the years, but amongst horror fans, it's the black sheep of the family, with some even going as far as to say it's one of the worst movies of all time. The film was directed by the great John Boorman (Deliverance) and stars Richard Burton, but their inclusion, along with Blair's wasn't enough to repeat the success of the original.
Linda Blair was 17-years old when she signed on to star in Exorcist II: The Heretic. The young actress was nominated for an Academy Award for her work on the first film and won a Golden Globe, so returning to the fold to work with John Boorman and Richard Burton at that time was an easy decision. Plus, James Earl Jones and Louise Fletcher were also on board for the sequel. Blair had this to say about her decision to sign on for Exorcist II: The Heretic.
"Finally, one day, the script appears. And I felt like, Wow, this project is amazing, it's perfect, it's fabulous. They presented a really good next step, for the film, for the project, for Regan. You give me these amazing actors. Richard Burton, for me, that was what got me. To work with Richard Burton, that's still, to this day, is one of the highlights of my life."
Scream Factory releases their Exorcist 2 Blu-ray on September 25th and it includes a 2K version of the film along with a ton of extras, including the full interview with Linda Blair. There's also commentary by John Boorman as well as an interview with editor Tom Priestly. Basically, it's the perfect holiday gift for any hardcore fans of The Exorcist and its crazy low budget sequel.
William Peter Blatty and William Friedkin, the writer/producer and the director, respectively, of The Exorcist had zero interest in returning to make a sequel. According to co-producer Richard Lederer, Exorcist II: The Heretic was set up to be a blatant, low budget cash-in. The idea was to basically make the same film as the first one and then use a bunch of unused footage from the original to flesh it out. Lederer now admits that it wasn't really the best way to go about crafting a sequel.
John Boorman was actually approached to direct The Exorcist, but turned the project down because he found the story to be "repulsive." However, when asked about coming on for Exorcist II: The Heretic, Boorman had a change of heart because all of the heavy lifting had been done with the first film. The director didn't have to set up a story since it had already been done. Boorman thought he was going to make an ambitious movie that took viewers on a "cinematic journey." The sequel ended up as a box office bomb and was torn apart by fans and critics alike upon its release in 1977. You can watch the interview clip with Linda Blair below, thanks to the Scream Factory TV YouTube channel.