Horror sequel Exorcist II: The Heretic was a critical and commercial disaster when it was released in 1977. Over time, the film has gained something of a cult following and was recently re-released as a 2-disc collector’s edition Blu-ray by Scream Factory. One person who maintains that the movie is among the worst films ever made, however, is William Friedkin, the director of 1973’s original, franchise-starting The Exorcist.
“I tell you, I did see a great deal of Exorcist II, under the following circumstances,” Friedkin told hosts Josh Olson and Joe Dante on a just-released episode of The Movies That Made Me podcast. “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?’ And I don’t know why, but I went into the room and I sat through maybe 40 minutes of it. It’s the worst piece of sh— I’ve ever seen. It’s a f—ing disgrace….And God, what a cast it had — Richard Burton, and Max von Sydow, and Louise Fletcher, plus Linda Blair. James Earl Jones. That’s the worst 40 minutes of film I have ever seen, really, and that’s saying a lot.”
Exorcist II: The Heretic was directed by John Boorman, the multiple-Oscar nominee responsible for Point Blank, Deliverance, Excalibur, and Hope and Glory. Friedkin’s other directing credits include The French Connection, for which he won the Best Director Oscar, and To Live and Die in L.A.
Representatives for Boorman did not immediately reply to EW’s request for comment.
Watch the trailer for Exorcist II: The Heretic, above.