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Ultra HD : Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: March 28th, 2023 Movie Release Year: 1990

The Exorcist III - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Overview -

One of the best horror films of all time got a genuinely bad sequel. But then original author William Peter Blatty returned to deliver a solid albeit compromised sequel with The Exorcist III starring George C. Scott and Brad Dourif. Now on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, the film scores a welcome visual improvement over past releases while sticking with the decent audio from the 2016 disc and an excellent assortment of bonus features. This moody atmospheric sequel is Recommended.

Experience William Peter Blatty's original vision of his novel Legion with this director's cut of The Exorcist III.

For more than fifteen years, Police Lieutenant Kinderman (George C. Scott) has been haunted by the death of his friend Father Damien Karras. Now, on the 15th anniversary of the exorcism that claimed the priest's life, Kinderman's world is once again shattered when a boy is found decapitated and savagely crucified. It's just the beginning of a nightmare series of bizarre religious murders.

When a psychopath claiming to be the infamous Gemini Killer admits responsibility for all the murders, Kinderman is confronted with a horrifying truth that he cannot begin to explain ... the man does know intimate details that only the true killer could possibly know. There's only one problem ... the Gemini Killer died in the electric chair fifteen years ago!

The Exorcist III is author/filmmaker William Peter Blatty's vision of what followed after The Exorcist. Also included in this set is Legion, a Director's Cut of the film long thought lost.

Bonus Features

DISC ONE: 4K UHD (THEATRICAL CUT)

  • NEW 2022 4K Scan Of The Original Camera Negative
  • In Dolby Vision (HDR 10 compatible)
  • Audio: NEW 2023 Restoration Of The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 And 5.1 Tracks

DISC TWO: BLU-RAY (THEATRICAL CUT)

  • NEW 2022 4K Scan Of The Original Camera Negative
  • NEW 2023 Restoration Of The Stereo And 5.1 Track
  • Audio: NEW 2023 Restoration Of The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 And 5.1 Tracks
  • Deleted Scene/Alternate Takes/Bloopers
  • Deleted Prologue
  • Vintage Interviews (Featuring Behind-The-Scenes Footage) With Writer/Director William Peter Blatty, George C. Scott, Jason Miller, Ed Flanders, And More…
  • Vintage Featurette
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • TV Spots
  • Radio Spots
  • Photo Galleries

DISC THREE: BLU-RAY (DIRECTOR’S CUT)

  • William Peter Blatty’s Director’s Cut – LEGION, Assembled From The Interpositive And Select Scenes From The VHS Dallies, Approved By William Peter Blatty
  • Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
  • Audio Interview With Writer/Director William Peter Blatty
  • Death, Be Not Proud: The Making Of THE EXORCIST III – Feature-Length, Five-Chapter Documentary On The Making Of The Film Featuring Interviews With Actor Brad Dourif, Production Designer Lesley Dilley, Composer Barry De Vorzon, Producer Carter Dehaven, And More…

OVERALL:
Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray
Video Resolution/Codec:
Dolby Vision HDR / HDR10
Length:
110
Aspect Ratio(s):
1.85:1
Audio Formats:
English: DTS-HD MA 5.1/2.0
Subtitles/Captions:
English SDH
Release Date:
March 28th, 2023

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

There is a lot to unpack with The Exorcist III or William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist III or William Peter Blatty’s Legion: The Exorcist III - however you want to call it. As a fan of the film, I’m fully aware of how bizarrely constructed and executed it is, but I love it anyway. Top to bottom it’s probably material that was better suited for the original novel than this final film. While there are some genuinely terrifying, and haunting moments with one incredible jump scare for good measure. It’s a disjointed piece, and not just because of the studio-mandated reshoots - which in some respect compared to the reassembled so-called “Director’s Cut” you can see why they were necessary. Warts and all it's a far better and more successful sequel than Exorcist II: The Heretic and it's still far more chilling than either version of the Prequel.

To that end rather than read me blather away about virtually identical points of interest, I encourage you to run over and give my colleague Joshua Zyber’s review a look for a very thorough and thoughtful take on both cuts of the film:

The Exorcist III: Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Review

Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist III possesses 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray for the first time with a brand new three-disc Collector’s Edition from Scream Factory. The 4K version is pressed on a BD-100 disc with a Region A BD-50 reserved for the restored 1080p edition, and a second Region A BD-50 disc for the reconstructed “Directors Cut” version of the film. This third disc is identical to the 2016 Collector’s Edition disc. All three discs are housed in a three-disc black case with individual trays and are not stacked with an identical slipcover recreating the classic theatrical poster artwork. Each disc loads to an animated main menu with traditional navigation options.

Video Review

Ranking:

The Exorcist III has had a rather storied past on home video between a middling to meh DVD and Blu-ray from Warner Brothers to the dramatically cooler and even pick-ish 2016 Scream Factory Collector’s edition. Now on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray sourced from a new 4K scan with Dolby Vision HDR, The Exorcist III is given a welcome upgrade in terms of overall image quality while striking a middle ground tone between bast releases that either looked too warm and yellow or too blue. Right out of the gate, fine details are in excellent form without any signs of smoothing nor did I spot any edge enhancement. Film grain is fine without looking noisy or intrusive (outside of the occasional optical effect or transition). I felt like I saw a lot more interesting details in the set design throughout the film, especially in Patient X’s holding cell. This new transfer also fixes the occasional telecine wobble that would crop up in the 2016 disc. 

For the color timing, this new 4K disc and remastered Blu-ray work to strike a bit of a middle ground between the first Warner Bros. Blu-ray and the 2016 disc. The 2014 Blu-ray was overly bright for an already bright film and then had an odd yellow tinge to it that could dampen shadows and blacks while also leaving some scenes looking almost pee-stained. In contrast, the 2016 disc pushed blues a bit harder and pulled back the yellow to give those black levels more care and attention, but I felt it left reds looking too pink and skin tones looking like everyone just hit the pub a little hard before shooting. This new transfer offers a little more yellow than the 2016 disc giving more healthy natural skin tones while maintaining that stronger blue presence its due to give black levels and shadows a stronger appearance than the 2014 disc for an image with a great deal of depth and dimension. 

The Dolby Vision HDR grade is subtle but works nicely accentuating the primaries, black levels, and brilliant whites. A lot of the film is very flat looking, and there isn’t a lot of stylish cinematography to really let your eyes absorb, but now those reshoot scenes of George C. Scott facing off against Brad Dourif’s Patent X look fantastic. With the deep blacks, ominous shadows, and the two beams of light streaming in from the windows, there’s a lot of great stuff to absorb. I don’t think the added resolution is going to help anyone appreciate the film more than they ever did, it’s still a clunky work visually and in the story, but now it at least looks the best it can.

Audio Review

Ranking:

This release of The Exorcist III arrives with what sounds like the same DTS-HD MA 5.1 and DTS-HD MA 2.0 tracks from the 2016 disc. Which I think were pretty decent. I’ve had the film since the Laserdisc days and it’s never exactly been a sonic wonder. As Joshua mentioned in his review it’s a bit thin - but I do actually like the 5.1 track as it gives the mix more LFE to work with and punches those ominous dissonant tones in the score. Flipping on my receiver’s DTS Neural:X function and I felt like these qualities were nicely enhanced to give the mix a little more punch and presence. It’s still largely a front/center mix but there are some welcome flourishes in the surrounds to accentuate the film.

Special Features

Ranking:

As for the bonus features, there isn’t anything new in the rites of exorcism, but the set is still packed with excellent extras to dig into. The biggest curiosity for fans will be the “Director’s Cut” and I put that into quotes purposefully because this is the same reconstructed version using the found VHS dailies and not original film elements. This is merely a taste of what Blatty was working with before the reshoots came down and I wouldn’t say the definitive way to experience this sequel. To that end, I’m listing the “Director’s Cut” as a bonus feature. After that, the next best bonus is the audio interview with Blatty (that plays along with the Director’s Cut but is not strictly a commentary) - it’s a great and informative listen. The recent interviews assembled for that 2016 disc are also excellent and worth picking though if you haven't given the chance.

Blu-ray Disc One:

  • Vintage Featurette (SD 7:13)
  • Deleted Scenes. Outtakes, Bloopers (SD 5:44)
  • Deleted Prologue (SD 2:44)
  • Vintage Interviews (SD 38:35)
  • Radio Spots
  • Trailers
  • TV Spots
  • Photo Galleries

Blu-ray Disc Two:

  • The Exorcist III: Director’s Cut (HD w/ SD Inserts 1:44:58)
  • Audio Only Interview with William Peter Blatty Played with the Film (1:44:58)
  • A Wonderfull Time (HD 24:30)
  • Signs of the Gemini (HD 17:42)
  • The Devil in the Details (HD 18:03)
  • Music for a Padded Cell (HD 15:16)
  • All This Bleeding (HD 28:49)

The Exorcist III, I feel, is always going to remain a controversial sequel over what it could have been versus what it ultimately became. There’s the studio take and there’s Blatty’s original vision and then there’s what the audience needs and expects from an Exorcist film and these three competing forces never quite saw eye to eye. Overall I think it’s a solid entertaining expansion of the first film, certainly miles better than the second film, but even with the footage of Blatty’s original version available, it’s far from a masterpiece. It’s ominous, it’s creepy, and there are a few great scares to enjoy. 

Scream Factory gives William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist III a second spin on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with a new 3-Disc Collector’s Edition. With a new scan and Dolby Vision HDR, the film looks the best it has on home video. Audio is the same decent tracks from before, but aren’t exactly going to blow your hair back. The same excellent bonus features return, including the cobbled-together "Director’s Cut" that gives you a rough idea of what the film could have possibly been, but sadly those original camera elements are still lost. Recommended