And You Call Yourself a Scientist!
"Shes displaying all the main traits. An ungodly
voice, maniacal facial expressions, violent spasms--"
Director: Bob Logan
Synopsis: A priest exorcises a possessed child. Seventeen years later, Father Jedediah Mayii (Leslie Nielsen) tells a university class about that exorcism, and what happened when the child, by then grown up and married with children, became repossessed. Housewife Nancy Aglet (Linda Blair) is possessed by the devil while watching the TV show of evangelists Ernest and Fanny Rae Weller (Ned Beatty and Linda Schwab). Nancy growls, rotates her head and pukes all over her husband. When she returns to normal, she seeks out Father Luke Brophy (Anthony Starke), who is undergoing a crisis of faith. He comes to her house, and photographs and records the manifestations of her possession. Father Luke then tracks down Father Mayii to ask for his help, but Father Mayii refuses, claiming that he is too ill. Luke takes Nancys case to the Supreme Council For Exorcism Granting, who agree to let the exorcism go ahead, provided it happens on the Wellers TV show and is televised internationally. The resultant broadcast is a disaster. Father Mayii must brace himself to go into battle one more time.
Comments: I just knew that if enough critics opened their review of Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) by saying "Linda Blair must have forgotten to pay her exorcists bill, cause shes been repossessed", then something like this would happen. Really, this is a terrible film, but I kind of like it anyway. Its stupid. Its puerile. It sags horribly in the middle (youd be safe in going out to make yourself a cuppa during the gym sequence). It has a few too many PMS and puke jokes (you were expecting maybe subtlety?). But Leslie Nielsen can always make me laugh, even if his "Irish" accent ends up being pretty multicultural, and Ned Beatty and Linda Schwab give us a pretty good impression of Jim and Tammy Bakker (Schwab in particular is spot-on). Besides, Linda Blair (here called Nancy instead of Regan) is so obviously enjoying herself that you kind of have to sympathise. These films always have some poor schmuck who has to play straight man, and here Anthony Starke draws the short straw as Father Luke, who preaches at the Our Lady Of The Evening church, and whose sermons resemble those of the boring prophet in The Life Of Brian (1979). The film does have its incidental pleasures, including the schedule board of the TV network, which broadcasts "The New Gentle Ben" and "The New Green Acres", among others. Some of the one-liners work, theres a nasty Ted Kennedy joke, the use of Evian instead of holy water (the church was closed, but not the 7-11), and the whole thing finishes up with a string of Leslie Nielsen visual jokes. My favourite is Nielsen as Rambo, but the show-stopper [sic] is a musical exorcism number in which he appears as Billy Idol, Robert Palmer, Elton John and Michael Jackson. That it is ultimately Michael Jackson who succeeds in casting out the devil is something you might like to ponder. Then again, maybe not.