Released four years after the first film, Exorcist II: The Heretic had all the makings of a hugely successful film, but unfortunately the John Boorman (Deliverance) directed sequel missed the mark. The film was torn apart by critics upon release, with some calling it the worst horror film ever created.
“I tell you, I did see a great deal of Exorcist II, under the following circumstances. 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,” Friedkin told the show.
He continued, “It’s the worst piece of shit I’ve ever seen. It’s a fucking 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.”
Coincidentally, Boorman was considered to direct The Exorcist, but turned it down, stating that he found the story “rather repulsive.”
Critical failure aside, the film was made on a $14 million budget and grossed $30,749,142 in the United States.