Since the successful release of The Exorcist in 1973, the movie has spawned numerous prequels & sequels. While the first movie is widely acclaimed, the sequels have been a mixed bag, with the opinions ranging from the controversial to the downright derisive. There are undoubtedly highs and lows to be found throughout Exorcist film series, but for true fans, there is a recommended viewing sequence to adhere.
In 2005, the fifth and final movie of the franchise, titled Dominion (prequel of the original), was released. But you should start watching the franchise with this part. Despite being the latest to be released, the story in this part takes place the earliest, in 1947. Actually two of the movie’s prequels (Dominion & Exorcist: The Beginning) were released within a year’s gap. Although both the parts feature nearly identical stories but Exorcist: The Beginning (2004) story is 2 years ahead than that of Dominion (2005).
Exorcist: The Beginning (2004)
The fourth movie, Exorcist: The Beginning was released in 2004. In comparison to Dominion, it is the better of the two Exorcist prequels, and is the one you should see second. A prequel to the original movie, it focused on Father Merrin and the events leading up to the exorcism of Regan. It received mixed reviews, with some praising it as a better prequel than the original while others were not impressed with the attempts to tie it with the original.
The Exorcist (1973)
Based on the novel by William Peter Blatty and directed by William Friedkin, the original movie featured Linda Blair as Regan, a 12 year old girl who is possessed by a demon. After seeing the two prequels, which establish Regan’s horrific condition, the third film in the trilogy, ‘the iconic original’, should be seen. The movie was a commercial as well as a critical success, winning two Academy Awards and becoming the first horror movie to be nominated for Best Picture. Audiences and critics alike were fascinated and terrified by the movie, and it quickly became a classic horror movie.
The Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)
The horror series spawned numerous sequels, mainly focusing on Father Merrin (the exorcist from the first movie). The first sequel is Exorcist II: The Heretic, released in 1977. After finishing the original, viewers must move on to the first sequel, The Heretic. Directed by John Boorman it featured Richard Burton as Father Merrin, but it failed to live up to the standards of the first movie, with critics and audiences alike considering it a disappointment.
The Exorcist III (1990)
Finally, the concluding film in Exorcist series is The Exorcist III. However, it is possible to view it after the original or the first sequel. In 1990, this second sequel in the franchise was released. Written and directed by Blatty and featuring George C.Scott as a detective investigating a string of murders connected to the first movie, it was considered a much better sequel than the first one. It combined horror with mystery and also featured some extended flashbacks to the first movie.
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