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EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC (1977) – Episode 151 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“You realize what you’re up against, don’t you? Evil.” What? A horror movie with evil? Go figure. Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Chad Hunt, Bill Mulligan, and Jeff Mohr – as they somewhat hesitantly approach Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977).

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 151 – Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)

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A teenage girl once possessed by a demon finds that it still lurks within her. Meanwhile, a priest investigates the death of the girl’s exorcist.


Exorcist II: The Heretic is Chad’s pick and he’s really not sure what to think of it. He sees it as a confusing but intimate story about a man seeking redemption and trying to find his faith again. Even though it tries to be this epic story with a great cast, he is dumbfounded by where they took it. Bill went in with a negative attitude but does find some nuggets of gold. Good vs. evil where evil seeks out exceptional good is a nice idea, but it subverts the theme of The Exorcist (1973), according to Bill. He just plain dislikes this film. After hearing overwhelmingly negative reviews, Jeff managed to avoid it all these years. He tried to go in with an open mind but the filmmakers lost him early on with the weird synchronizing machine concept and never got him back. Exorcist II: The Heretic was very confusing and left a bad taste in Doc’s mouth. It seems to him that this film is the opposite of what The Exorcist is and what audiences wanted in a sequel. This time around, however, it’s not as bad as he remembers.  

Despite the 1970s Grue-Crew’s generally negative take, Exorcist II: The Heretic definitely has its legion of fans. If you’re one of them. Let them know what they got wrong. In the meantime, Exorcist II: The Heretic is currently available to stream from HBOmax and various PPV services as well as on a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray disc from Scream Factory!

Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror 1970s is part of the Decades of Horror two-week rotation with The Classic Era and the 1980s. In two weeks, the next episode in their very flexible schedule will be Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972), chosen by Doc. Welcome back Hammer Films, Peter Cushing, and Christopher Lee!

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Jeff Mohr
Jeff lives smack dab in the middle of the cornfields of Iowa and is a long-time horror fan. His first remembered encounters with the genre were The Wizard of Oz, Tarzan gorilla chases, and watching the first broadcast of The Twilight Zone episode, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." While he now qualifies as an old fart, he strives to be an Old Boy. Paraphrasing Robert Bloch, he has the heart of a small boy. He keeps it in a jar on his desk. Jeff has written for and SQ Horror Magazine. He currently writes for Gruesome Magazine and is a co-host of the Decades of Horror podcasts - The Classic Era, 1970s, and 1980s - and the Gruesome Magazine Podcast.