Later that same rant…
…and the film is a mess, though William Peter Blatty deserves little of the blame. As a writer turned director, Blatty is a surprisingly effective filmmaker, though his reach exceeds his grasp in a few places, especially in the dream sequence, which would’ve been unintentionally hilarious even without Fabio’s cameo as a hunky, slightly confused looking angel.
If I were to make a guess, most of the last hour is comprised of the new footage re-written and re-shot by other filmmakers, despite Blatty’s protests, full of the cheap theatrics that Blatty avoided for the first half of the film. Very little of this last hour is in anyway scary, nor does it make much sense.
But, man, that first hour. Blatty leaves the violence off screen, knowing what we don’t see is far scarier than what we do see, and the tension builds slowly and steadily. The film contains two of the creepiest scenes committed to film: Kinderman’s viewing of Father Dyer’s murdered body and the hospital hallway scene. It’s a shame that the original footage was lost before Morgan Creek knew they could double-dip with DVD releases, because Blatty’s cut might have been one of the most terrifying movies ever made, rivaling even the original Exorcist.