Today in horror history: The EXORCIST III was the number 1 film in America!

August, 1990: Bush I was president. We were still trying to overcome the fact that the 1980s made high shoulder pads acceptable. And EXORCIST III was released into theaters..

But … reviews weren’t pretty.

And neither was the movie!

Malcolm Johnson wrote this in the HARTFORD COURANT:

Meanwhile, famed critic Roger Ebert described Kinderman and Dyer’s scene as “catastrophic”…

The plot of The Exorcist III is as much a detective story as it a horror. Dyer and Kinderman, having remained friends years after the events of The Exorcist, relate details from a series of gruesome murders in Georgetown, Washington DC. Ostensibly unrelated, Kinderman’s instinct informs him that a supernatural influence might be responsible for the killings. When Dyer meets his own grisly end, Kinderman’s determination to unravel the mystery strengthens further. In truth, the plot of The Exorcist III is not the most coherent. Responsibility for this may not fall at Blatty’s door; the film was originally titled Legion, after the novel on which it was based, and renamed at the insistence of Morgan Creek Productions. Morgan Creek also demanded the insertion of an exorcism sequence, to correspond with the film’s two predecessors.

The reviews were not kind.

But the audience was!

EXORCIST III was the number one film this week in 1990–it even beat the amazing GHOST with Sam Wheat consuming Whoopi Goldberg’s body!

This from Ed Blank in the PITTSBURGH PA PRESS:

Also notable for this week in the roaring ’90:

FLATLINERS.
PRESUMED INNOCENT
MY BLUE HEAVEN
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
PROBLEM CHILD.

So in that sense EXORCIST III wins!

We still talk about it today. And GHOST plus FLATLINERS.

As bad as some say it may have been… we miss its existence in theaters today.

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