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Tuesday April 23rd 2024

Exorcist II: The Heretic| 1977

Exorcist II: The Heretic filming location: Akeley Hall, American Museum Of Natural History, New York
Exorcist II: The Heretic location: Father Lamont meets up with Regan: Akeley Hall, American Museum Of Natural History, New York | Photograph: wikimedia / NComparato

Despite following on from The Exorcist, John Boorman’s film is not remotely similar in style or content. It’s not a horror film and the script has its share of spectacularly daft moments, but it’s not the total stinker of legend and does have a few bravura sequences.

The production was based at the Warner Bros studio in Burbank, where the ‘Georgetown’ house, along with the famous flight of steps – were recreated on a soundstage.

Exorcist II: The Heretic filming location: Union Station, Washington DC
Exorcist II: The Heretic location: Father Lamont and Regan catch the bus to Georgetown: Union Station, Washington DC | Photograph: wikimedia / Smash the Iron Cage

There’s very little of Washington DC at all, though you might glimpse the city’s, now beautifully restored, Union Station, in front of which Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) and Father Lamont (Richard Burton) catch a bus to race back to the house at the film’s climax.

Union Station is the site of the carousel where Hannibal touches Clarice's hair in Ridley Scott's Hannibal, and used for the chase in The Recruit, with with Al Pacino and Colin Farrell.

Alongside the ‘Georgetown’ locations, the ‘African’ mud city of ‘Jepti’ (its design based on the villages of Mopti and Djenne in Mali) was also built in the Burbank studio.

Set in New York, the clinic in which psychologist Dr Tuskin (Louise Fletcher) investigates the post-possession nightmares of Regan – who remembers nothing of the horrific events – was the disused Goldwater Hospital on Roosevelt Island in the East River, which was also featured as the hospital in the original The Exorcist.

The entrance to Regan’s New York apartment is Eero Saarinen’s glossy, black CBS Building, 6th Avenue, 51 West 52nd Street at Sixth Avenue.

The rooftop terrace where this disturbed child is apparently allowed to wander around, 35 stories above the street without adequate railings, is a little to the east atop the Time-Warner Building, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, 15 West 51st Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. It, symbolically, looks down on St Patrick’s Cathedral.

The troubled Father Lamont, sent by the Vatican to investigate the death of Father Merrin, meets up with Regan in front of the dioramas of stuffed mammals and the herd of elephants in the Akeley Hall of the Museum Of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street on the West Side.

Yes, of course this is the museum which comes to life in Night At The Museum, although that film’s interiors were filmed in the studio.

Father Lamont travels to ‘Africa’ to seek out the demon Pazuzu, the ‘African Mission Center’ was built at Lone Rock, on the shore of the artificially created Lake Powell, near Page in Northern Arizona.

Also near Page is the village at the base of the ‘Ethiopian Rock Church’, at Crazy Canyon. Both 1965 religious epic The Greatest Story Ever Told (which coincidentally starred Max Von Sydow – Father Merrin himself – as Christ) and the original The Planet Of The Apes used the same spectacular rockscapes.