How a Real-Life Serial Killer Hurt the Exorcist’s Legacy

Jeffrey Dahmer’s trial exposed the serial killer’s connection to The Exorcist’s Gemini Killer, a fact that doomed the franchise indefinitely.

William Peter Blatty’s plan to put an even more ominous twist on The Exorcist the series was to write and direct The Exorcist III, but real-life killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s tangible obsession with the film has damaged his reputation, as well as the future of the franchise. The notorious serial killer’s 1992 trial revealed that he incorporated aspects of the film into his sadistic killings, such as impersonating the fictional Gemini Killer. The Exorcist III influence on Jeffrey Dahmer could have tarnished That of the Exorcist legacy forever.


The Exorcist III was the third part of The Exorcist series and performed poorly at the box office compared to its predecessors, a fact that William Peter Blatty attributed to a title change influenced by the production company. Reviews were mixed, but the consensus was that the film fell short of the original, despite inducing a sense of dread and heavier artistry. Linda Blair’s character Regan has finally been dropped from the Exorcist saga to follow disgruntled Lieutenant William Kinderman instead. Kinderman discovered The Gemini Killer, a serial killer executed for his crimes, only to be demonically resurrected in father Damien Karras who was locked up in a mental ward.

Related: The Exorcist Season 3: What The Canceled Show Would Have Been

In February 1992, serial killer and sex offender, Jeffrey Dahmer was found guilty of murdering 15 men between 1978 and 1991. As horrific details of how he treated his victims surfaced, he was quickly recognized as one of the most sadistic serial killers America has ever known. . Jeffrey Dahmer’s trial unearthed many disturbing truths, though one aspect of his murders stood out as a focal point. His latest victim attempt Tracy Edwards testified that Dahmer would force his victims to watch the horror film The Exorcist III and describes his experience in detail. William Peter Blatty frequently explained how his original ideas for The Exorcist III were twisted and marketed by studios, but the sequel’s real pitfalls were overshadowed by Jeffrey Dahmer’s sadistic connection to the film. The reason Blatty’s sequel has become one of the most underrated horror films has to do with how Dahmer’s trial has become hyped in the media. Part of the public believed The Exorcist III should not be celebrated because of its connotations. The notoriety of this serial killer would forever shade the franchise and prevent moviegoers from looking beyond That of the Exorcist third installment. It also fueled rumors that the production of the first Exorcist the movie was cursed.

Why Jeffrey Dahmer identified with Exorcist 3’s Gemini Killer

According to Edwards’ testimony, Dahmer had a strong connection to The Gemini Killer. He bought and wore yellow contacts, sang throughout the film, and enjoyed the Patient X scenes the most. The Gemini’s MO lined up similarly to Jeffrey Dahmer’s. Dahmer was known to keep parts of his victims, for food or twisted pleasure. The most common parts he would keep were the genitals, hands, and skulls. In The Exorcist III, The Gemini Killer made reference to the preservation of the heads and the preservation of the parts of his victims. Dahmer’s fascination with how the human body works probably morphed into his obsession with fiction Exorcist character since The Gemini Killer has talked a lot about how to drain blood from a body before decapitation. Disturbing characters were nothing new to cinema and Jeffrey Dahmer could have identified with various other films outside of The Exorcist after. Unfortunately, William Peter Blatty’s cult classic was chosen as a favorite by Dahmer, which then led to the Exorcist the tainted legacy of the franchise.

The Exorcist III unfortunately never achieved the appropriate infamy it deserved due to the devastating impact of the Jeffrey Dahmer trial. The Exorcist the saga is relaunching in 2023 with a sequel to the 1973 masterpiece starring Ellen Burstyn, so thankfully Dahmer’s influence hasn’t hurt the future of the franchise – even if it has affected its legacy. The real serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer nevertheless hurt how The Exorcist the franchise is remembered today for its sadistic obsession with The Exorcist III.

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