‘Last Exorcism: Part II’? Eli Roth Knows It’s An ‘Absurd’ Title

Horror director speaks about the freedom of leaving found footage behind.

How could there ever be a “Part II” to the “Last” of something, specifically exorcisms? The title may not make a lick of sense, but “The Last Exorcism: Part II” is very real, and we’re just a few days away from the contradiction hitting the big screen.

When MTV News got on the phone with producer Eli Roth while he was editing his next film, “The Green Inferno,” in Chile, all it took was a mention of the film’s title for the filmmaker to address the much-discussed confusion.

“I know. Yes, we know that title is absurd,” Roth said, but he quickly justified the contradiction with another financial successful horror franchise. “But we figured, ‘All right, there are five “Final Destinations.” We can get away with “Last Exorcism: Part II.” ‘ ”

Even if the title never made sense, Roth said he and the other people behind the series knew the story had to continue; they just didn’t know, from a story standpoint, how to do it. That is, they didn’t know how until they decided to drop the key element of the original.

“The first one, we made it for $1.5 million, and it opened at $20 million, so if it had done that in its entire run, it would have been a massive success,” Roth said. “We felt like we loved the story, and we thought, ‘How can we continue this?’ The breakthrough was when we said, ‘Let’s completely abandon the found footage, the docu-style.’ ”

When Ashley Bell’s Nell returns for “Part II,” it won’t be through the lens of a documentary crew, but a plain-old movie camera. Roth explained that changing the format will work within the context of the world because of how the events of the first film are incorporated into the sequel’s story.

“In the world of ‘Last Exorcism: Part II,’ the first film exists as a viral video,” Roth said. “Everyone who is in the movie and is in the world of ‘Last Exorcism II’ had seen the video and they know who Nell is, but they think it’s just some sort of fun, cool Internet thing that someone did. Some people believe it’s real. Other people believe it’s a hoax, but everyone’s kind of starstruck to meet her. … It really opened it up creatively to make a really great, atmospheric, creepy sequel.”

Check out everything we’ve got on “The Last Exorcism: Part II.”

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