Veteran director Paul Schrader is furious his axed prequel to 1973 horror classic The Exorcist will be released on DVD at the same time as its replacement - because he wants it to receive a theatrical release.

AMERICAN GIGOLO film-maker Schrader - who also scripted Taxi Driver and RAGING BULL - had completed shooting his version of EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING when studio MORGAN CREEK insisted it needed more gore.

Schrader, who saw the story as a "character-driven period drama", was sacked and replaced by A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: THE DREAM MASTER director Renny Harlin to give it a more bloody look.

Harlin then started shooting the $54 million (GBP30 million) prequel from scratch.

But an upset Schrader says, "I'm very proud of my film, and I think it deserves to be seen."

Exorcist: The Beginning is due to be released in cinemas later this year (04) with the DVD release date as yet announced.

15/04/2004 17:12