In today’s busy world, it’s easy to forget that the threat of demonic possession is real, constant, and terrifying. Thankfully, the new film The Possession is here to remind us to stay on our toes. The trouble starts when a recently-divorced dad takes his daughter to a yard sale. They purchase a Dybbuk Box, which is a wine cabinet that houses an evil spirit from Jewish folklore. What a bad dad! A) Kids shouldn’t have wine. B) Kids shouldn’t be possessed by evil spirits. C) Buying items from yard sales can give you bed bugs.
Still, the film provides society a valuable service by educating us about the dangers of demonic possession. Ever wonder if you or a loved one might be possessed? Check out the films below and you might find your answer.
We all feel the need to get away every once and a while but it’s important to do your research first. The Rolf Family was so eager to get out of the city in Burnt Offerings, that they agreed to live alongside a creepy old lady in their vacation rental. First of all, I’m not paying good money for any property that entails I feed a creepy old attic lady. Secondly, if I rent a house that ends up trying to possess my wife, I want my deposit back.
Maybe there were movies about demonic possession before “The Exorcist,” maybe there weren’t. Just like there may have been chocolate bars before Hershey, or rock bands before The Beatles. What difference does it make? “The Exorcist,” with its absolutely and unbendingly realistic tone, is widely considered one of the scariest movies ever made. And it remains the first thing most people think about when they hear the words “demonic possession.” Unless of course they’re unlucky enough to actually know someone who’s been possessed by a demon.
Almost as legendary is Sam Raimi’s “The Evil Dead.” A word of warning: If you only know Sam Raimi by his later, more humorous horror movies (like “Evil Dead II” or “Drag Me to Hell“), you may be surprised by how scary “The Evil Dead” really is. In it, Loveable Ash and a group of friends travel to an isolated cabin in the woods, where they make the completely-rational decision to read the Necronomicon out loud, which causes all sorts of demons to descend upon them and wreak havoc. It’s pretty unpleasant.
The killer in Mario Bava’s “Twitch of the Death Nerve” (also known as “Bay of Blood”) isn’t explicitly a demon – but if you’ve got a better word for a kind of amorphous evil force that takes control of people and forces them to kill their loved ones and acquaintances, please feel free to substitute it at your convenience. Often considered one of the first slasher movies, it’s also an unexpectedly subtle look at demon possession.
Sure, both Paranormal Activity and Paranormal Activity 2 freaked us out with creepy possessions, but it’s the third film in the series that really brought the scares. And not just on account of the 1980’s fashions. Without spoiling anything, I’ll just say it combined two genres of creepy films to make a creepier film — possession movies and scary children movies. I’ve refused to be in the same room with my young nieces ever since.
A more explicit look at Satan’s work on Earth from Mario Bava can be found in “Lisa and the Devil,” which as you can see from the title is explicitly about the Devil. And who better to bring Old Scratch himself to life than Telly Savalas? There’s something weird about that guy. Interestingly, the movie was given a makeover by the studio and released as an “Exorcist” knock-off entitled “House of Exorcism.” As knock-offs go, it’s pretty good, although not as good as:
After the alternating boredom and bafflement that accompanies watching “Exorcist II,” you could be forgiven for thinking “Exorcist III” is a creatively uninspired attempt to cash in on the original’s reputation. You’d be wrong, though – directed by William Peter Blatty, author of the original novel, it has a creepy and disturbing style all its own. But know this: You will not look as cool as Brad Dourif does if you get possessed by a demon. No one would.