Let's talk Exorcism and Possession Movies

Discussion in 'General' started by _pi_, Jul 2, 2013.

  1. _pi_

    _pi_ Peace, bitch

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    Hey guys!

    I'm in the mood for some exorcism and possession movies these days.

    Most of the threads on this topic are pretty old, not taking into account more recent stuff like The Last Exorcism, The Devil Inside, The Possession etc.

    It definitely is a genre that loves creative titles.

    Apart from the obvious grandfather of them all (yes, The Exorcist), which exorcism movies do you like the best and why? -- and also, which to beware?
     
  2. Body Boy

    Body Boy Well-Known Member

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    After slashers, this is my favorite horror sub genre.

    Beyond the Door
    Exorcist II: The Heretic
    Magdalena, Possessed By The Devil
    Ring of Darkness
     
  3. _pi_

    _pi_ Peace, bitch

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    Okay, I'll go!

    Last night I watched Ole Borndal's The Possession (which doesn't have a devoted thread, either) and was super pleasantly surprised.

    I had dismissed it when it came out in theaters because the trailers and artwork didn't seem very interesting, the 'Jewish Exorcism' hook didn't seem very interesting either, and the word of mouth seemed lukewarm-ish (if not slightly above average).

    To my surprise, then, I thought the film was kind of terrific. Sure, it has problems. I wasn't always on board with some of Borndal's stylistic choices (although some were cool - slow-dolly in on the little girl in the bathroom, I'm looking at you). Some of the sillier aspects of the story are emphasized by the dark and deadpan camerawork, and there were times when I felt the film was too "deliberately" paced.

    What I liked the most was that the screenplay took the subject matter seriously, and elegantly wove in some good family drama to compliment the possession aspect. In a time when most films (and horror films as well) seem needlessly convoluted, The Possession felt simple and straightforward, but emotionally gripping at the same time.

    Some great performances, too. Kyra Sedgwick is particularly impressive. I also liked the score (although a number of times it felt like the composer was writing his own version of The Shining soundtrack, which is probably what they temp'd the film with ...)

    Definitely worth a watch.
     
  4. DVD-fanatic-9

    DVD-fanatic-9 And the Next Morning, When the Campers Woke Up...

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    I... can't really think of many. Unless this extends to films about Satan and cults as a given.
     
  5. Paff

    Paff Super Moderator

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    Are there really any good exorcism movies other than Friedkin's film?

    Here's why I ask. This is a bit of a long story, sorry. When I was like 8 or 9, we got a free preview weekend of HBO, culminating in their premiere of The Exorcist. This was a BIG deal, as the channel had just begun, and no one had ever seen anything like an uncut movie at home before (pre-VHS days, obviously). Theaters were also pretty strict about R-rated films, so it was highly unlikely that anyone our age had seen this movie already. I did not watch it, as I was too chickenshit for horror movies when I was that age.

    Anyway, it was the only topic of conversation on Monday morning at school. "Did you see The Exorcist last night? The girl puked up green stuff, and she said 'motherfucker' and 'let Jesus fuck you', it was so cool". Imagine this with the fervor of an 8 year old, of course, and the fact that they had never seen anything even close to this in a movie before.

    I mention all this backstory, because many of the Exorcist-inspired films I've seen since really do seem to be scripted by the same 8-year olds. Kids who are wowed by foul language and green vomit. But they saw none of the subleties of Blatty and Friedkin's film. I'm talking about things like an agnostic (or outright atheist) who finally turns to the church for help, and it seems like she has more faith than the clergymen she goes to. Or when Father Karras sees proof that Hell is real, and there's a pretty good chance his mom is there. In the rip-offs, all the depth of the movie being ripped off is skipped, just so we can have foul language and more green vomit.

    After suffering through of these cinematic wastes of time, I've pretty much given up on the exorcism genre.
     
  6. Shlockjock81

    Shlockjock81 New Member

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    Beyond the Door is a guilty favorite of mine, mainly due to the surreal presentation and awesome funky soundtrack.

    Aside from that, The Exorcist is the only decent one IMO.
     
  7. _pi_

    _pi_ Peace, bitch

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    I'm basically in the same place you are with the genre. The Exorcist came out way before my time, but so far nothing I've seen comes even close to being as good. And all of its descendants seem to rely on too many of that film's gross tactics and plot elements, but seemingly with no understanding of what made those things work so well in '74. Like you say, Paff, the subtleties of that film have been all but ignored in favor of green vomit and foul language.

    Even something as elegant as the aforementioned The Possession can't help but recall "the power of Christ compels you!" during the climactic exorcism scenes, except with none of the power.

    Which is why I'm curious to see if I'm missing out on something. Is it a doomed genre? Is it even possible to ever top (or match) Friedkin's film?
     
  8. deepred

    deepred Member

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    An Angel For Satan was a neat possession movie. Here is the synopsis from Allmovie:

    "Barbara Steele's character in the film is haunted by a decrepit statue submerged in a lake, whose features look disturbingly like her own. Upon complete restoration of the statue, Steele begins to take on the psychotic traits of the woman upon whom the sculpture was based -- a woman the townspeople believe was a much-feared sorceress of local legend."
     
  9. Mok

    Mok Family is Forever

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    Emily Rose was pretty good.
     
  10. CPT HOOK

    CPT HOOK Well-Known Member

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    Religion in horror movies usually puts me to sleep. Can't say that I care for this subgenre, in fact I generally avoid it.

    However, I do enjoy possession in movies that have nothing to do with religion, especially goofy fun ones like Night Of The Demons, Twice Dead, Pledge Night, etc.
     
  11. russweiss

    russweiss Well-Known Member

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    I can't believe Magdalena made any favorites list.
     
  12. DVD-fanatic-9

    DVD-fanatic-9 And the Next Morning, When the Campers Woke Up...

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    When I think hard about it, because I still mostly hate the movie, Lisa and the Devil took a somewhat fanciful approach to possession... I think someone was possessed, it's hard to know what the hell that movie was about. The Tim Lucas commentary confused me even more. But things do seem to take a turn for the supernatural when she gets to the house.
     
  13. Body Boy

    Body Boy Well-Known Member

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    I love Lisa and the Devil! It's not a possession/exorcism film though (unless you watched that... 'other' version).


    SPOILERS:

    My take on it is that its occupants are the guests of Satan. Telly Savalas mentions early on when Elke Sommer is walking in the forest that she asked for help, and now he's here. Or something like that. Everybody made a free choice to spend the night at the devil's manor, where they live in lust and murder. Sin. I do not think Bava was making an outright stance on religion, but using it as a way for us to understand the film's role. We ask "the devil" for help, which comes with a price. When we cannot accept the consequences that come with this, we try to escape. But we can't as leaving would mean giving up the other positives that were given to us by him. That is why nobody just leaves. They want to. They start to. But they return. It's not until the end that we see the hell that has lasted for 100 years, and will continue to repeat because of that initial choice to sell our souls to get ahead. Elke's boyfriend could be seen as a 'God' figure. Dummies are being made of him, deceitful of Satan. Elke is afraid of him, but lured as well. Her boyfriend is the true God, come to save her. She loses him though because of her allegiance to the devil.
     
  14. deepred

    deepred Member

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    I love Lisa and the Devil also. It reminds me of Carnival of Souls.
     
  15. Paff

    Paff Super Moderator

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    That's a better explanation of the film than what I have, which is basically JACK SQUAT. I do like it though. I think.
     
  16. Marshall Crist

    Marshall Crist New Member

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    My favorite by far is ALUCARDA, although it's hard to say if those girls are possessed or just fucking crazy.
     
  17. _pi_

    _pi_ Peace, bitch

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    Body Boy - that seriously made me want to rewatch Lisa and the Devil. About time, too! It's been years!
     
  18. delicreep

    delicreep Active Member

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    It's one of mine, too. There are some chilling bits here and there, between all of the naked writhing around. Magdalena is certainly less irritating, to me, than Un Urlo nelle Tenebre (aka The Possessor), which squanders (nearly) very opportunity to be entertaining.
     
  19. Body Boy

    Body Boy Well-Known Member

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    I have no idea what Magdalena would be considered so terrible that it'd be that tough to watch. I loved it and if nothing led to your fancy you'd have to give credit to the colors on set used. It was BEAUTIFUL! Over-the-top crass. How could you possibly not find entertainment in it?
     
  20. Anthropophagus

    Anthropophagus Well-Known Member

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    As I've mentioned before I am a huge fan of Amityville II: The Possession, probably due to the fact that I was about ten when I first saw it and it pulverized me with fear. It's a blatant Exorcist rip-off for the final act with some pretty creepy and disturbing themes explored throughout it's running time but I find it entertaining.
    I generally loathe faux documentaries like The Last Exorcism, but found that one quite acceptable.
     

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