There really hasn’t been a horror movie that has taken over people’s minds quite like The Exorcist. That doesn’t mean that plenty of movies haven’t tried! The power of the internet compels you to read through this list, share it and comment on your favorites!
1. Cathy’s Curse: Bill from Groovy Doom and Drive-In Asylum remarked to me the other day just how much he wished this movie was based on a true story. Let’s just start telling people it is, that never stopped Earl Warren! Any movie in which a young Canadian girl is possessed and starts swearing before she torments old people with her rudeness must be witnessed!
2. Amityville II: The Possession: If you talk to me any longer than ten minutes, chances are I will bring up how much I love this piece of schlock. When I was a kid, the Catholic Church gave this movie an O rating for morally offensive. It achieves that mark in a little under ten minutes and then uses the rest of its running time to batter you senseless.
3. Enter the Devil: Also known as The Eerie Midnight Horror Show, this spaghetti Satanic possession film is, of course, based on a true story. It also features a statue of one of the men crucified next to Jesus getting off its cross and making love to the film’s heroine before she becomes the tool of Satan, played here by the steely eyes of Ivan Rassimov. Pure scumtastic joy herein. Beware.
4. Evilspeak: You don’t get on the Church of Satan’s list of approved films by half-assing it. Clint Howard stands up and says, “Boys can be possessed too” after a lifetime of getting treated like a dog (and having his dog murdered). The last ten minutes of this film are every Catholic school gone metal kid’s twisted dreams come true.
5. The Car: With this movie, we learn that cars can be possessed too. But not just any car. No, this is the car that Anton LaVey used to drive around in. You will believe that a car wants to murder a marching band!
6. Magdalena, Possessed by the Devil: The German exploitation community stood up and said, “Why do the Italians have the trademark on Pazuzu ripoffs that are in horrible taste?” It’s as if someone was having a contest to see how much blasphemy they could fit into one movie as young actress Dagmar Hedrich goes absolutely verrückt im Kopf, spends most of the movie nude and screams “I despise the dead!” at her own grandfather’s funeral.
7. Abby: Warner Brothers seized all prints of this film and I’ll never forgive them. Imagine if a good churchgoing girl was possessed by Eshu, the West African trickster god. Dream no more — this is a reality! Carol Speed is Linda Blair here, if Linda wasn’t confined to a bed and out and about picking up and killing men all over Louisville, Kentucky’s finest after hour clubs. I have this on a double disk with Magdalena, Possessed by the Devil and when life gets me down sometimes, I just stare at the cover art and hug the box and everything ends up being OK.
8. The Witch: If your kids tell you that the goat in the backyard is Satan, you should listen to them. This is probably the only movie on this list where the heroine makes the right move by giving in to the dark, as her life is pretty horrible otherwise. After all, who wouldn’t love the taste of butter in one’s mouth?
9. Beyond the Door: This film rips off The Exorcist with such shameless zeal that the most evil of all beings, copyright lawyers, were called in to take the profits for Warner Brothers. And if you loved TV’s Nanny and the Professor, well, Nanny is having some real problems in this movie!
10. Alucarda: And this is what the devil does. If you think Italians have the copyright on sacrilege (actually Italians hate copyrights, if we’ve gleaned anything from their movies), allow the Mexican contingent to speak on this. This isn’t just a strange film about Satanic nuns; this is a fever dream from another dimension that will engulf your mind.
Honorable mention goes to the Italian sleazefest/b-roll travelogue The Return of the Exorcist, the giant penis having demon and shock ending fun of The Incubus, Jamie Lee Curtis’ sister Kelly avoiding giving birth to the Antichrist in The Sect, Joan Collins’ baby being possessed by the little person she spurned in I Don’t Want to Be Born, mirror possessing goth oddball Rainbow Harvest in Mirror Mirror, Fulci’s borderline incoherent melding of Egyptian lore and American possession films Manhattan Baby and the hand of a demon possessing people in Demonoid. Then there’s Spain’s Paul Naschy with Exorcism, aka Exorcismo, from 1975, that he claims isn’t a ripoff because he wrote it before the release of The Exorcist.
What’s your favorite? Did we miss it? Did you notice that we didn’t really feature any modern possession films? Dare we say…the devil made us do it!