Who doesn’t love a good demonic possession? From the iconic pea-soup spewing Linda Blair in ‘The Exorcist‘ to the more metaphysical nightmare of ‘Twin Peaks’ ancient evils controlling you in secret, the genre of Horror is chalk full with tales of demons, ghosts and even evil computers possessing our bodies and wreaking havoc outside our control. With so many examples to choose from, and so many classics in the history of movies, we’ve still managed to narrow it down to 8 great examples and have hand-picked our best possessions in Horror for you to enjoy. Dive into the list below and let us know what YOUR favourite is on our Instagram!
BEST POSSESSIONS IN HORROR #1
DON’T DELIVER US FROM EVIL
Loosely based on the brutal murder case of Parker-Hulme, this French film centres around two girls devoted to serving Satan, attending a Catholic School. Things quickly escalate from schoolyard bullying into Satanic Black Masses, murder and arson, with a wild twist ending that is so memorable and visually stunning that it’ll stay with you forever.
Although Don’t Deliver Us from Evil isn’t a typical exorcist or possession film, these two young women were compelled to commit heinous crimes to appease Satan… a perfect fit for our best possessions in Horror. Watch a clip of ‘Don’t Deliver Us From Evil’ below!
BEST POSSESSIONS IN HORROR #2
Powerful acting, Lovecraftian elements and complex themes make ‘Possession’ a gripping and unforgiving 80s horror staple. Part drama, part horror, part love story – Possession has a tentacle-like grip on its viewers and doesn’t let go until the wildly confusing ending. Just for the iconic Adjani performance alone (which won her a Cannes best actress award) it’s worth a watch.
Possession doesn’t fall short of horror and literal possession elements while still portraying one of the most visceral portrayals of grief, pain and love. Stark, exhilarating and challenging from start to end, don’t skip this one.
BEST POSSESSIONS IN HORROR #3
When a mysterious stranger arrives in a rural South Korean village, suspicion arises. As villagers begin killing each other for no reason, the suspicions turn to panic. Is it a demon? Is it the devil himself causing the madness? Only one way to find out.
This fantastic Korean film combines a surreal David Lynch feeling to it’s sleepy village setting, while diving deep into many layers of storytelling. Meshing ancient east Asian mythology and rituals with modern horror tropes makes for an unpredictable and fresh take on Demonology and the possession genre.
BEST POSSESSIONS IN HORROR #5
THE EVIL DEAD
Shot on 16mm in the woods of Tennessee for $350,000 – This now cult classic was the feature debut from Horror and B-Movie icon Sam Raimi. ‘Evil Dead’ combines the proper amounts of incredible practical effects and dark humour, making for an undeniably fun and hilarious watch. We also appreciate the “fuck it, everyone gets possessed” aspect of this movie, which adds to the relentless pace, disturbing atmosphere and very imaginative kills throughout. Over 35 years later this striking indie movie still has a place in every horror lover’s heart – plus who doesn’t love a Kandarian Demon? Evil Dead will always remain one of best possessions in Horror!
Watch the trailer below.
BEST POSSESSIONS IN HORROR #6
Part cop drama, part spooky biblical possession movie and also Jeffrey Dahmer’s favourite film – The Exorcist III holds a place in our best possessions in Horror for strange but valid reasons. Originally a stand-alone film, studio meddling led to it’s re-working as the final entry into the original Exorcist trilogy complete with an extended, and totally bonkers, finally exorcism scene.
With a neat ‘body jumping’ mechanic and some wild, scenery chewing performances from George C. Scott and Brad Dourif, this overblown mess is not without a charm that makes it compellingly watchable. From the weirdly obvious sets with cavernous ceilings, the cameos from Fabio and Patrick Ewing as angels and some…interesting…dialogue choices, (especially from Scott as he talks to a recently murdered boy in a memorably bizarre exchange) , Exorcist III has gained a deserved cult following in recent years (and yes, we’ve covered it before as a Screamish favourite). With an awesome Blu-Ray re-issue from Arrow Video adding a lot of insight to it’s weird and winding trip from the original novel ‘Legion’ to the beautiful disaster we now know and love, Exorcist III definitely earns it’s place in our top movie Possessions.
BEST POSSESSIONS IN HORROR #7
This hyper realistic found footage film plunges its viewers right into a nightmarish quarantined apartment complex suffering from a mysterious outbreak (also landing it a place on our best “viral” videos list)
Reporter Angela and her trusty cameraman Pablo follow a local fire crew to the complex for a nightly segment and are quickly trying to evade horrifying infected tenants. The fast-paced race to escape the infected building leaves no room for subtlety or subtext while still making a statement on economic inequality and making up for any ‘shallowness’ attached to the genre, with start to finish thrills and consistent intensity right until the iconic last frames. Add a conclusion that flips the zombie and exorcism tropes on their head, REC’s genre defying originality has made it a modern Horror classic and a worth addition to our best possessions in horror.
PS: NEVER WATCH THE AMERICAN REMAKE
BEST POSSESSIONS IN HORROR #8
2012’s oft-forgotten ‘The Possession’ always has a place on our shelf as a solid, no-nonsense genre entry with a slight twist: gone are the tropes of Catholicism and dusty latin manuscripts, replaced instead with a tale from ancient Jewish lore. During a yard sale, Em, a young girl, comes across a dybbuk box (where evil spirits are kept in a sort of ectoplasmic jail) and asks her father to buy it for her. She becomes increasingly obsessed with the box and begins exhibiting signs of being possessed as it whispers commands to Em in her sleep. Obviously things go upside down or the family as Em’s father races to save her and overcome his own skepticism… you know the story.
Directed by Danish filmmaker Ole Bornedal (of the 1994 cult classic Nightwatch) and produced by Sam Raimi, ‘The Possession’ moves quickly, offers a satisfying amount of scares and has some fun moments with spooky Rabbis and kooky Kaballah mystics running across Vancouver-as-New-York with a keen enough visual eye for dark corners and foggy windows to keep things creepy throughout. While obviously not a classic in the league of ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ or ‘The Exorcist’, ‘The Possession’ succeeds as more than the sum of its parts, achieving the most important thing in any movie: to simply be entertaining.