Posts Tagged ‘The Exorcist’

Aside from tales of haunted houses, and ghosts, the religious horror genre is one of my favorites. These stories of people possessed by demonic forces are some of the creepiest in my opinion, because those demons can do crazy things to ordinary people! Now whether you actually believe in real world demon possession or not, these movies do have a basis in real life events. Maybe it’s not demons per se, but look at the things that mental illness can do to a person?! Still pretty scary.

Here are some of my favorite horror films in which exorcisms play a role:

The Exorcist (1973)

Source: thedistractedglobe.com

Source: thedistractedglobe.com

directed by William Friedkin

Of course I had to start with The Exorcist. No discussion of exorcisms, or even horror movies in general, would be complete without this fantastic film. I swear that the  more I watch this movie, the better and scarier it gets. A little girl possessed by a terrible demonic force just because she wanted to have a little fun with a Ouija board. I mean, that could have been me! The deterioration of her mind and body are terrifying, and her mother’s desperate measures to get her help are so moving. P.S. The book’s really good as well!

The Exorcist III (1990)

Source: denofgeek.com

Source: denofgeek.com

directed by William Peter Blatty

Now, while it’s no match for the original, I think the third film in this series still deserves a place on this list. This is an excellent film that has the police Lieutenant from the original film (now played by George C. Scott) investigating a series of murders that seem to link to a serial killer (modeled after the real life Zodiac killer) who is now dead. It seems that something (serial killer? demon?) is possessing an amnesiac, and traveling from body to body to commit his murders.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

Source: imdb.com

Source: imdb.com

directed by Scott Derrickson

Inspired by the true case of a young girl, Anneliese Michel, who died after an unsuccessful (or unnecessary) exorcism attempt, The Exorcism of Emily Rose tells the story of a priest who is on trial for negligent homicide after the death of a young woman, Emily Rose, who died while he was performing an exorcism on her. The movie flashes back so that we can see the events that ultimately led to her unfortunate death… and those events are very creepy… especially when they take advantage of Jennifer Carpenter‘s (playing Emily Rose) double jointed-ness. I really enjoyed this unusual take on the exorcism genre.

The Last Exorcism (2010)

Source: gorestruly.com

Source: gorestruly.com

directed by Daniel Stamm

This found footage movie follows a charlatan, Reverend Cotton Marcus, who performs fake exorcisms making a documentary exposing the truth about the acts he has been performing on unsuspecting people. Unfortunately for him, his next “victim” is actually possessed, and so he gets more that he bargained for when he meets Nell. I felt like the found footage genre was used very well for this particular movie, keeping the viewer on their toes, and keeping things moving along and intense as Cotton realizes that he was wrong in thinking that all possessions are hoaxes. This movie also has a surprise in store at the end.

Exorcismus (2010)

Source: moviehunger.com

Source: moviehunger.com

directed by Manuel Carballo

Again focusing on a young girl, this film has the girl in question, Emma, being the one to think she herself is possessed, rather than having someone else suspect it. In fact, her parents are convinced that something is medically wrong with her, and so decide to have numerous doctors look into Emma’s condition. After she exhibits more strange and dangerous behaviors, she becomes convinced that she caused has some kind of demonic force to take possession of her mind and body and convinces her Uncle, who is a priest, to perform an exorcism on her. All is not exactly as it seems though….

I’d love to hear about your favorite horror movies featuring exorcisms! I’m always on the lookout for a good one.

  1. Halloween (1978) From the opening scene, seen from Michael Myers point of view as a knife wielding 6 year old, to the stalking of Laurie Strode and friends 15 years later on Halloween,  Myers is the embodiment of evil.  This movie is gory, suspenseful, and has a great Halloween atmosphere.  Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie, the responsible babysitter, is perfect in the role, even though I have a hard time believing that she is a teenager.  She has always looked like an adult to me.  I bet that as a 10 year old she looked just the same.  Her friends break the rules of the horror movie, and thus die- drinking, smoking pot, and having premarital sex.  Michael Myers stalking her from the shadows is very creepy.  And of course who can forget Dr. Sam Loomis, the one who has tried to help Michael, and now realizes that he is beyond help and must be destroyed.  The music in the movie is also one of the most memorable and recognizable horror movie themes, as is Michael Myers’ Mask, whom some will recognize as an evil Captain Kirk!
  2. Scream (1996) – Now of course Scream is a horror-comedy, poking fun at the conventions of the horror flick, and parodying itself.  The movie discusses the rules of the horror film. Where it is stated if you drink, do drugs, have premarital sex, or say “I’ll be right back”, YOU WILL DIE!!!  This movie exists in the world of horror movie watching teenagers, and quite a few horror films are mentioned in this movie- Halloween, The Town that Dreaded Sundown, Friday the 13th, and Carrie, among others.  This movie became the most quoted movie in my life, and my fellow blogger Rebecca and I frequently quote it to this day.  “Liver alone, liver alone…get it? It was a joke.”
  3. The Descent (2005) – This movie made me never, ever want to enter a cave again.  It was scary even before the albino flesh-eating mutants appear.  The scene in which the women crawl through the narrow tunnel in the cave, and it begins to collapse on them, scared the living daylights out of me, and even though I have never been one to experience claustrophobia, just watching this scene gave me a feeling of what it must be like.  Of course the albino mutants are also freaky, and the thought of being in the dark with these creatures, which don’t need light to find and eat you is terrifying!
  4. The Shining (1980) – I love creepy kids in horror movies.  Danny is a really creepy kid, especially when Tony, “the little boy that lives in his mouth” is speaking. “Danny’s not here Mrs. Torrance”…..”Redrum, redrum, redrum”.  And of course the girls in the hallway that invite Danny to play with them forever, and ever, and ever, are terrifying, even before Danny sees them hacked to pieces with an axe.  Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance is the perfect actor in this role, and I was scared of him even before the hotel brings about his insanity.  Also disturbing is the feeling of isolation- the hotel is evil, the father is going crazy, and we are stuck up here with no outside contact, no transportation, in the middle of nowhere, and cannot escape.
  5. The Ring (2002) – I still have trouble watching the scene where the girl’s face is shown after she has been killed, or scared to death by Samara.  After a watching a film, you will die after 7 days, and also will be slowly driven insane by visions of a little girl.  The film that they watch is terrifying in itself; it seems like something out of a nightmare, with images of things that seem to be random, unless you take the time to investigate them.  And even if you do investigate, and solve the mystery, and find the little girl who was never properly buried, you are still cursed, because “she never sleeps”.  It is really hard for a film to scare me, and this film scared me!
  6. Shaun of the Dead (2004) – the first zombie comedy I ever saw, and still my favorite. Hilarious and disgusting, this movie still delights me every time I watch it.  Simon Pegg as Shaun and Nick Frost as Ed, make the perfect pairing.  I love the scene where they first encounter the zombie in the backyard, and think she’s just drunk until they push her over and she falls onto the pipe, stands up, and we see the huge gaping hole in her midsection, hilarious!  The debate over which records are bad enough to throw at the zombies while they try to stop them is always amusing.  Of course references to other zombie flicks are numerous- “We’re coming to get you Barbara”, and the gore is definitely not lacking.  I especially love David’s disembowelment scene- that’s what happens when you try to escape through a horde of hungry zombies!
  7. The Exorcist (1973)This movie just gets better, and better the more I see it.  It’s a scary thought that an innocent child could become possessed by a devil.  And how did this come about, was in through something as innocent as a Ouija board?  There are many scenes in this film that are cringe inducing- there is of course the puking of the pea soup, the peeing on the living room floor in front of party guests, the 360 degree head turn, the growing disfigurement of Regan, and the filth that comes out of her mouth due to the possession- “Your mother sucks cocks in hell”.  It’s terrifying that the priest finally had to draw the demon into himself and throw himself out of a window to rid Regan of this demon.
  8. House of Wax (2005) – Yeah, the one with Paris Hilton, I know, I know.  But this is one of those horror movies that is so entertaining, and has some great death scenes, not the least of which is Paris Hilton’s, being speared in the face with a rusty pole and slowly sliding down onto it.  Just awesome!  Imagine ending up in some creepy town that is full of wax people, and under the wax are real people.  It just makes me cringe to think of Jared Padalecki being paralyzed, having his hair waxed off (OUCH!!), then being sprayed with hot wax (double OUCH!!), and being displayed in the wax house.  And he is STILL ALIVE.  Then your friend finds you, and when trying to help you, peels off your skin!!!  I also love that our heroine gets such nasty wounds- its not every day that you get your lips sealed shut with super glue and part of your finger cut of with pliers!
  9. Jaws (1975) – A huge shark terrorizes the water off northeastern vacation spot.  This movie hit close to home, as my family and I would vacation on Cape Cod for a week every summer when I was growing up.  It’s enough to be afraid of jelly fish and horseshoe crabs, but now I have to be afraid of great white sharks too?  It always scared me that a killer shark could just come up out of the water and take a bite out of your leg.  Isn’t vacation supposed to be relaxing? Not off Amity Island!
  10. Final Destination (2000) – Imagine having a premonition of your death, being able to escape it, but then seeing those you saved once, still die.  So death is coming after you, you know it, and are pretty much powerless to stop it.  The ultimate movie in thinking that everything is out to get you- even when you think you’ve escaped certain death, you are never safe.  Instead of being killed by a train plowing at you when you’re stuck on the tracks, you will be able to get out of the car, but then be decapitated by flying shrapnel!  Even if you escape once, you will need to watch your back for the rest of your life- as evidenced by Clear Rivers (Ali Larter) in the sequel, who is resigned to staying in a padded room of an asylum in order to survive.  I love this movie for its wonderfully gory and creative deaths!

Some other horror flicks that were considered for my list:

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – Don’t we all love deranged and cannibalistic families?  And who could forget Franklin?

Psycho (1960) – The famous shower scene is still shocking to this day!  Even though every one knows now that Norman Bates is the killer, the revelation that his mother is a corpse is still horrifying!

The Hills Have Eyes (1977) and (2006) – Terrifying mutants stalk family stranded in the desert!  Mutants that we created due to atomic bombing! Both versions are quite frightening!

The Others (2001) – A scary haunted house flick, with more scary kids who are allergic to light!!

The Orphanage (2007) – Another flick that takes place in a big old house, with frightening kids.  Scary and sad at the same time.

~Emily