Bring the theme of demonic possession into any film, and you’re guaranteed to induce fear and unease into your viewing audience. Filmmakers continuously push the boundaries of possession and exorcism portrayal, creating characters that haunt us for a long time after viewing.
Deliver Us From Evil, released 20 August 2014, introduces us to a whole host of real-life demonic possession cases, but here are some of the most frightening to date…
5. The Last Exorcism (2010)
One that’ll certainly make you wince, Reverend Marcus (Patrick Fabian) is asked by farmer Louis (Louis Herthum) to perform an exorcism on his daughter Nell, played by Ashley Bell. Under possession by the demon Abalam, Nell attacks family members, kills a cat and draws creepy pictures that foreshadow some of the awful events that are yet to occur. The worst part, however, is definitely when Nell/Abalam breaks three of her fingers.
4. Rec (2007)
One of the lesser-known films, but well worth a watch, Rec portrays demonic possession as a contagious disease, which is eventually traced back to Tristana, a young girl who had been brought to a Vatican agent’s penthouse for research but subsequently left to die. As you’d imagine, the penthouse is quiet and devoid of light, and Tristana is only visible with night vision. Seeing her charging at you with a hammer will hang around in your nightmares.
3. DEMONS (1985)
All hell breaks loose in a Berlin theatre, transforming its ridiculous patrons into murderous fanged monstrosities across Lamberto Bava and Dario Argento’s stylishly grotty Demons. A baffling collection of arrestingly violent set pieces that spew pus, blood and bodily fluid in all directions before pulling the rug right out from under you with a demented Mad Max homage – just don’t bother trying to make too much sense of it all.
2. The Evil Dead (1981)
From the moment this group of students arrived at an abandoned cabin in the woods with no means of leaving, it was clear that their luck was just going to get even worse. After accidentally unleashing evil demons and their only means of escape being destroyed, one by one the group become possessed. Cheryl is the first to fall, stabbing Linda with a pencil, who in turn tries to stab Scotty. It’s very gory and terrifying as we witness the group of friends literally fall apart.
1. The Exorcist (1973)
This list would not be complete without the master of all possession films, The Exorcist. Released back in 1973, it still manages to shock and terrify audiences today. The shocking portrayal of Linda Blair, as 12-year-old Regan being possessed saw her levitate, contort and, infamously, spider-walk down the stars. Of course, we can also attribute the film for putting us off pea soup for life.
Deliver Us From Evil is in cinemas 20 August 2014. You can buy Sinister on Blu-ray for £6.76 at Amazon.co.uk.