Looking Back at Shannon's Five Favorite Exorcism/Possession Movies

Today, A24 released their terrifying new horror film, THE BLACKCOAT'S DAUGHTER, from director Osgood Perkins. The film centers around two girls stranded at their prep school who find themselves battling a mysterious evil force. In anticipation of the film's release, Shannon took a look back at some of her favorite films that focused on the subject of possessions and exorcisms. As our favorite demon would say in THE EXORCIST, it truly is an excellent day for an exorcism. 

THE EXORCIST

Don’t try to fight me on this. This is the best exorcism movie to ever be made, hands down. Granted, that’s my personal opinion but it would take a lot for me to be swayed. THE EXORCIST is one of those films that is truly terrifying and is able to also stand the test of time. At it's core, the film centers around the demonic possession of a teenage girl and was a film that was by far ahead of its time. Even if THE EXORCIST isn’t your favorite possession/exorcism movie out there, it still deserves the respect of being one of the best horror films of all time. 

SESSION 9

Okay, on the surface one would say that this isn’t a possession film.  However, if you delve into the film more, especially the history surrounding Danvers State Hospital, in which the film is based off, you may begin to change your tune. The film centers around an asbestos cleaning crew sent to work within an abandoned mental hospital, while there, strange and deadly occurrences begin to transpire as the mystery of the hospital unfolds.  It’s never quite stated if certain characters are possessed, but it does give some minute indications which would lead people to believe that was the case. Regardless, this is a fantastic slow burn of a horror film filled with a creepy atmosphere and quality acting. 

THE TAKING OF DEBORAH LOGAN

This film took me completely by surprise. I watched it about 2 years ago when I saw it was on Netflix as the idea of the elderly being possessed piqued my interest. I have to say, this film is one of the best possession films to come out in recent years and criminally underrated. The film focuses on an elderly woman who is battling Alzheimer’s disease and a team of people who are there to research and document her condition. A possessed grandmother-type is a lot more frightening than one would think, and director Adam Robitel did a fantastic job of conveying that terror on screen.  

THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE

I absolutely love this film and it’s been far too long since I’ve seen it. Not only did I find it completely unsettling, but I believe this film to be one of Jennifer Carpenter’s best roles. Her unnatural body movements during her possession are downright terrifying as are the exorcisms that take place.  The focal point of the film is on the title character, Emily Rose, as we learn that her exorcism has resulted in her death at the hands of Father Moore.  I loved that this film took a different perspective on the exorcism story by showcasing Father Moore's supposed murder due to the exorcism. 

THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL

Ah yes, Satanic rituals, the possibility of the Anti-Christ - what’s not to love in Ti West’s THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL. The film is an homage to the great horror movies of the 80’s as we find our main character, Samantha, babysitting for an odd family during a full lunar eclipse. As fate would happen, bizarre things start to transpire as Samantha begins to unravel the horrifying secret that the parents are keeping. I like that this film is a prelude to what could be considered a fantastic possession film, as it shows the audience everything that happens prior to the moment. Fans of slow burn horror, and Ti West in general, will be incredibly pleased with the outcome. 

THE BLACKCOAT'S DAUGHTER is now in theaters and On Demand