Ever since The Exorcist and Beyond The Door, I have been addicted to films about demonic possession. Mind you, I don’t really believe that human beings can become possessed by anything other than their own craziness, but the films are entertaining all the same. They used to scare me when I was much, much younger but now I merely find them rather hilarious. The low budget types are particularly comical.

This being October and with Halloween not too far away, I have decided to list my favorite exorcism movies here and the reasons for the choices. They are in order, from top to bottom, with the first being my absolute favorite and the last being one that I like but don’t have to watch every Halloween.

  1. The Exorcist
  2. The Exorcism of Emily Rose
  3. The Last Exorcism
  4. The Rite
  5. The Possession
  6. The Devil Inside
  7. The Conjuring
  8. Exorcismus
  9. The Vatican Tapes
  10. Deliver Us From Evil
The above are by no means the only films about exorcisms out there, they are simply my favorites with the first 5 being those that I can watch at least once a year – usually on Halloween. Yes, I know there are sequels to some of them but sequels are never as good as the first movie in a series though many of them amp up the blood and gore in a sad attempt to outdo numero uno.
Why is The Exorcist my top fave? In my opinion, it is the most frightening and also the most realistic. No one can outdo Mercedes McCambridge’s demonic voice, no matter what computer programs they may use. I used to hear that voice in my nightmares as a child and it still sends shivers along my spine whenever I hear it. Sure, the film has its funny moments but it is simply the most chilling of the possession films and no one will probably ever top it in my lifetime.
The Exorcism of Emily Rose is second and I only watched it the other day so I remember well my enthusiasm for the film. The courtroom theatrics may put off some people but I find it interesting (I used to work for an attorney and maybe that’s why), but I also like the way the back story was told. Usually, that annoys me in movies but not in this one. Even though it was based loosely upon the true story of poor Anneliese Michel, a German Catholic girl who believed that she was possessed, Emily Rose was a character who made you root for her, wanting her to get better – which unfortunately didn’t happen.
The Last Exorcism comes in third on my list mainly because it was just so very laughable. I couldn’t help but giggle at some of the ‘scary moments’ in this movie, which wasn’t frightening at all though I have relatives who would beg to differ. I may take out the DVD and watch it close to Halloween for a few laughs; it never fails to entertain me. As for the fake preacher, aren’t they all a bunch of phonies?
I’m happy that it was shot as a ‘found footage’ film too, though with a unique take on them. When I first saw the movie, I was hoping for more frightful effects and was slightly disappointed that the comedy but when I watched it a second time, I realized that the comical stuff were the scary parts!
The Rite had some irritating CGI effects – I really don’t like those at all – but it was a thrill just the same, although the screenwriter could have left off with the hateful remark about Roman cats (there is also a decided bias against our furry feline friends in Deliver Us From Evil, not sure if this comes from Ralph Sarchie, whose story the movie supposedly tells, or the guy (and I’m quite certain it’s a guy, since mostly White guys write horror scripts) who penned the screenplay. This is one reason for my distaste for the film, not to mention the arrogance of the Ralph Sarchie character as played by Eric Bana, whose presence vexed me to no end. More on ol’ Ralph and his ‘Demon Files’ show in a forthcoming post. Other than the ailurophilia and over-done effects, I liked the movie The Rite.

The Possession was a pretty good movie, mainly because of the dybbuk box angle – ever see that episode of Paranormal Witness about a devilish dybbuk box that wreaked so much havoc in the lives of those that bought it? I also thought the Hasidic Jews being involved was interesting, as I enjoy studying various types of religious beliefs, particularly those with Orthodox or strict beliefs that may seem strange or off-putting to outsiders. When I first saw it, my main opinion was that it wasn’t very scary but compared with those making up the rest of my list, it is far more entertaining – to me.

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