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Exorcise Your Rights: A brief history of Hollywood’s demonic possession obsession 

Exorcism movies have a high rate of sucking. There are a slew of terrible, and I mean god-awful, grade z, drive-in bad Exorcism flicks.

Exorcism movies have a high rate of sucking. There are a slew of terrible, and I mean god-awful, grade z, drive-in bad Exorcism flicks. Too many to mention, but let me take a stab at a few highlights.

The Exorcist

William Peter Blatty’s best seller comes to life in the big granddaddy of them all. When it came out, I thought it sucked and was laughably bad. Now I appreciate it after the flock of copycat regurgitations. Groundbreaking in its day, the film keeps the tension up with director William Friedkin’s excellent camera work and special effects that have withstood the test of time. It’s still overly quoted; but I don’t know anyone who hasn’t said, “Your mother sucks c*#k$ in hell.”

Exorcist III

Heavy hitter George C. Scott stars and screenwriter William Peter Blatty directs with some very cool cinematic tricks, but the thing to watch is Brad Dourif’ epic performance of Shakespearean proportions.

The Rite

Anthony Hopkins cannot save this flick and, in fact, embarrasses himself by talking on such a stereotypical overdone part. It’s not a good sign when an exorcism movie pulls down a PG-13 rating. This means the amount of blood and/or cursing is probably insufficient. Hopkins once again glints his eyes, rattles off cantankerous innuendoes and sinister wisecracks in heavy makeup as CGI-enhanced veins pop out of his skin. Think an even more possessed Hannibal Lecter.  Another bogus “based on true events” entry in the field.


The Blaxploitation answer to exorcizing demons is one of the funniest films I’ve ever seen. This line is actually uttered by the priest at a cocktail party, “Leave her body ‘demond’ (yes the d is pronounced) and get out of here!!!"

The Last Exorcism

A lot of movies piss me off, but this one takes the cake. Showing so much promise then disemboweled by the putrid ending is a shame because, finally, I thought someone had mastered the genre. This was a brilliant little masterpiece that opted for such a cop-out ending that it ruined everything it had so gallantly strived for.

Teenage Exorcist

80’s drive-in schlock movie extraordinaire Fred Olen Ray has Michael Berryman, of Hills Have Eyes and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest fame, starring in this ridiculously cute, silly and sexy exorcists movie for the kids. What will they think of next?  A neurotic grad student is transformed into a raven-haired, leather and lingerie-clad seductress by a demonic master. Campy beyond redemption.

The Unholy

This has the longest and most extreme amount of blood vomiting in any movie to date. Ben Cross stars as a conflicted (for a change) priest battling a demon Daesidarius, or “The Unholy” that is systematically killing off priests. A gore-ific flick.

Lorna the Exorcist aka Exorcism

Okay, this is the one you’ve been waiting for: The masterpiece of Eurotrash horror from Jess Franco. Beginning with some sadomasochistic steamy lesbian action, we move on to ridiculous plot, wretched acting, hilarious dubbing and great shots of Italy. This also includes go-go dancing, swinging cocktail parties, racy séances, lecherous priests, blood sacrifices, tons of nudity and a really insidious plot. In other words, my kind of exorcist movie. Chalk up another entry in the pantheon of perversity from the demented mind of Eurosleaze maestro Franco.


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