Saturday, 17 March 2012

Demons Within: Exorcism Movies



To tie in with the UK release of The Devil Inside, Starburst has published an article I wrote on exorcism movies – Demons Within: a history of possession films from The Exorcist (1974) to The Devil Inside (2012). Along the way it stops off to look at some rare pea-soupers like The Sexorcist (1974) and Magdalena, Possessed by The Devil (1976) as well as the more mainstream fare like Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) and many more besides. I had a lot of fun writing it. Starburst is pretty pleased with it and I think you will enjoy it too. In fact it might even turn your head around! Head over to Starburst for a read.


While you’re over there why not order issue 375 of Starburst? Just look at the goodies in this month’s issue:
Game of Thrones / Exclusive Interview with George R R Martin / Exclusive Interview with 'The Cabin in the Woods' Director Drew Goddard / Hunger Games / Interview with Josh Hutcherson / Doctor Who / Interview with 'Wrath of the Titans' Director Jonathan Liebesman / Bond / Interview with New 52 'Batman' & 'Swamp Thing' Writer Scott Snyder plus News, Views & Reviews from the Worlds of TV, Film, Comics, Games & More…





10 comments:

Wes M said...

A late comment, as I'm just back from a few days in Vienna, where spookily enough I picked up a German program for The Exorcist, spotted in a flea market !

An excellent piece of cinema archaeology Jon, I actually printed the entire article out (14 pages no less) and filed it away with other film writings - it's one of the best Horror film primers I've ever read. Too many films to discuss here, but I'm now more than ever determined to see Beyond the Door and Amityville II, the latter film I saw in my young teens leaving me just a little rattled. As a life long atheist, I'm always bemused by the seemingly unquenchable appeal of possession movies - even when I ask my wife - who usually hates fantasy films, why she likes films about Devil possession, she uncharacteristically replies, "You know, that kind of stuff happens". Of course The Exorcist was unavailable in Ireland too after '84/85, so everyone rushed to see it when it was re-released theatrically, and I distinctly remember the crowd of 20-somethings laughing irreverently throughout. I had seen the film and was quite proud to bring my brother along, but it was a terrible experience. Maybe sensibilites have moved on but I still think the film has enormous power, so much so that despite it being a personal Top Ten-er, it's a film I can only watch when the conditions are just right. Every few years I catch the sequel on late-nite TV, hoping to gleam some hidden, secret quality from it but it's a genuinely weird film...

Jon T said...

Glad you enjoyed Vienna, Wes. Somewhere I've never been but would love to visit. Very pleased you liked the article, although I keep coming across films I overlooked like Exorcism: The Possession of Gail Bowers(2006) and Exorcismus (2010) - might be a book in it!

I do think a lot of the power of The Exorcist is lost on younger audiences simply because of the familiarity of the images. I remember some students making their own version of the exorcism scene, and doing a pretty convincing job of it.

When you say sequel, are you talking about Exorcist 2 or 3? Both quite weird films...

Wes M said...

Oh yeah, the Boorman film I meant. I seem to remember the 3rd film being pretty good but it's been years since I saw it, whenever it came out on VHS. Another film I must revisit. I wouldn't worry about the omissions Jon, the article is pretty damn definitive, it's a fantastic piece of work, the level of research incredible...

Jon T said...

Thanks, man. I have to admit that I was beginning to think 'if you've seen one exorcism movie, you've seen them all'.

I agree about the Boorman film, but I find a lot of his films uneven(especially Zardoz and Excalibur). He goes for the mythic themes but I prefer his films that have a strong machismo as well, like Point Blank, Hell in The Pacific, Deliverance to the more whimsical ones.

Wes M said...

I agree about Boorman. I have a lot of time for Zardoz, as uneven as it is, there is such a rich vein of otherworldliness running through it I find it hard to dislike, and I've always loved the use of Beethoven's Seventh, in the opening, and closing scenes. Having said all that, Excalibur leaves me cold. I've attempted this film amny thimes and it's always a difficult, unrewarding slog... I love Point Blank and Hell In the Pacific, but Deliverance is my favourite Boorman's and one of my all time favourite films - everytime I see that film I spot some new angle, some hidden subtext that I hadn't noticed before. I think it's one of the most haunting films ever made.

Jon T said...

Absolutely, with you on that one, Wes. I remember seeing Deliverance on TV when I was a kid and being completely hooked by Jon Voight's fight for survival and the ending, which, once seen is never forgotten.

James Gracey said...

Nice one, Jon - I'll keep my eye out for this issue when I'm next in town. Sounds like it'll be a great read!

Jon T said...

Be sure to pick up a copy, James. Hope you enjoy it!

Maynard Morrissey said...

Absolutely incredible post, bravo!!

Jon T said...

Thanks, Maynard. I enjoyed writing it. Hope you enjoyed reading it!