Whether it's a demon, a malevolent spirit, a paracitic alien or even the devil himself, the fear of something taking over your body/mind and using it to carry out its evil plans is something that's inspired countless writers and directors over the years. Whilst not all of the offerings in the 'possession' genre are wonderful, or even good, it has provided some amazing movies. They send shivers down your spine and have you sleeping with the lights on, or are extremely entertaining at the very least!
The following films (1-4) are, for one reason or another, some of our favourites. Why 12 you ask? Why not!
The film starts at an archaeological dig in Iraq, at which Father Lankester Merrin is present. After finding a small artifact - the head of a strange figure - Merrin goes onto find a statue of the demon Pazuzu. The main story, however, begins in Washington D.C. Well-known actress Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) begins to notice unusual and concerning behaviour in her daughter Regan (Linda Blair) after she has played with a Ouija board. Regan's behaviour steadily becomes worse, but after tests show nothing wrong with her brain, Chris is told that her daughter's problem is most likely psychological. After more violent seizures and terrible behaviour, as well as unexplained happenings in the house and the murder of the director of the film she is working on, it becomes blatantly obvious that Regan's problems are superatural in nature. Chris then decides to enlist the help of the church in the form of a priest having a crisis of faith, Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller), and Father Merrin, who is also an experienced exorcist. Regan's condition becomes drastically worse, and when asked who she is, she calls herself the devil, but she is, in actual fact, possessed by Pazuzu. The two priests must then face both the evil possessing Regan and their own fears and self-doubts in order to save her.
The story takes place in the house of Katie (Katie Featherstone) and Micah (Micah Sloat) (Peli's own house in real life), presenting itself as 'found footage', and was filmed entirely with a handheld camera in order to make it appear more realistic. The couple begin experiencing some minor strange happenings and Katie believes that it is a spirit that has haunted her since childhood causing the disruptions. The couple then contact a psychic for help and he suggests that rather than a spirit, it's a demon that is attached to Katie. He suggests that the two of them should contact a demonologist that he recommends and that they should not provoke or interact with with demon. However, Micah instead decides to set up a camera in their bedroom at night, when the majority of the activity happens, in order to catch the entity's prescence on film. Just as the psychic said it would, the interaction with the demon seems to enrage it, and Katie begins showing more and more severe signs of possession. The couple then try to contact the demonologist, but are unable to reach him and must try to deal with the situation themselves.
More to come in parts 2 & 3!
Trailers for 'The Shining', 'The Evil Dead', 'The Exorcist' and 'Paranormal Activity' after the cut↓