10 Exorcism Movies
While the 1973 hit movie “The Exorcist” might be the best of the genre, here are 10 exorcism movies that remain notable for their portrayal of the phenomenon. "The Exorcist" takes the Catholic rituals of exorcism and creates a horrific movie that overshadows everything that has come since. However, over the years, many movies have tried to recapture the magic.
- “The Exorcist” “The Exorcist” is the godfather of exorcism movies. William Friedkin directed the movie based on the novel by William Peter Blatty. Friedkin cast child actor Linda Blair as a young girl possessed by an evil demon. Most people know the movie for Blair’s course language, spinning head and pea soup vomit.
- “Poltergeist” Steven Spielberg co-wrote the horror film “Poltergeist.” Tobe Hooper (“Texas Chainsaw Massacre”) directed the movie, a haunted house film that turns into an exorcism movie when a diminutive exorcist, played brilliantly by Zelda Rubinstein, arrives to perform an exorcism ritual on the house.
- “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” “Emily Rose” is a true story movie based on the exorcism of a Catholic woman named Anneliese Michel. The movie stars Jennifer Carpenter as the possessed woman and Tom Wilkinson as the priest who stands trial for her murder when the exorcism goes wrong. This is one of two movies based on Michel’s death and is a straight horror movie mixed with a courtroom drama.
- “Requiem” “Requiem” is the second movie based on the death of Anneliese Michel. Unlike “Emily Rose,” “Requiem” is a drama rather than a horror film. The movie is a German film directed by Hans-Christian Schmid and chooses to ignore the supernatural special effects, presenting it more as a documentary styled reenactment of the incident, questioning whether it is a demon possession or mental illness leading to the woman’s eventual death.
- “Drag Me to Hell” Cult favorite director Sam Raimi returned to his roots in 2009 with “Drag Me to Hell.” The movie is the closest he has come to his breakout “Evil Dead” trilogy and tells the story of a woman who receives a gypsy curse and finds herself possessed by a demon. She eventually finds an exorcist who has dealt with the demon before to help rid her of the curse. The movie is a slapstick horror movie, over-the-top in every way.
- “Constantine” Based on the comic book series “Hellblazer,” Keanu Reeves stars in this supernatural thriller about a man who is destined for Hell but does everything he can while living to try to tip the scales back in his favor. The exorcism movie presents a number of fun, inventive exorcisms and ends with a battle between angels and demons.
- “The Unborn” “The Unborn” is a 2009 film about a girl possessed by the spirit of her twin brother who died in the womb. The movie is not very good, mostly a generic horror movie with manufactured scares. The best parts of this exorcism movie are Odette Yustman and her assets and Gary Oldman when he shows up as the exorcist at the end.
- “The Last Exorcism” The 2010 exorcism movie started with a bang. The director shoots the movie as a documentary concerning a priest who does not believe in demons but uses tricks to fake exorcisms for the people. It then turns into a more straight horror film when he learns that the girl he was sent to help really is possessed and then the end totally goes off the deep end, ruining the entire experience.
- “Repossessed” Linda Blair returns seventeen years after “The Exorcist” and ends up repossessed in this comedy spoof of exorcism movies. Leslie Nielsen stars as the priest who is leery about helping the possessed woman. The movie spoofs everything from “The Exorcist” to “Rocky.”
- “Beetlejuice” Tim Burton’s “Beetlejuice” is the opposite of a typical exorcism movie. Instead of an exorcist being called in to rid the possessed of demons, Beetlejuice is called in by spirits to rid their home of the annoying humans who have moved in. Michael Keaton stars as the titular character.