Most horror fans have seen classic movie The Exorcist (directed by William Friedkin) which was released in 1973 and starring a young Linda Blair as a possessed child. The film, based on the highly successful novel of the same name by William Peter Blatty, has been hugely influential in the field of horror, generating an entire subgenre of its own. It wasn't long after the release of The Exorcist that a spate of similar demonically themed films followed, including The Amityville Horror (1979) and The Shining (1980). Of course, some releases were better than others, depending on who you ask.
The Exorcist may be the film everyone thinks of when you mention demons and possession - indeed, it's considered one of the most iconic - however, there are many others that are definitely worth a watch. At this time of year, with Halloween on the way and everyone on the lookout for scary escapism, now might be the perfect time to look further than the earlier classics.
If you have a fascination for the subject of demons and possession, you might want to check out the following titles which all touch upon this unsettling theme. Whilst The Exorcist might be king of the gang, the following all have something to offer if you're after a scare...
10. The Atticus Institute
An independent and low budget horror movie, The Atticus Institute was released in 2015, written and directed by Chris Sparling and produced by Peter Safran. The film follows the style of a “true-life” documentary about a middle-aged woman – known as Judith Winstead – who is exhibiting frightening and paranormal behaviour that specialists are trying to get to the bottom of.
In the documentary-style film, central character Judith is recorded as exhibiting distressing and inexplicable feats, and it isn't too long before those studying her begin to believe she is under the influence of the demonic. Rya Khilstedt delivers a powerful and authentic performance in her role in The Atticus Institute, and the movie feels all-too real at times. A perfect picture for fans of the possession genre, it takes a somewhat unique slant, being set as it is in an institute in which the military and US government become involved.
Said to have been based on a true story (though to what degree is anyone's guess) the film certainly has all the hallmarks of a tense and creepy experience.