In general we don’t get all that religious around these parts (we leave that to the professionals!), but when you’re invited to talk to a world-famous real-life exorcist, you just don’t pass up a unique interview opportunity like that.
This Friday Paramount Pictures’ latest genre effort, The Devil Inside, is set to possess theater-going audiences everywhere, and in anticipation of the film’s release, Dread Central sat down for an exclusive chat with Reverend Bob Larson, the world’s foremost expert on cults, the occult, supernatural phenomena and exorcisms.
Larson starred as a real-life exorcist in his own TV reality show seen worldwide called “The Real Exorcist,” and he hosts in various cities around the world weekly Spiritual Freedom Seminars, which feature live exorcisms being performed by Larson in front of packed auditoriums.
We spoke with the renowned Reverend about his experiences battling real-life cases of possession, separating fact from fiction regarding the depiction of exorcisms in cinema, and whether or not Paramount’s The Devil Inside gets it right with its story.
While it might be easy to think that Reverend Larson wouldn’t be the least bit interested in seeing horror flicks, it turns out that he does see a few from time to time – usually exorcism-themed movies, a subject matter he definitely knows a thing or two about in his line of work. Dread asked Larson to discuss his thoughts on exorcism films and if there’s any truth to what audiences see on the big screen.
Larson said, “It’s always been very interesting to me to see Hollywood’s take on exorcisms or possession because movies rarely get it right. In fact, The Devil Inside is the closest I’ve seen a movie get to what really happens during an exorcism or just when dealing with someone who is suspected of being possessed. There’s a lot of realism in their story and the approach of the two young priests in the movie, and it’s about so much more than just the possession itself. Their approach involves biologically investigating this woman to see if she really is possessed or if she’s just crazy.”
“The Exorcist is a great movie, but it’s not even close to what happens during real-life exorcisms. I’ve done over 15,000 documented exorcisms, and I’ve never seen anyone’s head spin 360 degrees or some of the more extreme things that happen throughout that movie. In my experiences I’ve seen levitations and I’ve felt chilled when coming into a room but nothing extreme like what was presented in The Exorcist. That’s pure fiction,” added Larson.
Reverend Larson went on to talk about the reality of performing an exorcism and what the differences are in what he experiences in his everyday life. “A lot of movies tap into that fear factor and usually portray exorcisms as very violent and scary experiences, and I don’t find exorcisms to be like that at all. In fact, based on my vast experience, they’re usually very quiet proceedings and rarely involve violent acts. When you see movies that show extreme exorcisms, that’s usually Hollywood amping something up just so it’s scarier for audiences, and while that’s fun to see in a movie, it’s just not the reality of exorcisms as a whole.”
“What sets The Devil Inside apart from a lot of the other exorcism-related movies out there is that what you see these priests doing in the movie is usually how I approach my cases in real-life,” Larson added. “The very first thing you always check in cases of possession are the eyes – that’s usually the very first tell of a demonic presence. It’s not always like you see in movies where eyes are glowing or all-white, stuff like that. It’s more about the dilation of the pupils, how they react to certain tests, and that’s usually the first tell between someone who’s possessed and someone who might just have some mental health issues.”
We asked Reverend Larson if he has a message for the skeptics out there who may think that real-life possession and exorcisms aren’t authentic.
“For anyone who doesn’t believe in demons or in demonic possession, I’d tell them to either visit my Bob Larson Exorcism YouTube page or come to one of my live events and see it for themselves,” said Larson. “It’s much easier to judge something when looking from the outside in, and once you see an exorcism with your own two eyes, you’ll know just how real possession is.”
For more on Reverend Larson and his work, check out the official Bob Larson website.
Bonnie Morgan, Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman, Preston James Hillier, Evan Helmuth, Suzan Crowley, D.T. Carney, and Ionut Grama star in The Devil Inside. Look for the film in theatres on January 6th, 2012.
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