Directed by Jerry Thorpe
Distributed by WarnerArchive.com
The year was 1977. The public by and large was still reeling from the effects of The Exorcist, and everyone with a camera, a story, and a cast was looking to cash in on the hoopla. Some came close. Others failed (and continue to fail) miserably. Why it’s so hard to make a good possession flick is beyond me. There are plenty of great slasher films. Dozens of great monster movies. Yet, possession? Only one devil has a brow big enough to accommodate the crown.
Back in the Seventies the television movies of the week were a big to do. Original content made specifically for TV? YES! So many classics came out of this era. Gargoyles. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. Trilogy of Terror. Duel. The Horror at 37,000 Feet. I could go on forever. The Possessed was, for lack of a better term, the token TV movie Exorcist knock-off, and for better or worse it’s actually ridiculously entertaining.
In this unintentionally hilarious flick James Farentino (sporting a haircut that would make Rod Blagojevich green with envy) plays a priest who is more likely to turn to the bottle than he is to God. The man is a sinner struggling with his faith. Over the course of the movie his drinking turns deadly, and he passes away, only to find judgment waiting for him in Heaven. To atone for his sins, he is sent back to his body to walk the Earth in search of evil to destroy.
His search leads him to an all=girls school that’s home to a pervy pre-Star Wars Harrison Ford. Ford plays a teacher who really … shall we say … “takes an interest” in his students. It’s on this breeding ground of sin that our holy warrior finds himself a pyromaniac demon, who takes great joy in burning everything and everyone around him, to do combat with. In terms of plot, yes, it’s derivative and paper thin. Yes, it’s poorly acted. Yes, the demonic possession effects are on the side-splitting side of the fence. These instances are all the more reason to watch this long-lost classic!
During The Possessed‘s scant seventy-minute runtime you’ll see fake spiders, Harrison Ford drooling, bodies burning, an unlawful amount of tweed, and the final money shot of someone actually projectile vomiting nails. Really? What’s not to like? Do you need any further convincing? I’m thinking no.
Be warned now … this is a Warner Archive title. All titles released under that banner are made to order and not mass produced. As a result, once you order, you don’t get an “official” DVD, just a DVD-R in a pretty box, so if you have a player that has problems playing that type of disc, you may want to steer clear. Even more unfortunate, we get no extras whatsoever. Not even a chapter select. Still, this is the only way to see titles like this so it’s better than nothing. And the remastering job they do on these flicks is as close to pristine as it gets so there’s another bonus.
Looking for some late night, pop some popcorn type fun and laughs? Look no further. You need this wonderful mess of a movie in your collection. Thank you, Warner Archive. We’ll take more like this please. Now, thanks!
3 1/2 out of 5
0 out of 5