April 7, 2014

Movie Review: The Possessor

The Possessor is a movie that has gone by many names over the years. It's original title is Un urlo dalle tenebre, it has also been called Return of the Exorcist, Naked Exorcism, Cries and Shadows, Exorcist 3: Cries and Shadows, and even Exorcist 2. Based on those names, you can probably guess that this is an Italian rip off of The Exorcist. This is also one of the things that I love about the Italian film industry (especially in the 1970s and 1980s), they are shameless in ripping off movies. It is fantastic, they don't try to hide it, they flaunt it, it becomes their marketing. So, it goes without saying that when you watch The Possessor, it is going to feel a little familiar, just sleazier.

As the story kicks off, we have a nun arrive at her family home where she learns that her brother has been, well, off and has attacked people leading to his being restrained. From here we flash back to see what happened to lead up to this. We catch up with young Piero as he is out taking some photographs. He sees a naked woman standing on some rocks by a stream and being the young guy he is, he snaps a few pictures. This is where things begin to get strange, as the photos show no evidence of the woman he is sure he saw. Where did she go?

Piero returns to the scene of the snap. There is no sign of the woman, but there is a strange pendant, which he promptly decides he should wear. Let me be the first to tell you that this is a bad idea. From here on out things go downhill for Piero. He has pains in his chest, some violent mood swings, and occasionally he appears as the woman he thought he photographed. He is slowly being possessed.

What is the cause of the possession? It seems to be tied into the pendant, and the black mass/satanic orgy that was held in his house many years ago, a scene that we get many, many looks at over the course of the movie. Piero's nun sister is doing all she can to figure out what is going on, meanwhile his possession crops up from time to time as his mother is attacked by the woman on a number of occasions.

Everything culminates when the Exorcist (Richard Conte) arrives in town, solemnly looks around and makes his way to Piero's home. I noticed, as he walked through the Italian streets, they look just like the ones the Greek tourists walk through in Anthropophagus. Anyway, he arrives at the home in a shot that looks just like the equivalent in The Exorcist. The ceremony is performed and it is over, or is it?

The Possessor knows exactly what it wants to do, it wants to take The Exorcist framework and just completely sleaze it up. Between the naked Satanic orgy and the naked woman his possession manifests as, this movie certainly has the sleaze factor. Then there is the moment between the woman and Piero's mom, you'll know it when you see it. This movie does things that the American The Exorcist would never go.

Yes, The Possessor is no competition for The Exorcist, but there is something about this movie that is very watchable. It has a certain manic energy that lets you know that there is nothing off the table. The dialogue is poor, the acting is not exactly great, and there is the whole rip off factor, but once you press play, you will be in the mix, watching the crazy possession take hold.

No matter what title you see this under, you will not escape the rip off sleaze fest that it is, but you will also be entertained by the fact it pulls no punches and isn't afraid to get a little weird. Watch it and see for yourself.


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