Deliver Us From Evil (directed by Sinister’s Scott Derrickson) is scaring it up in cinemas right now. It features Eric Bana as a cop turned paranormal investigator facing off against possessed army veterans in New York. Some of cinemas’s scariest moments feature demonic darkness so, from splatter gore classics like The Evil Dead to the art house insanity of Possession, experience five of the freakiest possession scenes in cinemas. Warning: don’t watch these clips if you’ve just eaten.
The Exorcist (1973)
The first horror film to be nominated for an Oscar, it was directed by William Friedkin (The French Connection) and adapted from the best seller by William Peter Blatty – which in turn was based on the true story of a child who became possessed after playing with a Ouija board. The signature theme alone is enough to send shivers down your spine. For the exorcism scene the bedroom set was refrigerated to create the actors’ icy breath as Regan (Linda Blair) projectile vomits while Father Merrin (Max Von Sydow) performs the most famous religious rite in cinema. And in earlier scenes Regan levitates before her head spins 180 degrees, stabs herself with a crucifix and walks downstairs like a spider. Gross.
The Evil Dead (1981)
Sam Raimi’s cabin in the woods shocker was a game changer for the horror genre. When five friends find the Necronomicon – a book of the dead – they unwittingly release evil. Mixing black comedy and satanic possession with splatter gore chills it spawned two sequels that made a star of Raimi’s high school buddy Bruce Campbell who played Ash. The success of last year’s brutal remake has lead to rumours of a TV spin-off but the original will always be a hard act to follow. Before he ends up with a chainsaw for a hand, in this scene Ash deals with gory girlfriend Linda but don’t worry the blood is just a mixture of syrup, non-dairy creamer and red food colouring.
Paranormal Activity (2007)
The found footage franchise eventually ran out of scares but the first instalment still intrigues. Following a family plagued by things that go bump in the night when their home is inhabited by a demonic presence Oren Peli’s film recalls the twisted pleasures of The Blair Witch Project. The film’s original ending was changed at the suggestion of Steven Spielberg. This closing scene is hypnotic, disturbing and ultimately shocking when Katie’s husband Micah feels the wrath of her possession.
The Last Exorcism (2010)
This faux documentary follows a disillusioned evangelical minister who, after years of performing exorcisms, invites cameras to film his last job in a bid to expose the fraudulent nature of the world he works in. In this scene Nell flips out but there are no special effects involved. Actress Ashley Bell has hypermobility so did all of the twisting body bends and contortions herself.
Isabelle Adjani won the best actress award at Cannes in 1981 for a dual role the French star said it took years to get over playing. What starts as a taut relationship drama ramps to a delirious climax as Anna (Adjani), driven crazy by her husband’s accusations of infidelity, loses the plot big style. The arthouse shocker directed by Andrzej Zulawski was on a list of banned video nasties and only passed uncut by the British Board of Film Classification in 1999. In this flashback scene Anna suffers an epic seizure while on the subway with blood and gunk oozing from every orifice.