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The Possession of Joel Delaney (1972)

 -  Drama | Horror | Thriller  -  24 May 1972 (USA)
5.9
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 652 users  
Reviews: 36 user | 32 critic

A woman begins to suspect that her brother is possessed by a voodoo spirit.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Grimes Grice) , 1 more credit »
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Title: The Possession of Joel Delaney (1972)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Norah Benson
...
Joel Delaney
...
Peter Benson
Lisa Kohane ...
Carrie Benson
Lovelady Powell ...
Erika
Barbara Trentham ...
Sherry
...
Veronica
Edmundo Rivera Álvarez ...
Don Pedro (as Edmundo Rivera Alvarez)
Teodorina Bello ...
Mrs. Perez
Robert Burr ...
Ted Benson
Ernesto Gonzalez ...
Young Man at Seance
Peter Turgeon ...
Detective Brady
William Hawley
Aukie Herger ...
Mr. Perez
...
Charles (as Earl Hyman)
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Storyline

A woman begins to suspect that her brother is possessed by a voodoo spirit.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

If you believe, no explanation is necessary. If you don't believe, no explanation is possible.

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 May 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Obsessão de Joel Delaney  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,300,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was bashed by critics upon release because of the disturbing scene where a young boy is forced to strip. In a 2004 Entertainment Weekly article author Stephen King cited the movie while addressing issues of censorship. King said had The Possession of Joel Delaney been released today it would be rated NC-17 for that scene alone. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Pact (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

Something more than your run-of-the-mill supernatural shocker
6 May 1999 | by (Topeka, KS) – See all my reviews

This film is often compared to _The Exorcist_ although it was released a couple of years earlier. Certainly _The Exorcist_'s notoriety (and box-office performance) have ecclipsed this film, but horror fans shouldn't miss _The Possession of Joel Delaney_! I first became acquainted with this story when I read the novel in "Reader's Digest Condensed Books" at the age of about eleven years and, yes, it certainly upset me! It isn't as overbearing as _The Exorcist_ and doesn't boast the same shocking plot elements, languages and special effects. On the whole, though, it is somewhat more subtle. The slow process by which Nora Benson comes to realize that her brother is possessed by the spirit of a dead killer is carefully developed and will certainly hold you in suspense. _The Possession of Joel Delaney_ is very much a product of its time (the early 1970s) in its focus on drugs, racial tensions and sexuality. Even though the wardrobe, hairstyles etc. do now appear dated, the film has actually withstood the test of time extremely well. This film really helped to put Perry King "on the map," as it were, and deservedly so: the young actor met the challenges of his role quite competently. As Joel, he comes across as vulnerable, appealing and somewhat shy but, when possessed by Tonio Perez's soul, he conveys malevolence very believably: his facial expressions (aided by lighting and makeup, to be sure) and mannerisms change. The Spanish-accented voice, although dubbed, is chillingly effective and the fact that it's obviously someone else's voice actually works in the film's favor as it underscores the fact that Joel's body has been overtaken by an outside force (just as Mercedes McCambridge's vocality did for _The Exorcist_). The horror genre is often held in low esteem because it doesn't treat "themes of profound significance." Aside from the fact that I think that this statement is ludicrous in many cases (although there is no shortage of really bad horror films), it is also untrue for _The Possession of Joel Delaney_. The film was viewed primarily as a social and political commentary at the time of release. This does not mean, however, that it is "preachy," for you can easily ignore the ideological implications and enjoy the film simply as an excellent example of the horror genre. For something different and offbeat, I recommend _The Possession of Joel Delaney_.


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