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The Possession of Joel Delaney (1972)

R  |   |  Drama, Horror, Thriller  |  24 May 1972 (USA)
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A woman begins to suspect that her brother is possessed by a voodoo spirit.



(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Grimes Grice) , 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Norah Benson
Joel Delaney
Peter Benson
Lisa Kohane ...
Carrie Benson
Lovelady Powell ...
Barbara Trentham ...
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)


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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


Drama | Horror | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 May 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Obsessão de Joel Delaney  »

Box Office


$1,300,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Shirley MacLaine turned down the lead female role in The Exorcist (1973) in order to make this film. See more »


Referenced in The Pact (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

A unique and chilling forerunner of the 'possession' sub-genre.
12 November 2009 | by (Brentwood, USA) – See all my reviews

Manhattan socialite begins to fear for her troubled younger brother when he starts behaving bizarrely and he seems to have been friends with a backstreet murderer.

The Possession of Joel Delaney is a dark horror film with much going for it. For one, it's among the earliest horror films to deal with the theme of spiritual possession. Also, it's one of those horror gems that doesn't need to resort to special effects or overt gore and violence to be effectively unsettling. It's a thoroughly well-written film as it blends eerie supernatural horror with a strong social commentary. The plot is compelling and quite off-beat as it builds to some chilling peaks and a finale that's splendidly suspenseful. It's a truly disturbing tale.

The direction, cinematography, and urban locations are all good but the true highlight is the stars. Veteran actress Shirley MacLaine is great as her bewildered, yet unsympathetic character. However the show is truly stolen by young Perry King who puts on an excellent dynamic performance as his potentially unhinged character. It's easy to see why King went on to a notable career after this debut.

All around The Possession of Joel Delaney is one of the finer low-key horror films of the 70's. It's a film that wisely chooses the intelligent, non-camp approach to its subject matter and it comes off a solid effective chiller because of it.

*** 1/2 out of ****

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