The Possessed (1975) Poster

(1975)

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WITCH CHILD IT IS!
William13 March 1999
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this horror film as a second feature to DRIVE-IN MASSACRE at the late Bel-kirk Drive-in when I was a kid. The film had this strange looking little girl who gets possessed and even castrated her mother's boygfriend. Really ugly film, and it's from the spanish film guy that made RETURN OF THE EVIL DEAD, and SHIP OF ZOMBIES. The film was cheezy and looked real old back then (1979 release). It was an improvement over the main feature which was good at making the other cars at the drive-in leave early.
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6/10
Exorcist Knockoff, But a Decent One
gavin694210 December 2010
A person breaks into a church, and steals a chalice while leaving behind a mess and a Satanic calling card. That would be bad enough, but just wait until a little girl gets possessed and becomes the Demon Witch Child! Written and directed by Amando de Ossorio. He has made a number of low budget horror films, particularly in the "blind dead" series.

Interesting score, vaguely reminiscent of Claudio Simonetti's work.

The girl, Susan, is very weird, like a small child trapped in a preteen's body. Some of this may be due to the off dubbing, though. Her extreme innocence does seem logical in comparison to her transformation, making it seem more extreme. Very nice makeup effects, too. (Was this you, Pablo Perez?) (Interestingly, the actress playing Susan was the Spanish dub for Linda Blair in "The Exorcist").

There are some "Exorcist" similarities, but it is not a blatant ripoff, even if this film was clearly inspired by it. When the priest gets called either "queer or impotent", that is pretty amusing.

There is some completely erroneous nonsense about inheriting languages through genes, which may remain dormant for generations. I cannot imagine that any credible scientist would ever say such silly things.

Absolutely deserves a decent DVD release. Whoever owns the rights, if any, and the original negative needs to get this one released to us in a clean copy. Someone call Dark Sky! They are the people for the job.
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6/10
As Exorcist rip-offs go, this one isn't bad
The_Void6 April 2008
Spanish horror director Amando de Ossorio will always be best known for his Blind Dead series and rightly so because they're good films, and also because most of the rest of the stuff that he directed isn't up to much. Italian and Spanish filmmakers would often make their own versions of popular American films, and it's not surprising that Exorcist rip-offs almost became their own sub-genre after 1973. The Possessed is clearly yet another copy of Willian Friedkin's groundbreaking horror hit, and while it's not very good and has nothing on the earlier classic; to my greatest surprise, this film is both not bad and definitely one of the better Exorcist rip-offs. The plot focuses on the daughter of a politician who becomes possessed. Sometime earlier, an old woman suspected of being a witch is accused of kidnapping young children and kills herself by jumping out the police station window. The politician's daughter later has an encounter with a strange woman who gives her a necklace. It's not long before the girl is speaking foreign languages and turning her head round one hundred and eighty degrees...

Despite being a rip-off, this film actually has a few good ideas of its own. The idea of the girl being possessed by a witch rather than some demonic force actually works quite well and the film has a couple of subplots, such as the one that sees the token young priest being chased by a girl against his wishes. This plot doesn't have much to do with the film's central idea, but it's interesting and amusing. It also seems like director Amando de Ossorio was trying to have a swipe at the church through a lot of the events in this film - including the subplot with the girl and the priest. The film was obviously made on a shoestring budget and as such there isn't much room for anything spectacular. The special effects are largely inept and unconvincing and the acting is matched by some truly atrocious dubbing. The only real notable cast member is Marián Salgado, and she is only notable for the fact that she was cast in the film because she was the Spanish dubbing actor for Linda Blair in The Exorcist (a nice touch in my opinion). Overall, The Possessed is lacklustre, but it's not a bad way to spend ninety minutes and it is one of Amando de Ossorio's best films outside of the Blind Dead series.
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Pretty original "Exorcist" rip-off
lazarillo13 March 2007
These kind of movies are usually dismissed as "Exorcist" rip-offs, which is not entirely accurate as they often lacked the budget and talent to "rip-off" a mega-budgeted Hollywood spectacle like "The Exorcist" even if they wanted to. What they really did was take advantage of all the notoriety and publicity surrounding the American film to make something that usually wasn't any good, but was often a lot more original than they have been given credit for. An old gypsy witch is accused of kidnapping a baby. After she dies in custody, her daughter arranges for her soul to possess the neglected young daughter of the local magistrate. Like Ravin in "The Exorcist" the possessed young girl floats in the air and starts speaking in foul-mouthed, adult voices, but she is also far more active, leading the sacrifice of the kidnapped baby to Satan, and luring the male lover of her governess to a park where she kills him,castrates him, and gives his genitalia to his poor girlfriend as a present! Her eventual exorcist meanwhile, like Father Damien Karras, is a local priest facing a crisis of conscience, but a far more ridiculous one--a woman he earlier jilted for the priesthood has become a prostitute.

I, in no way, want to imply that this is a good movie. Amando Ossorio has become somewhat of a cult director, but while he may handle atmospheric horror well in his "Blind Dead" series (or even the much-maligned "Night of the Sorcerers"), he is well out of his element here with this kind of more visceral horror. The script is (obviously)very stupid, the special effects are generally inept, and the atrocious English dubbing makes the whole thing completely risible. The movie should be commended though for its originality (relatively speaking)and its sheer audacity (the infanticide, the castration etc.). Most of the objectionable material, it should be said, is done off-screen (probably more due to budget limitations and censorship than good taste), but it unusual to broach such disturbing subject matter at all in a commercial film. The make-up on the little girl is also pretty good, and is aided greatly by the fact that the young actress looked pretty creepy (and a lot like the old witch) to begin with.

So does all this add up to a recommendation? Well . . . I guess if you like these "Exorcist" rip-offs like I do, you could do worse.
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6/10
Gypsies, tramps and … DEMON WITCH CHILDREN!!
Coventry19 July 2006
Amando de Ossorio will probably always be my Spanish horror-hero because he made the utterly amazing "Blind Dead"-quadrology and also the even more amazing (but sadly obscure) "Lorelei's Grasp". His horror films, even the less good ones, are hugely atmospheric and often manage to come across as genuinely creepy even though the subject matter is far-fetched and implausible. This theory works for "Demon Witch Child", too. The film itself isn't impressive and certainly not very original. A young girl possessed by satanic forces that cause her to speak foreign languages and make her body to float in thin air? Now, where have we seen that before? Yes, this basically is the umpteenth European imitation of William Friedkin's "The Exorcist" but, please, don't allow this to spoil the fun. It's an adorably weird exploitation effort, with quite a collection of deranged characters and inexplicably compelling sub plots. In a quiet little community, a gypsy woman is suspected of kidnapping infants and commits suicide by jumping out of the police station's (closed) window. She avenges herself by using her witchcraft powers to possession over the eminent politician's nine-year-old daughter. In this younger body, the old witch can carelessly continue sacrificing newborn children to Satan… Her concerned father and nanny call in the help of a young priest, but he's in the middle of being stalked by a girl who can't accept that he chose God over her. This last part describes a completely irrelevant but entertaining sub plot, by the way. Believe it or not, but the scariest thing about this movie is the young actress who plays Susan! And not even during the sequences where the gypsy witch possesses her soul! No offense to her, but Marián Salgado looks almost naturally uncanny and definitely NOT like an innocent schoolgirl! The elderly actress who plays the actual witch looks pretty creepy too, but at least she was supposed to have this effect. Sadly enough, "Demon Witch Child" disappoints in the gore department. There's no exploitative bloodshed and Amando de Ossorio only hits at gruesome events, like a castration and a brutal baby killing. Perhaps the lack of budget is to blame, but that sure didn't stop our director when he made the "Blind Dead" movies. The possession-effects are nice and cheesy and the eerie music is very efficient. Personally, I have a weakness for shameless rip-offs (I usually enjoy them even more than the real thing) but most horror fans will likely enjoy this film, as long as they're not too demanding.
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Better Than A lot of the Rips
Michael_Elliott27 February 2008
Demon Witch Child (1975)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Amando de Ossorio, director behind the four Blind Dead films, wrote and directed this rip of The Exorcist but he adds a few neat twists to make the film stand on its own. A young baby goes missing and the police suspect a local Satan worshipper so they bring her in for questioning. During the interrogation the witch praises Satan and then kills herself but soon her evil spirit returns and takes over the body of a young girl. There are countless items in this film that borrow heavily from The Exorcist but do Ossorio also adds some new stuff like the twist of the possession coming due to a witch. There's also a couple eerie scenes involving the witches and the ending is quite good. However, like all these Italian rips, there's a lot being ripped off from the troubled priest to the dirty talking little girl. The dubbing to this film is pretty bad so the dirty talk from the child comes off with more laughs than anything else. This is no great masterpiece but it's certainly one of the better rips I've seen.
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"This is the princess of the Old Ones."
Backlash00714 October 2007
Demon Witch Child is Amando de Ossorio's answer to The Exorcist. It involves an evil witch who is killed and later takes possession of an innocent little girl to continue her misdeeds. Most people are aware of de Ossorio through his Blind Dead movies. To be honest, I didn't realize he had other horror outings. So this was a surprise to me when I picked up a "Grindhouse" box set which featured Demon Witch Child. After viewing it, I wish I still didn't know de Ossorio made other films. Not only is it a terrible film, but it is also on the boring side. A cardinal sin in my book. It never once shows the promise or atmosphere that Tombs of the Blind Dead had. Unfortunately, I still feel that de Ossorio is an overrated director.
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3/10
Don't mess with old crones
lastliberal9 August 2007
Interesting little Spanish horror flick that promises much more than it delivers.

An old crone (Tota Alba) is abused by the police (Fernando Sancho) and enters the body of the young daughter of the police commissioner (Ángel del Pozo). There really are not the special effects that you find in another possession movie that is more familiar (The Exorcist), even though that is what they want you to think.

The young priest (Julián Mateos) performs a short exorcism to drive Satan out.

No real blood or violence except for a castration where you don't really see anything.
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2/10
Boring and dull Exorcist rip-off from Spain
Bogey Man2 May 2003
Spanish director Amando de Ossorio (RIP) is famous for his living dead templar horror films that began with "Tombs of the Blind Dead" in 1971. This film, "The Possessed" (1975), is a cash-in of William Friedkin's "The Exorcist" (1973) and a very bad one. It has a creepy looking teenage girl cursed by some witch or wannabe and then she naturally creates horror around her while her parents and authorities start to investigate a priest about exorcism, Satan and so on..There's nothing special or original in the plot, nor in the whole film either.

The film has two pretty scary looking actors and I mean the witch and the lead girl who both have the face required to play in this kind of Satanic tale. The old witch make-up is also convincing and these little things are almost the only positive things that can be said about this slow and tired piece of Spanish film.

The protagonist priest is the only one that has even a little depth in him as we get to learn something about his past. This is nice and gives also some potential to criticise some more or less hypocritic things that can be related to being a priest and denying one's human feelings and needs. But nothing is used so ambitiously, the priest only gets to develop slightly higher than the other characters but nothing else.

The special and horror effects are also very bad and few. There's no gore or on-screen carnage as usually in these films, only some very badly acted scenes of demonic violence and one rather pointless (off screen) castration commited by a devil. The atmosphere is only very rarely anything interesting, and practically always involves either the girl or the witch and their faces. One laughably bad "horror scene" is straightly from "The Exorcist" (among many other elements in the film) and has equally bad "trick effect" as Italian Joe D'Amato's exploitation sickie "Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals" from 1977.

The English dubbing is awful as well as some of the dialogue. The dialogue thinks the audience is very stupid and so every "important" thought of a character is said and spoken out so that nothing is left to the imagination, like "How the hell you have my voice?" as an example of this hilarious stupidity!

"The Possessed" is a very bad and uninteresting piece of horror film and definitely among the worst examples of "rip offs" in general. Only the very few things mentioned make this to the 2/10 level which means that I won't ever return to this film again but will keep on watching other films by the director who definitely is capable for more.
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6/10
I enjoyed it
lthseldy17 August 2001
Warning: Spoilers
although there were some rip offs from "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Exorcist", I enjoyed this movie. I liked the ending the best. This movie was about a sweet young girl that ends up being possessed by an old witch that was once the prime suspect of an infants disappearance. She then kills herself and her soul ends up in the young girl causing her to curse, dismember parts of peoples private places, turning into an old lady and murdering people. It had it's cheezy moments like when she would strangle her victims (being as little as she was trying to get her hands around some grown mans next and trying to kill him?)But overall, it was a good movie to watch.
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