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Top 20 Demonic Possession and Exorcism Horror Movies

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10. Night of the Demons (1988)

Night of the Demons DVD
© Anchor Bay

This slaughter-fest about demons possessing teens throwing a Halloween party in an abandoned mortuary embodies the brainless fun of '80s horror movies, spawning two sequels and a remake.

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9. Paranormal Activity (2009)

Paranormal Activity DVD
© Paramount

Taking The Blair Witch Project to the next level, this POV film uses "found footage" to document the haunting of a suburban couple by a demonic presence that takes over one of them.

8. REC (2007) / REC 2 (2009)

'Rec' movie poster
© Filmax

The tense Spanish horror movie REC (which didn't hit the US until 2009 but was remade as Quarantine in 2008) plays like a zombie viral infection film -- as a "disease" turns the residents of an apartment building into bloodthirsty maniacs -- but it turns out that the plague is actually demonic in nature (a fact expounded upon in REC 2). Interestingly, Quarantine eliminated this supernatural element altogether.

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7. The Last Exorcism (2010)

'The Last Exorcism' movie poster.
© Lionsgate

Like REC and Paranormal Activity, this is a first-person "found footage" film, in this case documenting a sham exorcist's encounter with a teenage girl whose possession is frighteningly real. Strong characters and an intriguing mystery make the possession almost secondary.


6. The Amityville Horror (1979)

The Amityville Horror
© MGM

The story may or may not be true, but the film, in which a demonic force possesses the father of a family who moves into a suspiciously cheap riverside property, remains chilling to this day.

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5. Demons (1985)

Demons DVD
© Anchor Bay

Over-the-top violence, apocalyptic themes and a rousing soundtrack propel this Italian cult favorite about a mystical mask that turns theater patrons into a demonic horde.

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4. Session 9 (2001)

Session 9
© Universal

This low-budget film proves that you don't have to be explicit to be shocking and blood-curdlingly scary. Its plot, about an asbestos cleanup crew working in an abandoned asylum, is open to interpretation. Could there be a ghost in the building that affects their actions? A demon? Or nothing at all? The conversations it spurs are all part of the movie's brilliance.

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3. The Evil Dead (1981) / Evil Dead 2 (1987)

Evil Dead 2
© Anchor Bay

The groundbreaking Evil Dead and its unapologetically goofy sequel feature the adventures of Ash (Bruce Campbell) as he battles demons unleashed by the Book of the Dead (the Necronomicon) who possess inanimate objects and people alike -- to both scary and hilarious effect. 

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2. The Exorcist (1973)

The Exorcist
© Warner Bros.

The standard by which all other demonic possession movies are judged, The Exorcist has terrified millions of viewers over the years with its then- (and still somewhat) shocking portrayal of the possession of a young girl, introducing now-standard possession movie elements like levitation, vomit, profanity and body contortions.

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1. The Shining (1980)

The Shining
© Warner Bros.

Although it's generally thought of as a haunted house (or rather, hotel) movie, The Shining's plot is somewhat similar to The Amityville Horror, with the father of a family slowly becoming taken over by a presence that drives him to kill. However, it isn't portrayed as explicitly "demonic" in nature as it is in Amityville; like Session 9, there are some things left to interpretation. Although there are ghosts in the film, there's also a general malevolence inherent in the building that author Stephen King has described as an "inhuman evil", so why couldn't it be some sort of demon? However you want to describe it, The Shining is filled with iconic imagery and hair-raising moments that stick with you for a lifetime.

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