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The 10 Most Terrifying Demon Possession Scenes in Horror Movie History

Updated 21 May 2018 952 votes 408 voters 25.9k views10 items

List RulesVote up the most terrifying depictions of possession.

Demonic possession has been a focal point of horror movies for as long as horror movies have been a thing, and every director has their own idea of what a body being taken over by a demon looks like. Some directors, like Sam Raimi and William Friedkin, completely covered their actors with plaster and makeup to create terrifying demonic visages that have haunted our dreams for decades. More recent exorcism movies have leaned into a realism that serves to create a disconnect between the otherworldliness of demonic possession and the very tangible idea of mental illness being misconstrued as something more - that is, until their actors begin raving in German and then jump out a window.

The on film possession scene that all others are compared to come from The Exorcist. It’s inarguable that William Friedkin’s 1973 classic formed the basis for modern film’s idea of what a possession looks like. It essentially created tropes that are still followed to a T. Put on any film where a young woman is possessed by a demon and she’ll more than likely be tied to a bed, in an oversized white sleep dress. Take a look at the demonic possessions that follow the rules set by the classic horror film, and the movies that forge their own paths. Which are scarier? Does it matter? And are you thinking about going back to church?

Do you think there are more terrifying scenes of demonic possession than the excerpts we’ve chosen? If so, tell us in the comments and we’ll check them out. 

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