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Paramount's "The Possession of Joel Delaney"


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#1 of 6 Michael Allred

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Posted March 01 2004 - 04:33 PM

Now here is a forgotten film from the 1970's! "The Possession of Joel Delaney" stars Shirley MacLaine (sp?) who suspects that a member of her family is possibly insane but as it turns out, he's possessed by the spirit of a...BA DUM BUM!!!! serial killer!

Check out IMDB's page on the film;

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0067601/

and a brief review:

http://homepages.tes....s/possjoel.htm

I couldn't find any record of it over at www.boxofficemojo.com to see how well it did (or didn't) in theaters so it's impossible to say if it was a hit or bomb. Perhaps someone here knows?

In the recent issue of "Entertainment Weekly", Stephen King mentions the movie in his column (which was about the MPAA, ratings, etc) and he refered to a scene in "...Joel Delaney" that is rather shocking and would likely cause the film to get an NC-17 rating if it were made in these times.

www.amazon.com says the film is available on VHS from Paramount so I would assume then that they own the rights to it. I wonder if Martin Blythe would look into the possibility of releasing this little seen movie onto DVD in the near future? Here's amazon's product listing...

http://www.amazon.co....417582-4612118

So has anyone else seen "The Possession of Joel Delaney"? If so, did you like it and would you buy the DVD?

#2 of 6 Thomas T

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Posted March 01 2004 - 05:45 PM

Yes, I've seen it and I would probably buy the DVD. It's the only horror film Shirley MacLaine ever did and it was made during a period when her box office appeal was very weak. It's a rather unpleasant nasty piece of goods but even after all these years and I've only seen it once, certain moments are still with me.

#3 of 6 Michael Allred

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Posted March 01 2004 - 07:08 PM

Full disclosure here....I've never actually seen the movie but I usually take notice when Stephen King gives flicks a mention.

#4 of 6 Claude North

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Posted March 01 2004 - 09:48 PM

I would definitely purchase this on DVD.

#5 of 6 Will K

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Posted March 02 2004 - 04:18 AM

This is a disturbing little movie. I'd definitely pick it up the DVD. Not a great film, but certainly a 70's gem that deserves to be unearthed. Unfortunately, I can't see Paramount giving this movie the time of day.
My Blu-ray collection so far:Casino Royale, The Fifth Element, 300, Unforgiven, T2, The Descent, The Road Warrior, The Untouchables, Purple Rain, Deliverance

#6 of 6 Bob Cashill

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Posted March 02 2004 - 09:17 AM

It's been on the Showtime (or maybe Encore) channels recently. It's certainly a time capsule of NY in the early 70s, when the Lower East Side (so chi chi and frou frou today) was considered the ninth circle of hell, full of Puerto Rican immigrants and their "spooky" customs (not my view, the film's, which is very much of its time and might strike viewers as somewhat racist). There's a hilarious scene (today) of MacLaine running in terror down a street that even she would be hard-pressed to afford an apartment on these days.

King is right about that scene, which comes toward the end and involves the abject humiliation of a child. I'm not sure it's NC-17 but that's probably because no one would attempt such a sequence today. Indeed, I'm surprised MacLaine wasn't a little bugged by it,or even why she took on the part, as it goes against the positive New Agey vibe of her spiritual beliefs. Then again, she and the producer and director, I understand, clashed over the overall "vision" of the film, and they all walked away from it. In fact, I don't think the film has a producer credit.

If the film had been released a year or two later, in the wake of THE EXORCIST (which takes a similarly clinical approach to horror; the Ellen Burstyn character is said to have been inspied by MacLaine) it might have cleaned up. As it is, it's a curiousity worth watching once, and musing about here. I don't think I'd buy it.