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The Possession of Joel Delaney

The Possession of Joel Delaney – 1972
Waris Hussein

Matt Robinson
Irene Kamp

Shirley MacLaine
Perry King
David Elliott

Review by Wayne Malin

Racist and sick,

A man Joel Delaney (Perry King) becomes possessed by the spirit of an evil Puerto Rican man. His sister (Shirley MacLaine) tries to help him get rid of the demon.

Why do I hate this movie? Let me count the ways:

1) First off, the racism in this film is subtle…but it’s there. There’s a suggestion that King (whose character is rich) gets possessed because he hangs around with poor Puerto Rican people who are, by implication, evil and vicious.

2) ALL the characters are unsympathetic (even MacLaine). How can you care about a movie when you hate all the characters?

3) This movie is very slow-moving–even the “shocking” discovery of a dead body was dull.

4) The direction seems off–like the director didn’t know where to point the camera.

5) The ending at the beach house was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life. When movies lower themselves to child abuse I tune out. There’s no need for that sequence to be in the movie…I really wonder how the parents of the kids could have allowed this.

6) The very end was REALLY stupid…and predictable.

Dull, sick, racist…this film was understandably a bomb in 1972. I haven’t seen anyone “discovering” it lately either. Even MacLaine never talks about it. Avoid at ALL costs!

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70s Films

A tour through the great and not so great films of the seventies The seventies saw a huge change in styles and genres from the advent of the slasher horror movies like Halloween and the blockbuster summers films started by Jaws. More...

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