The Demon Murder Case (1983)

Article 3758 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-16-2011
Posting Date: 11-28-2011
Directed by William Hale
Featuring Charles Fields, Liane Langland, Joyce Van Patten
Country: USA
What it is: Demonic possession movie

The defense attorney at a murder trial plans to argue that his client is innocent because he was demonically possessed at the time of the murder. The backstory of the case is then told.

According to my source for this movie, it’s based on a true case, but the screenwriter takes the tack that demonic possession is indeed the real culprit. Now, I don’t think this approach would necessarily make for a bad movie, but in order for it to work, it needs a much better script and better direction than we get here. Despite a plethora of well known names in the cast (Kevin Bacon, Cloris Leachman, Eddie Albert and Andy Griffith), the movie isn’t particularly well acted, and the script is pretty silly at times. Part of the reason is that it’s a TV-Movie from its era; when the biggest threat the possessing devil can hurl is “You’re all gonna die!” (which is uttered innumerable times), and the worst blasphemy it can conjure up is for the possessed boy to blow a raspberry at Jesus Christ, you’re not really going to be able to project a sense of consummate evil, and the movie really lacks a sense of dread. Furthermore, there are so many awkward moments and false notes that after a while it’s hard to believe anything about the movie. The first half of the movie is reheated cliches from THE EXORCIST, and the second half is mostly an “jealous boyfriend” story; neither half is convincing. All in all, this one is clumsy and tiresome.

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