27+ Demonic Possession Movies: The Satanic Element in Cinema

The power of Christ compels you! The power of Christ compels you!

Laura Gordon portrays a young cult survivor who is possessed by a demon she names “Mr. Wriggles” in Late Night With the Devil (2023).

People all over the world believe in spiritual warfare, a biblical belief that evil spirits are at work in our every day lives. This belief can be seen in the work of Ed and Lorraine Warren, self-professed devout Catholics and paranormal investigators whose work in demonology is portrayed in the Conjuring film franchise. Of course, there are many who think the Warrens were grifters, but belief in some kind of spiritual warfare can be found in most cultures throughout history.

People lined up to see The Exorcist in 1973. Photo by Ross Dunn.

A major tenant of spiritual warfare is the belief in demonic possession — that an individual (or, more rarely, an object) can be controlled by an evil Satanic spirit. These demons can be driven out of an afflicted person by prayer and piety, or in more severe cases — by exorcism. In cinema, demonic possession took center state in the public consciousness with the release of William Friedkin’s The Exorcist (1973), a modern horror movie showing a young girl’s grotesque transformation as she becomes demon possessed after playing with a ouija board. Word of mouth spread and people waited in long lines to get tickets to The Exorcist as showings sold out. Subsequently, moral panic about devil worship and demonic possession grew into the Satanic Panic of the 80s.

Table of Contents

This list catalogs the best horror movies about demonic possession.

Old Demonic Possession Movies (1961-2000)

Mother Joan Of the Angels (1961)

Jerzy Kawalerowicz directed this psychotronic film with an incredible soundtrack.

Originally titled Mata Joanna od Aniolów, this Polish mystery horror was based on a historical incident dealing with a demonic exorcism. A 17th century Catholic priest visits a remote countryside convent plagued by a demonic presence. As he attempts to extract the demon from an innocent nun’s soul, he realizes there are other evil forces intruding on his visit.

The Devils (1971)

These nuns go crazy for a certain priest.

A controversial historical drama horror movie set in 17th Century France. A Cardinal, desperate for power, seeks to demolish a town led by a well-liked priest. However, a nun who is deeply in lust with the priest derails his efforts. The Devils was originally rated X in the UK and the US due to its graphic nudity and violence and subversive themes.

The Exorcist (1973)

Writer William Peter Blatty adapted his own novel into an original screenplay for this two-time Oscar winning horror film.

A Hollywood actress seeks the help of a priest when her preteen daughter, Regan (Linda Blair), starts behaving in disturbing ways (like telling an astronaut party guest “You’re going to die up there.”) Father Karras (Jason Miller) and Father Merrin (Max von Sydow) perform an epic exorcism on Regan and cause everyone in the vicinity to believe in demonic possession.

The Entity (1982)

As The Entity hit theaters, the real life Doris Blither was still experiencing malevolent attacks, 8 years after they began.

Martin Scorsese declared this as one of his top 11 favorite horror films ever. The Entity is inspired by the true story of a single mother of three who was tormented by a demonic entity. When no one believes her, she turns to science for answers. A creepy aspect of this based-on-a-true story horror movie is that the actor who played Doris Blither’s (the real woman the story is based on) son, broke his arm while acting out a scene in which her real son also broke his arm during a demonic attack.

See also: Is ‘The Entity’ (1982) Based on a True Story?

Mausoleum (1983)

An ancient curse runs amok in this cheesy 80s horror film.

Is there any way to escape the wrath of a possessed demon if it runs in the family? In this supernatural horror movie a 300-year-old family curse targets the firstborn daughter of a new generation, giving the young girl supernatural powers with evil destructive tendencies. Coincidentally, the family’s name “Nomed” is the word demon in reverse.

Night of the Demons (1988)

The moral of the story? Don’t do a seance right before Halloween.

A supernatural horror movie about a group of teens who party at a funeral home on Halloween night. When the partygoers accidentally summon, they start getting possessed and/or dropping dead. This is a sillier demonic possession movie, for those who need a lighter horror experience.

Demonic Toys (1992)

The film would have been titled “Dangerous Toys” if it weren’t for a cease and desist claim issued by a band with the same name.

This is a campy direct-to-video horror comedy that sees two police officers in a toy company warehouse where they hope to arrest illegal arms dealers. When a shootout causes blood to be spilled inside the warehouse, the toys come to life and do demonic things like draw pentacles on the floor and murder people. Locked in until the morning, the ragtag group inside the warehouse fights off demonic toys together.

New Demonic Possession Movies (2000-Present)

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

Science and religion come head to head in a gripping courtroom battle that recounts the death of a young girl under care of an exorcist priest.

Emily Rose is your average 19-year old college student who begins to suffer from persistent terrifying visions and inexplicable physical harm. She is put on epilepsy medications by her doctor, but decides to enlist the help of her priest, Father Moore. As the church leader conducts exorcist efforts on the teenage girl, he suggests she stop taking her prescribed medications. When Emily dies, the priest finds himself charged with negligent homicide.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005) is one of the scariest exorcism films, partially due to the fact that the terrifying plot was based on a true story. After battling years of epilepsy-induced psychosis, severe depression and suicidal tendencies, the young woman received 67 exorcism treatments from the Catholic church during the last year of her short life. In this case, her unfortunate battle with mental illness and strict Catholic upbringing led to an intolerance for religious objects and seeing the devil’s face throughout her school day.

Paranormal Activity (2007)

A San Diego couple’s perfect life is interrupted when they discover a demonic presence in their home.

In a film that launched the found footage genre into the stratosphere, a San Diego couple, Katie and Micah, start recording their experiences with the paranormal in their home. Katie claims to have a demonic presence that has followed her since her childhood, which is met with jokes by Micah. However, when they set up a camera in their bedroom to capture paranormal activity, the couple is confronted by the very real existence of something sinister. The rest of the Paranormal Activity franchise delves deeper into the origin story of the demonic presence and Katie’s family history.

Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Megan Fox is an evil succubus in Jennifer’s Body.

This feminist horror movie follows a high school cheerleader, Jennifer, who becomes a demonic succubus after a failed virgin sacrifice. Her best friend Needy (Amanda Seyfried) is the only person that can stop Jennifer from feasting on all the boys in school. This is not a typical demonic possession film as most viewers cheer for the demon (Megan Fox) in this one.

The Last Exorcism (2010)

A disillusioned pastor invites a documentary crew along on his last job with the hopes of showing the world it is all a farce.

A horror comedy found-footage movie that sees disillusioned pastor Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) inviting a documentary crew along with him as he performs his last exorcism. Cotton’s goal is to reveal that exorcisms are a scam, as he has lost his faith after his son was born disabled. Upon arrival at the Sweetzer’s farm in rural Louisiana, it looks to Cotton like a normal faux-demonic possession is taking place. He performs his services in front of the film crew and starts to head home — when he learns new information that makes him think this time the possession might be real. A return to the Sweetzer farm begins a night of horror for all involved.

Insidious (2010 – 2023)

Scream king Patrick Wilson directed the last Insidious movie, Insidious: The Red Door (2023).

This horror franchise has spanned five films. It follows the story of the Lambert family, whose son Dalton slips into a coma after encountering a sinister entity in the family’s attic. Dalton’s parents, Josh and Renai, discover that Josh also experienced demonic attacks in his childhood. With the help of psychic Elise Rainier, Josh ventures into a purgatory dimension (“The Further”) in order to save Dalton from the spirits who wish to possess him.

The franchise expands with two prequels and two sequels to the original, deepening the lore of The Further and the spirits who wish to make their way into our world.

See also: 6 Creepiest Moments in the ‘Insidious’ Franchise

The Exorcist: Believer (2023)

Lidya Jewett and Olivia O’Neill are possessed little girls in The Exorcist: Believer.

The Exorcist: Believer picks up 50 years after The Exorcist (1973). After a photographer, Victor (Leslie Odom Jr.), and his pregnant wife are blessed by a Voodoo priest in Haiti, an Earthquake forces Victor to choose to save his baby over his wife. 13 years later in Georgia, his daughter Angela (Lidya Jewett) and her Baptist friend Katherine (Olivia O’Neill) go into the woods to perform a seance in the hopes of contacting Angela’s deceased mother. After being missing for three days, the girls are found but become increasingly violent, prompting their parents to consider an exorcism.

When Evil Lurks (2023)

A woman becomes possessed after her husband shoots a possessed goat in When Evil Lurks.

Two brothers realize their neighbor has become a “Rotten”, a possessed person who will give birth to a demon. They try to solve the problem by driving the Rotten hours away and abandoning it, but pretty much everyone they come into contact with becomes possessed. This is a dark supernatural horror movie with some pretty upsetting moments and it was one of the best horror movies of 2023.

Late Night With the Devil (2023)

Stephen King says Late Night with the Devil (2023) is “Brilliant”.

The host of a late-night talk show in 1977, Jack Delroy (David Dastmalchian), is desperate to get his ratings up. On Halloween night he invites a parapsychologist and her subject, June (Laura Gordon), on the show. Jack pushes for June to conjure a demon live on air but is unprepared for the consequences. The film is inspired by the mockumentary, Ghostwatch (1992), which terrified Brits who thought it was real when it aired on BBC1 on Halloween night.

Other Demonic Possession Movies

  • Possession (1981) A woman in the midst of an emotional divorce has a bizarre relationship with a tentacled creature.
  • Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (1988) A group of sorority girls and frat boys accidentally release a devilish imp who offers them each a wish.
  • Devil (2010) Strangers stuck in an elevator realize one of them is possessed.
  • Lovely Molly (2011) A newlywed woman moves into her childhood home becomes afflicted by a demon.
  • Sinister (2012) A demon possesses one member of a family and uses them to commit unspeakable crimes against their loved ones.
  • The Conjuring (2013) Ed and Lorraine Warren investigate a haunted house and find a mother possessed by a demon.
  • The Babadook (2014) A widowed single mother struggles to raise her son. The appearance of storybook monster who can possess his victims doesn’t help.
  • The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014) A documentary about an elderly woman suffering from Alzheimer’s disease takes a turn when it appears she is demonically possessed.
  • The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015) An all-girls religious boarding school in New England has some Satan worshippers on campus.
  • The Witch (2015) A Puritan family fears the occult in the nearby woods as they live an ostracized life on their farm.
  • Veronica (2017) Demonic activity surrounds a young woman after she used a ouija board with friends.
  • Hereditary (2018) Possession by the demon king Paimon affects a grieving family.

Further reading:

Meet The Author

Chrissy is the co-founder of Creepy Catalog. She has over 10 years of experience writing about horror, a degree in philosophy and Reiki level II certification.

Chrissy Stockton