“23 Wild and Hilarious Possession Films for Evil Dead Fans”


Scary movies about possession are extremely common, and have been since the dawn of horror cinema. William Friedkin’s blood-curdling 1974 masterpiece The Exorcist perfected the concept, and laid the foundations for an endless barrage of rip-offs and wannabes that continue to be made today. In 1981, a young filmmaker named Sam Raimi tried his hand at putting together one of these Exorcist-inspired flicks, and wound up making one of the most terrifying and original horror movies in the history of the genre: The Evil Dead. In short, Raimi was discovered to be an auteur with a flair for madcap, Three Stooges-inspired terror that he continued to hone in subsequent Evil Dead sequels.

Since then, The Evil Dead franchise has continued to blossom under the direction of numerous other talented filmmakers and in various formats. Most recently, Lee Cronin’s Evil Dead Rise delivered all the zany, gore-soaked goods that fans could ask for and then some. But what if you’ve seen it all and are still hankering for more? If that’s the case, then look no further than our massive list of similarly deranged and demonic titles that are guaranteed to whet your appetite for the absurd!

23 Within the Woods (1978)

Bruce Campbell in Within the Woods

Anchor Bay Entertainment
If you’ve worked your way through all of Raimi’s original Evil Dead trilogy, the Ash vs. Evil Dead television series, the 2013 reboot, and Evil Dead Rise, then your next stop should be the 1978 short film Within the Woods. The legendary precursor to The Evil Dead, Within the Woods is an extremely low-budget prototype that Raimi put together in order to secure funding for a feature-length version.
It’s rough around the edges, and the only versions of it available to watch are very low resolution, but it’s worth seeking out to see the genesis of the beloved franchise alone. Without Within the Woods, there would be no Evil Dead.

22 Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight (1995)

Monster in Demon Knight

Universal Pictures

One of the highlights of the Tales from the Crypt franchise, Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight is a bonkers tale of demonic possession centering on a New Mexico town that falls under siege by ancient diabolic forces. Ernest Dickerson, known mostly for his inventive cinematography on a number of Spike Lee films, directs this horror-comedy gem with a confident swagger, imbuing the material with a chaotic energy that’s reminiscent of Raimi’s yet entirely unique.

Loaded to the brim with remarkable creature effects, solid performances, and rocking tunes, Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight is a wild ride that deserves more love.

21 Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell (1995)

Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell

Terracotta Distribution

Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell is a blatant Evil Dead clone that somehow manages to reach the same silly heights as the films that inspired it. Produced, directed, written, and acted by Japanese one-man-movie-making-machine Shinichi Fukazawa, Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell is about a body-builder and his ex-girlfriend on a mission to clear out the ghastly spirits that reside in an old house. It’s gory, over-the-top insanity from start to finish, and one of the most charming low-budgeters you’re likely to ever see.

20 Event Horizon (1997)

Sam Neill as Dr. William G.

Paramount Pictures

Event Horizon is a sci-fi horror spectacle about a team of astronauts who embark on a mission to find a starship that mysteriously disappeared years earlier. Upon finding the lost vessel, a great evil is unleashed that torments the crew with horrifying hallucinations, and possesses their captain. All-out calamity ensues in this crazy and underrated movie that just might be the scariest outer space-set horror film since the original Alien.

19 Night of the Demons (1988)


International Film Marketing

Night of the Demons is a cult classic about a group of wild teenagers who throw a séance party on Halloween night in an abandoned funeral home. This gives way to an onslaught of demonic possession and bloody violence, all wrapped up in a delightfully ‘80s package. Big hair, high stakes, and stunning creature design, plus a memorable performance from scream queen Linnea Quigley, make this film a gratuitous good time.

18 Demon Wind (1990)

Demon Wind Productions Ltd.
United Filmmakers

Demon Wind pairs well on a double bill with the previous entry on this list, as it too is about a group of friends who unleash demons in an old, dilapidated house. However, Demon Wind differentiates itself from similar flicks with its surreal, dream-like quality and wacky, anything-goes mentality. Once the film gets going, it’s a nonstop, high-speed descent into the absurd, with endless bloodletting, demon goop splattering, and laser beam blasting craziness.

While the filmmakers might have been trying to cash in on the success of The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II, Demon Wind is exceptional on its own splattery merits.

17 Possessed II (1984)

Possessed II

Orange Sky Golden Harvest

Possessed II is an out-of-control Hong Kong horror extravaganza about a family who moves into an old apartment that turns out to be haunted by the vengeful spirits of a long-dead woman and her baby boy. Don’t let the seemingly-generic premise fool you, Possessed II is the antithesis of predictable; with endless twists and turns, gallons of fake blood, and riotous scenes of face-tearing and head-melting, this under-seen gem is without a doubt one of the most chaotic oddities in the horror genre.

Oh, and don’t worry about Possessed 1 – it’s unrelated to this film, harder to track down, and considerably less entertaining.

16 Spookies (1986)


Sony Video Software Company

Spookies is a once-forgotten video store treasure that has recently been rediscovered and attracted a small cult following. It’s about a group of traveling friends who seek refuge in an old mansion. They are subsequently attacked by the evil sorcerer and his minions who reside there, which gives way to scene after scene of monster mayhem, demonic possession, and laughably bad acting. No, it’s not a great movie in the usual sense, but it is relentlessly entertaining and totally absurd.

15 Maximum Overdrive (1986)

maximum overdrive

De Laurentiis Entertainment Group

Maximum Overdrive is a campy Stephen King-directed cheese-fest about a horde of possessed, evil semi-trucks that go on a killing spree. With a lead performance by Emilio Estevez, a rocking soundtrack by AC/DC, and a bunch of crazy-looking killer vehicles, Maximum Overdrive is a demented delight. It is an exceedingly odd movie that won’t be for everyone, but its over-the-top violence and comedic tone make for a high-octane experience reminiscent of The Evil Dead, only with more explosions.

Read more 20 Horror References Found In Animated Kids Movies and TV Shows


14 Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (1977)

Death Bed The Bed that Eats
Cult Epics

Death Bed: The Bed That Eats is a surreal, low-budget horror flick about a demon-possessed bed that consumes hapless victims who try to sleep on it. Part schlocky exploitation, part art-house experimentation, Death Bed was produced in the 1970s, but didn’t receive official distribution until 2003.

Inspired by a terrible dream of a man-eating bed, the B-movies of Roger Corman, and European art films, director George Barry made a should-be cult classic out of Death Bed that deserves wider recognition. This unconventional movie is every bit as weird and eccentric as it sounds, and is well worth checking out for fans of absurd horror films.

13 Possession (1981)


Possession is an art-horror masterpiece about a young woman who leaves her family for mysterious reasons and descends into madness, while her dogged husband searches for the reasons why. With its complex themes, metaphorical and haunting imagery, and nonstop chaotic, hallucinatory scenes, the film presents one of the most unique takes on demonic possession in horror history.

In the words of Den of Geek, “Self-mutilation with an electric carving knife, the most unpleasant divorce in the history of cinema, multicolored, viscous pus pouring from every orifice, Isabelle Adjani going mental for 127 minutes and Sam Neill in tight turquoise trousers. You will find all of this and significantly more in director Andrzej Zuwalski’s Possession.

12 Demons (1985)


Lamberto Bava’s Demons is an Italian cult classic about a group of people who find themselves locked inside a movie theater inhabited by hellish creatures who seek to possess and mutilate them. It’s a blood-soaked nightmare from start-to-finish, full of action, stunts, memorable characters, and impressive special effects. Demons is not just a wild possession movie, but one of the all-time great splatter flicks, and a testament to the inventiveness of Italian horror filmmakers of the era of excess.

The 1986 sequel Demons 2 is equally bonkers, and well-worth checking out as well, as it moves the action to a claustrophobic apartment complex very similar to the one featured in the new Evil Dead Rise.

Related: Best War Movies of All Time, Ranked

11 Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922)


Skandias Filmbyrå

Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages is not just the oldest film on this list, but quite possibly the strangest. It is a silent, documentary-style horror film that examines the history of witchcraft through a series of spooky vignettes. Many of the vignettes depict demonic possession, and do so with some truly haunting images, bizarre special effects, and a dark sense of humor.

Two versions of the film exist, one with intertitles and a classical score, and another, cobbled together in 1963 by an American distributor, featuring a jazz soundtrack and deadpan narration from Beat novelist William S. Burroughs. Regardless of the version you pick, Haxan is thoroughly weird stuff that must be seen to be believed.

10 Scarecrows (1988)


Manson International Pictures

Scarecrows is a horror-action hybrid about a band of criminals who land in a cornfield when a heist goes haywire. There they fall prey to an army of possessed scarecrows, and must survive the night by any means necessary. Like Evil Dead II meets Aliens, this movie is packed full of explosive action, grisly gore, wry humor, and terrifying scares. Directed with style by William Wesley, Scarecrows is tons of fun and deserving of more recognition.

9 Black Magic (1975)

Black Magic

Shaw Brothers Studio

Black Magic is a weirdo Hong Kong horror movie about the dangers of buying love potions from evil wizards. An ultra complicated love triangle, possession, boatloads of gonzo sleaze, and buckets of blood await in Black Magic, all capped off with a thrilling duel between two powerful wizards. It stars acclaimed martial artist Lo Lieh and boasts some stunning special effects that hold up remarkably well today.

Also worth checking out is its 1976 sequel Black Magic 2, which is essentially more of the same, but with zombies thrown into the mix (a very welcome addition indeed!).

8 Brain Damage (1988)

Brain Damage

Palisades Entertainment

From New York City-based exploitation auteur Frank Henelotter, director of Basket Case and Frankenhooker, comes Brain Damage – a powerful movie about a man who becomes possessed by an evil parasite attached to his brain that forces him to kill people in order to feed it. When the parasite feeds, its host feels a euphoric sensation, which leads to their symbiotic relationship spiraling out of control. As Collider describes it, “The film juggles between being gory, psychedelic, and funny, all through a very comic book-ish lens.”

7 Malignant (2021)


Warner Bros. Pictures

Malignant is an underrated horror gem about a woman who is tormented by visions of murder that are all too real. What starts out as a creepy though seemingly-predictable procedural thriller takes a shocking body horror turn, and packs plenty of bizarre surprises.

With shades of Dario Argento’s Giallo movies, the aforementioned Frank Henelotter flick Basket Case, and ‘80s Grindhouse classics, James Wan’s Malignant melds genres and visual motifs from all corners of the horror canon into one wacked-out possession jam. The film is polarizing in all its strangeness, but Evil Dead fans are sure to dig it.

6 Devil Fetus (1983)

DEVIL FETUS Lo Wei Motion Picture Company

Lo Wei Motion Picture Company

Yet another ludicrous Hong Kong flick, Devil Fetus is a delightfully delirious gross-out movie about a woman who unleashes a demon from an antique vase that possesses her and goes on a murderous rampage. Although it definitely drags a bit in the middle, the opening is fantastic and the final act is pure exploitation bliss distilled and concentrated.

With music stolen wholesale from The Thing and other ‘80s horror movies, plus a plethora of nasty creature and gore effects on display, Devil Fetus is a prime example of the kind of nonsense that Hong Kong horror films are celebrated for.

5 Alucarda (1977)


Yuma Films
Films 75

An under-seen macabre masterpiece, Alucarda follows two young nuns who decide to dance with the devil, inadvertently opening the gates of hell, which results in demonic possession running rampant in their convent. Satanic and erotic pandemonium ensues, and gives way to sadistic torture, vampire attacks, and a truly disturbing depiction of Satan that is impossible to forget once seen.

Many horror films are commonly described as being “nightmare-like,” but Alucarda is perhaps the best example of such a film; it possesses a surreal, hazy quality that is equal parts beautiful and grotesque, like a morbid nightmare that’s too fascinating to want to wake up from.

4 Nightmare Sisters (1987)

Image Entertainment

David DeCoteau’s Nightmare Sisters is a schlocky horror-comedy about a group of nerdy university students who hold a séance that results in demonic possession. Scream queens Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens, and Michelle Bauer star as the titular sex-hungry she-devils, and wreak havoc upon a house full of geeky guys in this wild and ultra-sleazy cult favorite.

Chock-full of low-brow humor, ridiculous characters, outrageous violence, and salacious succubus seduction, Nightmare Sisters is an unforgettable trashterpiece for the ages.

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