Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Possession of Joel Delaney (1972)


Nora's beloved brother Joel's recent homecoming from Tangiers, initiates a succession of unfortunate events. Within days he is admitted to a psych ward for attacking the superintendent of his apartment building. Leaving Nora with no choice but to use her social connections to get him released into her care.

Since his arrival, Joel speaks of an acquaintance, Tonio. A troubled Puerto Rican youth and suspect in a series of murders committed the year prior. The victims were all female, found with their heads chopped off.

Even at the cost to her cosmopolitan lifestyle, Nora remains devoted to her brother. Who's increasingly erratic and violent behavior leads her to a Botanica in Spanish Harlem. One of the employees, Don Pedro, offers to assist in her plight, proposing that she attend a Santeria ritual. A practice that is only effective if the participant believes. Still skeptical, but desperate Nora attends the rite, bringing with her a piece of Joel's clothing.

After entering Don Pedro's home, she is introduced to Tonio's bereaved mother.
Nora then proceeds to ask the woman to tell her son to cease contact with her brother. Only to realize that Tonio has been dead for quite some time. Tonio's mother also suspects that her son's restless spirit now resides in Joel. And with his known inclinations for violence and murder, it is only a matter of time before his malevolent influence completely takes over.

Looks like it's time for an seance!


If not for the exceedingly cruel final 15 minutes, this film probably would have stayed completely under the radar. Which is a shame, because this underrated gem is quite a nasty little flick.

The ending garners the most notoriety for the the full frontal nudity of a minor, Nora's young son, Peter. The scene is still intact, but the young boy's privates are obscured for the DVD release (which is fine with me!) Regardless, what pans out is still really unsettling.

Another notable scenario that absolutely made my flesh crawl, was the Santeria seance. It starts off harmless enough, before it develops into a full on sensory assault, and watching Shirley Maclaine's visible unease as she is swept up into the hysterics is also undeniably chilling.

Availability:  The DVD is still in print. As for VHS versions, some of which are said to
have kept the adolescent nude scene completely uncensored. Is more costly to procure.
Of all the things to see, a few extra seconds of some young kids wiener, is not one of them.
But to each their own, I suppose.

Price: DVD (2-8$) VHS (24-44$)

Screen Captures: (No copyright infringement intended.)


Mark Ayala said...

Great article! Just found your blog by accident and I'm very impressed that someone writes so well about great trash. I am also happy to report than I was the 666 person to view your profile as well. Keep up the work!

Toxaemia said...

Ha, awesome! I am happy to hear that you enjoyed the review.

Thanks again for the positive feedback!