“What an excellent day for an exorcism.”

William Friedkin, acclaimed director of The Exorcist, was compelled to return to the world of demonic possession in the new documentary The Devil and Father Amorth. Premiering at the Venice Film Festival, Friedkin’s documentary follows the late Father Gabriele Amortha as he performs his ninth exorcism on an Italian woman. The woman had undergone eight previous exorcisms, around one per month, before the iconic filmmaker stepped in.

Friedkin suggested that “It was terrifying” while speaking to Variety, going on to say, “I went from being afraid of what could happen to feeling a great deal of empathy with this woman’s pain and suffering, which is obvious in the film.”

william friedkin

The director was permitted to film the exorcism alone, and he used a Sony still camera to film the procedure in high definition. Friedkin claims that he had only one camera rolling, and that he was “two feet away from them, probably closer.”

Friedkin consulted with U.S. scientists about the footage, and they informed him that they’d never seen anything like it. According to the director:

“I consulted with neurologists, brain surgeons, some of the best in the United States. The brain surgeons had no idea what her affliction was and none of them would recommend an operation. They believe that everything originates in the brain but — and they say this in the film — they have never seen anything quite like these symptoms….Then the psychiatrists…all described how psychiatry now recognizes demonic possession. It’s called dissociative identity disorder/demonic possession. And if a patient comes in and says they are possessed by a demon or a devil, they don’t tell them that they are not….They do whatever psychiatric treatment they think is necessary, including medication. And they bring an exorcist in.”

Sounds spooky.

The William Friedkin-helmed documentary is sure to create a buzz this fall. Is the power of Christ compelling you to check out The Devil and Father Amorth?

I love writing and I'm an avid film watcher, dating back to my horror-filled childhood. I'm a lover of cheese, both in cinema and edible form. Connect with me on Facebook & Twitter and let's talk horror!

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