Unburied Trailers: The Most Demented Exorcist Knock-offs!

by "Penguin" Pete Trbovich on September 04th, 2018 | , | , ,

The Exorcist (1973) was kind of a big deal. Yes, even Sourpuss Petey who managed to find something critical to say of it in my review, I still had to say parts of it lived up to the greatest horror movie ever made.

But the bottom line is that that movie made money, which led to the inevitable Exorcist knock-offs, and that gave us one of the greatest periods for B-movie horror in history! It was the perfect storm of the bell-bottom 1970s, the golden age of Italian Giallo, the American Satanic Panic, and film-makers fumbling around with no idea what to do with demons. Horror films for decades had been dominated by vampires, werewolves, mad scientists, Poe and Lovecraft, and now all of a sudden it was demon season. “What the hell’s a demon?” “I dunno, but just stick horns on one of our monster props and find a girl who can act crazy, they’ll never know the difference!”

So we’re presenting a special edition of Unburied Trailers: Exorcist knock-offs, from the decade where everybody in the 1970s replaced their beds with mechanical bull rides.

Beyond the Door (1974)

Pretty standard Giallo stuff. Possessed deep-voice little girl, an uncanny-valley levitation that looks stupid if you’re grown up but will traumatize you for life if you see it as a tyke, and kids’ furniture and toys acting like Mary Poppins forget to turn the magic off. There’s lots crazier coming yet, but Beyooooond the Dooooor gets the special nod for being sloppy first. And yes, that is Juliet Mills, whom you know better from the 1971 TV sitcom Nanny and the Professor.

Abby (1974)

American blaxploitation cinema quickly followed suit. What the debbil has gotten into the minister’s wife? It says here on the label that she’s been possessed by “Eshu,” (Gesundheit!) and I’m quoting, “the Nigerian god of sexuality.” Demon, god, whatever, it’s gonna take some down home Southern Baptist lovin’ to de-god her. Wait, if a priest is the servant of a god who casts out demons, wouldn’t you need a demonic priest to cast out a god? No, forget it, don’t answer that.

Exorcism (1975)

Don’t get your hopes up, because this is not Exorcism by Jess “How many boobs can I cram into a movie and still get away with calling it horror?” Franco. This is the Spanish 1975 Exorcist knock-off also called Exorcismo – pay attention, there’s a test later. Anyway, standard tropes, girl on flying bed, priest, blah blah. This one stands out with some charmingly childish dark-ride props and make-up, a dog attack on the stairs, (probably because the girl prop for the running-downstairs-backwards scene didn’t work), and this guy jumping through the world’s most fake breakaway glass.

Black Magic (1977)

The alternate title of this movie is Jadu Tona. The trailer may be lost to history, but to compensate, (a) the full movie’s right there to watch on the movie’s page, help yourself, and (b) this clip makes a better trailer for the movie than anything marketing could have conceived of anyway. If you thought Giallo knock-offs were silly, they ain’t got nothing on Bollywood! Jadu Tona gets right to business by ripping the Exorcist theme for its opening credits, with a big target painted on its ass saying “Sue me!” No telling if the possession is by demons or nitrous oxide, because she can not stop laughing. And yes, the whole movie is just like this! It never shuts up! Now get up on the ceiling and dance, dance, dance!

The Manitou (1978)

And then the mainstream American studio system said “You think that’s a crazy Exorcist knock-off? Hold my beer!” And lo came The Manitou, where… well, like the trailer says, the worst zit ever on this gal’s back turns out to be the 400-year-old spirit of a Native American shaman or something. Complete with offensive Tonto stereotypes, this movie tries to coyly replace Christian demons with Indian hoodoos and hopes nobody will notice, but they can’t fool us. And yes, holy goat’s pentagrams, that is Tony Curtis. For extra icing on the crazy, it seems like they even tried to start ripping off Star Wars by the end there, with that *Haduken!* laser blast.

We hope you enjoyed visiting this list as much as we enjoyed compiling it. There were many more Exorcist knock-offs (the 1973 classic basically spawned a whole exorcism horror genre, after all), but these were just the ones whose insanity oozed out into the trailer. There’s so many of these that we almost could have done a part two… and perhaps someday we will!

Unburied Trailers: The Most Demented Exorcist Knock-offs at All HorrorTweet it

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Writer, artist, prophet, cult leader. Take good care of my memes. I’ve raised them since they were daydreams.

One thought on “Unburied Trailers: The Most Demented Exorcist Knock-offs!

  1. A non-horror digression:

    I say “Nanny and the Professor” was a 1971 series. That’s because it only lasted 54 episodes, but it ran the rounds in rerun syndication all through the domestic-sitcom-happy ‘70s. Juliette Mills’ character was a magical nanny tending to the children of the Professor, played by Richard Long, whom you know from 1959‘s “House on Haunted Hill” – hey, look, we’re back to horror!

    Anyway, “Nanny and the Professor” was yet another knock-off of the magical-female trope which took media by storm after the surprise success of “Mary Poppins.” Suddenly we had “Bewitched,” “The Flying Nun,” and of course “I Dream of Jeannie,” all cycling through syndicated rerun valhalla. With all that competition, N&tP failed to stand out, even though it carried on the Mary Poppins tradition of Americans pretending to be British.

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