The Possession of Joel Delaney (1972)

Directed by: Waris Hussein

Written by: Matt Robinson & Irene Kamp
Ramona Stewart (Novel)


.... Norah Benson
Perry King .... Joel Delany
Lisa Kohane .... Carrie Benson
David Elliott .... Peter Benson
Michael Horndern .... Justin
Miriam Colon .... Veronica
Lovelady Powell .... Erika

Release Dates: Theatrical: May 24, 1972; Berlin International Film Festival: June, 1972





A recently divorcee mother named Norah Benson (Shirley MacLaine) starts to suspect strange happenings with her brother Joel Delaney (Perry King) as he has been acting obnoxious at times as well as encountering some decapitations that he's been a suspect for.
She finds out that his body is being possessed by a maniac of a spirit that was once a Puerto Rican whom has beheaded other women in his culture.


We spot many pointless situations on discussions at a party in which this seemed to make the story come off a bit slow.
However there's a brief suspenseful moment involving the title character Joel when he skates with his niece Carrie in circles as there's good circling shots on the two of them and he's going too fast for her as this leaves a hint that he is slowly becoming possessed.
The story becomes slow in many other spots as you wonder if this is a horror story or a drama while you continue to watch everything but then we do spot a near suspenseful moment with Joel on the phone in a dark room speaking coldly and then later on going crazy while the police take him away. Leaves you hinting that the horror is yet to come but it doesn't look overly intense like it should've been.
We do spot some nicely focused situations between Joel and his sister Norah in a mental hospital yet when we spot the patients it looks a little too normal and not them acting nutty like you'd expect in a horror story.
There's a moment when Joel is at a wild dance bar and he forces a woman to dance with him which looked mildly disturbing and making you wonder if a fight will break out as there's more hints that he's possessed but this situation looked more like a crime scene.
There's a good intense and powerful moment with him being forceful towards this woman by fornicating with her as this makes you cringe wondering if he will be worst towards her or not.
Also a nice uplifting moment with Joel on his birthday as we spot alot of fun with him being with the woman he picked up as well as his sister and her kids when they run outside with a balloon and this was a nice touch to the story that I must admit but yet slows it down too wondering where the horror is gonna kick in yet. However when the cake came with candles drew you in as he was putting the woman's hair towards the candles of the cake as this leaves you in suspense wondering if he's going to try and burn her.
Then a good moment with Norah going to the apartment of this woman to drop off her earring and then do we ever spot a gruesome moment as well as a good close up shots on her staring in shock as now the horror starts up greatly here. However the scene looked a little too long.
We spot another situation that involves the maid Veronica even as he speaks a different language and acts obnoxious as I was thinking that finally the horror is about to unravel here and boy did things look intense while we spot on what's going on here.
A nice strong confrontation with Norah towards Veronica about what was happening and why she quit as this draws you in as to what was said and done on the whole scheme. Also some nice moments with the detective Justin questioning Norah about her brother about his behavior and being forced in for questioning.
Then we spot a character doing a ceremony with Norah watching all of this as at first it looked too unconvincing and long making the moment look like a bore but yet the client he tries to exorcise looked intense going berserk and wrecking stuff as this for sure looked extremely wild and disturbing.
A perfect moment with Nroah taking her kids to an isolated beach resort area and then when she gets something from the fridge and spots something grissly as well as Joel crashing in and forcing her and her kids to do disturbing things along with torture as all of this looked extremely hard to watch. For sure alot of cringing moments but it was becoming a little too long as we hope eventually a vengeful moment will happen here.
Bottom line is that although there's the odd effective moment in this flick the film is incredibly slow and confusing as it also seems very unorganised by all that is happening in which you can't tell by what is happening here. Skip this and watch the Exorcist instead.

The acting is well performed but only a few are worth mentioning here in which (Norah Benson) was terrific as the single mother in the film with her nice wholesome looks as well as a perfect calm behavior too. She really focused well by what she was talking about towards someone else and knew on how to get into character a great deal here. She also does well losing her mind and getting emotional as she packs a punch by doing this looking mighty intense as well. Plus was great when she acts upset by being victimised as well as sobbing when she is forced to do stuff as she made this look realistic.
Perry King
(Joel Delany) in his first starring film role as he seems rather dull at first and seems a bit rough but yet shows it off greatly when the ball is rolling acting very full of life at his birthday party in which he really focused on his happiness. Also does well acting crazy or possessive too. Also does well with his intense and forceful attitude too. Plus does well speaking a different language and acting like a totally different person in general. Plus was great with his crying emotions too. Has perfect powerful blocking when he's acting forceful and violent and sounding different in his voice too. Yes indeed he deserves an award for his performance here a great deal.
Michael Horndern
(Justin) seemed to carry on well as one of those nice guy detectives but serious about his work in which he draws in well questioning one of the actors and getting into his role quite well. Has the right mr nice guy looks too. Also does a nice job showing his concenred attitude as well. For sure he studied this role inside out.
Miriam Colon (Veronica) had the most effective supporting role of all the cast in which does well as a maid in the film plus was good revealing her troubled behavior by what was going on reacting well to stuff. Also does a nice job by discussing something heavily in which she got into this greatly. Shows alot of effort and enthusiasm into her part as well as having a nice strong accent too as this shines off well.
Lovelady Powell
(Erika) does well with her soft speaking voice as a counsellor as she's very clear within her words. Also shows a good sharp attitude reavealing one of those perfectly understanding types. Shoe really shows a nice focus within her actions as well as showing some convicningly positive reactions to stuff. Was a true character actress.

A woman briefly exposes her breasts while she is forced to having sex
A child is briefly seen naked mostly a butt shot when he is forced to dnce naked but has a towel mainly wrapped around him later on.

Decapitated head and the lifeless body is revealed on a bed.
Another decapitated hed is near a refridgerator.

The music shows a nice dark feel in certain spots as we hear the odd breathing sounds and so fourth. Also there's some good clear chiming sounds which grabs your attention used in many moments of the story. Also there's good strong quiverring violin music adding to the real bizarre moments in the story like the crowded streets of New York with the strange surroundings of the people. Also the odd good strong piano playing was used too. We hear many tapping and odd drumbeats which has a perfect voodoo sound to everything which fits in nicely. All of this was composed by Joe Raposo