Exorcism documentary from William Friedkin looks to be devil of a good time

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Jan 18, 2018

Forty-five years ago, director William Friedkin (The French Connection) made one of the scariest and well-known horror movies ever to be put on celluloid, The Exorcist. The film about a little girl being inhabited by a demon from Hell (based on William Peter Blatty's novel of the same name) freaked out audiences brave enough to see it (some theaters even provided vomit bags to patrons), offended a bunch of religious people (some said the movie "glorified Satan"), and spawned countless imitators. There is no question that The Exorcist was influential and a total game-changer, but Friedkin wasn't just going to scare the bejeesus out of you one time, no siree. 

According to Den of Geek, the 82-year-old filmmaker has completed a project about another exorcism, a documentary titled The Devil and Father Amorth. It will follow  Father Gabriele Amorth, a Roman Catholic priest and former exorcist on behalf of the the Diocese of Rome in Vatican City. While not the Vatican's head demon-expeller, Amorth claimed to have performed thousands of exorcisms while in this role. He also formed the International Association of Exorcists in 1990 and remained its president until 2000. The Devil and Father Amorth will reportedly focus on the priest's ninth excorcism on a single Italian women. Amorth passed away in September of 2016 at the age of 91. 

What possessed Friedkin to undertake such a job? Well, the whole thing wouldn't have happened if not for a chance encounter between the two just months before the priest's death. Friedkin was fascinated by Amorth's stories and decided to follow him around with a camera. In addition, the project might have seemed like a way for the director to return to his roots while exploring the habits of a real-world excorcist. Unfortunately for him, the market has become so oversaturated with possession movies since 1973, particular ones that use the found footage gimmick, that it might be hard to scare audiences, even with a true story. Still, if anyone can recapture that old spine-tingling magic, it's the man who helped forge it. 

The Orchard (the company originally set to release Louis C.K.'s I Love You, Daddy) is planning to release the documentary on April 20.