Year: 1974

aka: Possess My Soul

 

Terry Carter as Rev. Emmett Williams

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Directed by: William Girdler

Also Starring: Carol Speed, William Marshall, Austin Stoker

Terry's Character: Rev. Emmett Williams

Genre: Horror

Plot Summary: An intriguing blend of 70's "blaxploitation" and Exorcist clone, William Girdler's Abby is an effective and chilling film that incorporates elements of ancient African spiritualism into the conventions of the demon-possession genre. The story begins in Nigeria, where Professor Williams (Blacula's William Marshall) discovers a suggestive-looking fetish artifact in a cave once used by members of the sinister cult of "Eshu." When the relic is opened, it releases a foul-tempered Eshu demon which quickly kills several people and pursues Williams all the way back to America, where it soon enters the home of the professor's son Reverend Emmett (Terry Carter) and takes possession of the Reverend's proper and lovely wife Abby (Carol Speed). Emmett first begins to suspect something is amiss when Abby attempts suicide during a church picnic, but only after she begins vomiting in church and tormenting his congregation does he realize that her condition may not be mere insanity, and he consults his father for help. By the time the two men finally corner Abby in a sleazy bar, she has already seduced and killed several men. The exorcism is performed right in the bar, as dashiki-clad Williams incorporates both Western and African religious rituals to purge the foul spirit from Abby's body.

Notes: The film was out of circulation for years after Warner Bros. sued American International claiming it was a rip off of their film The Exorcist (1973).

Filmed in Louisville, Kentucky, the production was temporarily halted when a series of tornadoes ripped through Louisville on 4 April 1974. Carol Speed recalled taking refuge with Juanita Moore in the lobby of a hotel that had no tornado shelter. They weathered the storm wrapped in blankets to protect them in case one of the large glass windows exploded.

In addition to the devastating tornadoes that struck during filming, there were more instances of bad luck on the set. Terry broke his ribs filming one scene, and whenever Carol Speed would appear on the set dressed as the demon, the generators would fail. Although some more superstitious people blame it on the demon, Terry stated that he broke his ribs because they forgot to nail down the carpet properly!