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Exorcism, The (1972)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Edmund shows Dan around the cottage that he and his wife Rachel have recently renovated. Dan's wife Margaret helps Rachel prepare Christmas dinner. Edmund says that his father, an old-style socialist, greatly dislikes their affluent lifestyle.

Rachel plays the clavichord they have bought. She stops, realising that she has no idea what the tune is. Seeing her distress, the others reassure her that she has merely forgotten it. Dan thinks that the mind plays tricks and that thoughts can travel through space and time. To prove that anyone is prone to the power of suggestion, he blindfolds Margaret and tells her he is going to slash her cheek with a cutthroat razor. He then presses an ice cube against her face, making her scream in fear.

They sit at the dinner table as Edmund carves the turkey. There is a power cut, so Edmund lights several candles. He is concerned that the phone has also been cut off. He sips some of Dan's wine, but spits it out, claiming it tastes like blood. The others say it tastes fine. They start to eat, but soon they are all in pain, apparently poisoned. Rachel flees to her room, where she sees the skeleton of a child.

Dan suggests they leave as they are falling prey to group hallucinations, but finds that the door won't open, the windows can't be unlocked or broken and that there is no light at all outside. The house begins to shake, the new plaster falling off the walls. Rachel falls into a trance, and relates the experiences of a young woman whose husband was hanged when trying to obtain food for her and their two starving children, while the squire and his family indulged themselves in sumptuous meals. After her husband's death, the wife returned to their house, locked herself and the children in, and waited to die from starvation, hoping that at least the house would recall the injustice of their deaths. Edmund, Dan and Margaret follow Rachel back to the bedroom, which is as it must have looked centuries before, and where they see the emaciated corpses of the woman and her children. Margaret says that she and the others have been deliberately chosen.

The electricity returns. The television newscaster reports that the four friends have been found dead, apparently from starvation, even though the cottage was laden with food.