Repossessed (1990) poster

Repossessed (1990)


USA. 1990.


Director/Screenplay – Bob Logan, Producer – Steve Wizan, Photography – Michael D. Margulies, Music – Charles Fox, Visual Effects – Stargate Films Inc (Supervisor – Sam Nicholson), Special Effects – Reel EFX Inc, Makeup Effects – Steve LaPorte, Production Design – Shay Austin. Production Company – Carolco.


Leslie Nielsen (Father Jedidiah Mayii), Linda Blair (Nancy Aglet), Anthony Starke (Father Luke Brophy), Ned Beatty (Ernest Weller), Lana Schwab (Fanny Weller), Thom J. Sharp (Braydon Aglet), Jesse Ventura & Gene Okerlund (Themselves)


In 1973, Father Jedidiah Mayii exorcises a demon that has possessed young Nancy Aglet. In the present day, Nancy is married with two children when she suddenly becomes possessed again. Mayii has lost his faith and has a weak heart so the exorcism is handed over to TV evangelists Ernest and Fanny Weller. However, the demon turns the Wellers into pantomime jackasses, having only used them to get the largest tv audience in the world. Mayii must overcome his lack of faith in order to complete the exorcism.

Repossessed clearly wants to do for The Exorcist (1973) what Airplane (1980) did with the Airport films. The makers are clearly aiming at Airplane and the string of Zucker-Abrahams parodies that followed – The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad (1988) and Hot Shots! Part Deux (1993) and sundry imitators – in adopting the same kinetic visual style. This become pointedly the case in the casting of Leslie Nielsen who discovered a latter day fame of sorts as a live-action cartoon character in many of these parody films.

Repossessed‘s one coup is the casting of Linda Blair, now in her thirties and relishing the opportunity to parody her role in The Exorcist, something that she will no doubt forever be remembered for. However, doing a parody on The Exorcist is of rather limiting potential as Repossessed quickly discovers. It runs out of energy even fifteen minutes in and the exorcism scenes are drawn out to take up more than half the film.

Anthony Starke, Leslie Nielsen and Linda Blair in Repossessed (1990)
(l to r) Priests Anthony Starke and Leslie Nielsen and a now grown-up Linda Blair

As per Airplane, the film comes with a good deal of quick shot visual slapstick. Some of the gags are occasionally amusing – like the moments the kids suggest that the vomiting and deep-voice is just PMS, or the ouija board sequence where it is asked if Ted Kennedy will ever become President whereupon the planchette flies across the room and causes a toy car to plunge into a fish-tank.

The film at its best conceiving, but never achieving, a parody of Jim and Tammi Faye Bakker and at its worst revelling in sexist and scatological gags. More often than not Repossessed misses – the gags just keep going one after the other but they are fairly moronic and there is no sophistication to any of them.

Bob Logan was a minor director and writer who mostly worked in tv and directed a half-dozen other comedy films. His only other genre work of note was as creator of the animated tv series Ghostbusters (1986-7).

Trailer here

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