The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
What happened to Emily?
The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
|A young girl dies under the care of her parish priest. While attending
college, Emily believed she became possessed. After medical care ceases
to work, she turned to her faith.
In the care of her priest she dies and
he goes on trial for her death. He is represented by a career-minded
and driven lawyer who does not believe in God.
Thus is the story of
Emily Rose, told by those in the trial and the priest who watched her
through her possession.
The screenplay was written by director Scott Derrickson and Paul Harris
Boardman; in honor of the contributions of Boardman and other
collaborators on the film, Derrickson chose to forgo the traditional
"film by" credit.
According to Derrickson's DVD commentary, he chose Boardman as his
co-writer because Derrickson sees himself as a believer and Boardman as a
skeptic, and believed the pairing would provide the screenplay with two
Thus providing the film some ambiguity as to
whether it supports a religious/ supernatural interpretation of the
events depicted, or a more secular/ medical interpretation.
The character of Emily Rose was inspired by the true story of Anneliese
Michel, a young German Catholic woman who died in 1976 after
unsuccessful attempts to perform an exorcism upon her with psychotropic
The court accepted the version according to which she was
epileptic, refusing to accept the idea of supernatural involvement in
Two priests involved in the exorcism, as well as her parents, were found
guilty of manslaughter resulting from negligence and received prison
time (which was suspended), generating controversy.
Michel's grave has
become a place of pilgrimage for many Catholics who believe she atoned
for wayward priests and sinful youth, and honor her as an unofficial
German director Hans-Christian Schmid launched his own
treatment of Anneliese Michel's story, Requiem, around the same time in
The Exorcism of Emily Rose is a 2005 American horror film directed by Scott Derrickson. The film is loosely based on the story of Anneliese Michel and follows a self-proclaimed agnostic defense lawyer representing a parish priest who is accused by the state of negligent homicide after he performed an exorcism.
The film, which largely takes place in a courtroom, depicts the events leading up to and including the exorcism through flashbacks.
Anneliese Michel was born on September 21, 1952 in Leiblfing, Bavaria, Germany. Michel was raised in an observant Catholic family.
Reportedly a devout girl, she tried to make reparations for the sins of wayward priests and drug addicts by sleeping on a bare floor during the dead of winter.
In 1968, when Anneliese was 16 and still in high school, she began to suffer from convulsions. Court findings had her experiencing her first epileptic attack in 1969. Soon, Anneliese started experiencing hallucinations while praying, and also began to hear voices telling her that she was "Damned".
By 1973 Anneliese was suffering from depression and considering suicide. Her behavior became increasingly bizarre; she tore off her clothes, ate coal and spiders off the floor, and licked up her own urine.
In 1975, 22-year-old Anneliese went on a pilgrimage with a good friend of the family, Thea Hein, who organized regularly such pilgrimages to "holy places" not officially recognized by the church. Because Anneliese was unable to walk past a certain icon of Jesus Christ and refused to drink the water of a holy spring, her escort concluded that she was suffering from demonic possession.
Thea Hein, convinced that Anneliese Michels was possessed by demons and that the "doctor's story about epilepsy" was ridiculous, searched for a priest to perform an exorcism. Most priests told her that Anneliese should see a doctor.
Eventually she came across vicar Ernst Alt in a nearby town, who, after seeing Anneliese Michels, found that he didn't see Anneliese having seizures and she doesn't "look like an epileptic", contrary to the medical opinion of the doctors. He believed she was suffering from demonic possession.
The Story of Anneliese Michel
Alt urged the bishop to issue a permission to perform exorcism. Bishop Joseph Stangl issued the permission for an actual rite of exorcism according to the Rituale Romanum of 1614 in September 1975, to pater Renz, who did perform the first session on September 24.
At some time, they stopped medical treatment, putting her faith solely in the hands of two priests performing exorcisms.
The rites of exorcism were performed over the course of about ten months between 1975 and 1976. A total of sixty-seven exorcism sessions were held, one or two each week, some lasting up to four hours.
At some point she began talking increasingly about dying to atone for the wayward youth of the day and the apostate priests of the modern church, and refused to eat. Though she had received treatment for epilepsy by this time, at her own request, doctors were no longer being consulted after Anneliese mentioned the "demons" to the doctors, explaining that they started to give her orders.
The doctors seemed unable to help, and Anneliese lost hope that medicine was going to be able to cure her of her problems.
On July 1, 1976, Anneliese Michel died in her sleep. The autopsy report stated that her death resulted from malnutrition and dehydration due to almost a year of semi-starvation during which time the rites of exorcism were also performed. She weighed only 68 pounds (30.91 kilograms).