The Exorcist defined the demonic possession film in 1973, inspiring a global subgenre that brought us included 1974’s Italian L’Ossessa, 1975’s Spanish Exorcismo and 1977’s Alucarda from Mexico. Even Mario Bava’s ignored Lisa and the Devil transformed several years later as The House of Exorcism in an attempt to jump on the bandwagon. More recently, The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), The Last Exorcism (2010) and The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014) have brought the subject into the second millennium with unique and charismatic visions. Now, flying under the banner of American Guinea Pig – a low-budget gore series that would make Herschell Gordon Lewis giggle, The Song of Solomon joins the list of memorable possession films.
“…a priest with a dark history in dealing with demons joins the battle against Satan…”
In the midst of a world ravaged by war, famine, drought, and disease, a father violently commits suicide in front of his strangely behaving daughter, Mary (Jessica Cameron). Doctor Richardson (Scott Alan Warner) suggests that her mother Susan (Maureen Pelamati) seek spiritual help. The Archdiocese recruits two struggling priests, Father Blake (underground filmmaker Jim Van Bebber) and Father Lawson (Scott Gabbey) to fight the demon, but to no avail. A practically excommunicated former soldier, Father Corbin (Gene Palubicki), is also unsuccessful. Then Father Powell (David E. McMahon), a priest with a dark history in dealing with demons joins the battle against Satan and realizes everything is not as it seems.
While far from the impeccable excellence of The Exorcist, writer/director Stephen Biro has delivered an extremely entertaining gore-fest that remains fun on multiple viewings. Eyes, bones, tongues, and throats all receive gratuitously bloody decimations via excellent practical effects, a refreshing change from the CGI we’re constantly force-fed. You’ll either cringe and look away or cheer in excitement as the screams emanating from the screen. Raising the bar, Cameron’s portrayal of the possessed Mary frankly surpasses every single other performance in the picture. Not surprisingly, Jim Van Bebber also stands out as a tortured, pain-inflicted priest.
“…a fun, extremely gross entry into the canon of possession cinema.”
That said, it’s a little rough around the edges. None of the other actors come anywhere near Cameron or Van Bebber, and Biro’s composition seems more functional than aesthetic despite clearly conveying claustrophobia. These are minor problems, however, and will not interfere with the enjoyment of anyone used to HG Lewis, the original Japanese Guinea Pig series or extreme Italian grindhouse horror.
The Song of Solomon succeeds as a fun, extremely gross entry into the canon of possession cinema. Those expecting the high art of Friedkin, Polanski or Kubrick will find a million reasons to hate it, but anyone craving a few beers with a side of blood and guts will have one hell of a party. Invite some friends over and see who squirms.
The Song of Solomon (2017) Directed by Stephen Biro. Written by Stephen Biro. Starring Jessica Cameron, David E. McMahon, Gene Palubicki, Jim Van Bebber, Scott Gabbey, Andy Winton, Maureen Pelamati, Scott Alan Warner, Josh Townsend and Jeff Shedden.
8 out of 10 stars