Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Possession now available in DVD and VCD

Horror legend Sam Raimi presents The Possession, a terrifying tale of unspeakable evil. I watch the DVD with my family and everyone was on the edge of their seats.

Movie Trailer

Here is a press release about the movie and the DVD/VCD release.


Horror legend Sam Raimi presents a terrifying tale of unspeakable evil unleashing on DVD & VCD from Lionsgate Home Entertainment and locally distributed by C-Interactive Digital  Entertainment

“A better-than-most fright-time tale.” - Los Angeles Times

“Delivers its shocks masterfully and without overkill, and offers a new twist on the familiar exorcism formula.” - Salon

The horror hit of the summer, The Possession, produced by celebrated horror filmmaker Sam Raimi (Drag Me To Hell, Evil Dead), along with Robert Tapert (Drag Me to Hell) and J.R. Young (The Messengers) arrives on DVD & VCD from Lionsgate Home Entertainment & Locally Distributed by C-Interactive Digital Entertainment. Headlined by Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen) and
Golden Globe® winner Kyra Sedgwick (TV’s “The Closer”), the supernatural thriller is directed by Ole Bornedal (Nightwatch), and written by Juliet Snowden (Boogeyman) & Stiles White (Knowing).  The chilling tale is based on a true story and co-stars Natasha Calis (TV’s “The Firm”) as a young girl whose body has been taken over by a murderous evil spirit.

The DVD includes an extensive featurette focusing on the eerie true story behind The Possession, along with separate audio commentaries with Bornedal and the film’s writers.  The Possession is available on DVD & VCD for the suggested retail price of Php750.00 and Php250.00, respectively.

Based on a true story, THE POSSESSION is the terrifying story of how one family must unite in order to survive the wrath of an unspeakable evil. 

Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Stephanie Brenek (Kyra Sedgwick) see little cause for alarm when their youngest daughter Em becomes oddly obsessed with an antique wooden box she purchased at a yard sale. But as Em’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic, the couple fears the presence of a malevolent force in their midst, only to discover that the box was built to contain a Dibbuk, a dislocated spirit that inhabits and ultimately devours its human host.

•    Audio commentary with director Ole Bornedal
•    Audio commentary with writers Juliet Snowden and Stiles White
•    “The Real History of the Dibbuk Box” featurette

Street Date: March 26, 2013
Price:  DVD Php750.00 / VCD Php 250.00
Title Copyright: The Possession © 2011 Box Productions, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Artwork & Supplementary Materials © 2013 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Rating: R for mature thematic material involving violence and disturbing sequences
Run Time: 92 minutes
Genre: Horror   
Subtitles: English (Same meaning but not exactly spoken by the cast)
DVD Format: 16x9 Widescreen (2.35:1)
DVD Audio Status: English 5.1 Dolby Digital
Trailer on YouTube:


“I would destroy this thing in a second, except I really don’t have any  understanding of what I may or may not be dealing with . . .” -- From the original ad on Ebay auctioning an antique wooden box said to contain a Dibbuk, a malevolent demon spirit from the Jewish tradition

Warning: Don’t Open The Box

From horror master Sam Raimi and legendary Danish director Ole Bornedal (Nightwatch, The Substitute) comes a contemporary supernatural thriller that is based on a terrifying true story of paranormal events -- and the unleashing of an ancient evil into our 21st Century world.  The film chronicles the experience of one family over 29 days, after they acquire a mysterious antique container, and unsuspectingly let escape an insatiable demonic force that has been lying in wait to take full possession of a human soul.

The descent into fear begins for the Brenek family at a typical weekend yard sale. Newly divorced father Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is still getting used to life apart from his ex-wife Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick), but he sees little cause for alarm when their youngest daughter Em (Natasha Calis) purchases a mysteriously inscribed wooden box that catches her fancy. Yet as soon as she does, awfully strange things start happening. Em becomes increasingly obsessed with the box – to the point that she carries the curious object everywhere.  Her behavior grows darker and darker, even dangerous.  Yet try as he might, Clyde cannot separate Em from the box, not even when Stephanie begins to believe it is causing their daughter to lose her mind. Plagued by one disturbing and inexplicable event after the next, the family is about to unearth the truth of what is really happening to them: they have opened a Dibbuk’s Box . . . and the dislocated spirit warned of in ancient Jewish folklore that had been trapped within now seeks to devour its human host.

Lionsgate and Ghost House Pictures present The Possession, starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchman) and Kyra Sedgwick (“The Closer”), directed by Ole Bornedal and written by Juliet Snowden & Stiles White.  The film’s producers are Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead, Drag Me To Hell, the Spider Man series) Robert Tapert and J.R. Young.

Dibbuks 101

Throughout history, one of the darkest and most relentlessly persistent of human fears has been that of possession – the blood-curdling idea that your body and mind could be overtaken by a hungry, inhuman force with a sinister will of its own.  All manner of demons and phantoms have been rumored to prey on our souls, but unique among them is the Dibbuk.  Written about in Jewish folklore, one type of Dibbuk (which literally means “an attachment”) is said to be a malicious spirit wandering in limbo, which survives by fusing itself to a living person and inhabiting their very flesh.  To keep their harrowing power at bay, carpenters built special arks or boxes to trap the Dibbuks – and the incomprehensible evil they represented -- for all time.
There are stories of Dibbuks going back to the Biblical era.  But heads were recently turned by an unexpected 21st Century emergence that made for chilling news headlines. In 2004, Los Angeles Times journalist Leslie Gornstein uncovered the story of a man who was auctioning a particularly disturbing item on Ebay: what he claimed was an authentic “Dibbuk Box,” one that had beset each of its owners, including himself, with so much unholy terror that he was desperate to be rid of it. His story recounted the box’s harrowing effects on its owners to date.  Hair fell out.  Nightmares stalked entire households. Sudden illnesses struck some owners down, while others saw freakish visions and heard unexplained voices.  And every single owner reported a string of horrific bad luck that the seller likened to “all hell breaking loose.” 

The box drew interest from supernatural investigators around the world, and quickly sold to a university museum curator named Jason Haxton.  Haxton then began to further document its macabre history of tormenting its owners and to examine the peculiar tokens and relics within, aided by Jewish mystics familiar with the myths and legends of the Dibbuk.  Ultimately, the box was traced back to a 103 year-old survivor of the Holocaust, who had brought the sealed vessel with her to America after the war, warning her family (apparently in vain) to never, ever attempt to open it.

The real-life existence of such an accursed box frightened those who already knew about Dibbuks.  One person was reported in The Los Angeles Times to have even begged Haxton to take the photos of the box off the Internet, lest the spirit find its way into someone through that portal.
But the spine-tingling true tale fascinated others – among them Sam Raimi, the filmmaker who has put his own original stamp on the horror film genre with storytelling that is all about the art of the unforeseen surprise.  While going on to the blockbuster success of the Spider Man series, Raimi has always stayed true to his love of a good, primal scare – and of stories that bring audiences face-to-face with the numinous mysteries that remain, even today, hauntingly inexplicable.  Because the Dibbuk Box was completely real – and scaring people out of their minds -- Raimi felt the story had all the makings of a cinematic journey that would have audiences on the edges of their seats and haunted by frights that linger long after the movie is over. 

“We always live with the fear of the unknown,” says Raimi. “And of course we want to know if ghosts and demons really exist or not, and what happens to your spirit when you die.  So when someone tells a story like that of the Dibbuk Box and its terrible, terrible effects on everyone who got close to, it cuts to very core of our most immense fears and desires.  In this real story, we saw a chance to explore some classic horror themes – and make them new for a new generation.” 

Raimi’s production company, Ghost House Pictures, was ready to jump on the concept. “As soon as we read the article in the LA Times, we couldn’t believe this box was really out there in the world,” comments producer J.R. Young.  “Sam said this is exactly the kind of movie Ghost House should be making. It had all the creepy, supernatural qualities to inspire something really special.” 

Adds producer Robert Tapert:  “The story had several new and intriguing elements that Sam and I had never seen before, especially the whole mythology of the Dibbuk.  The fact that there was a horrifying, recent truth behind it that you could find on the internet made it that much more exciting.  It really challenges your beliefs when you read about all the scary things that seem to be happening around this box.”

The box was so frightening that, even as they began development, the team at Ghost House maintained a respectful dread and kept their distance.  “I never got close to the box, nor did I want to,” says Raimi.  “The website itself was scary enough, so the last thing I felt I needed to do was to risk bringing it to my home or office.  The price of finding out more was just too high.” 

While the real Dibbuk Box had been passed from one shell-shocked owner to the next, Ghost House began looking for a way to tell a single story about its macabre history.  They found that in a screenplay by Juliet Snowden and Stiles White.  “They took all the scariest elements of the box’s true history and made it all happen to one family,” says Raimi.  “The family is so relatable that when the fantastical begins to happen to them, that makes it all the more potent.” 

Ghost House was especially excited to collaborate with Lionsgate, with whom they have a deep creative affinity. Notes Tapert:  “Lionsgate is a company that has proven time and time again that they really understand horror movies.”  Adds Raimi:  “The team at Lionsgate brought very intelligent ideas, but at the same time, they let us have creative control.  It turned out to be a wonderful, healthy collaboration.” 

Both Ghost House and Lionsgate were excited to add a new entry to the roster of horror movies based on unsettling news stories.  Among others, The Exorcist was inspired by an article about the real exorcism of a teenaged boy from Maryland; The Amityville Horror was based on George and Kathy Lutz’s experiences living in a Long Island house rocked by occult events; and The Hills Have Eyes was based on an actual story of a cannibalistic clan in Scotland. “When you know what are seeing on screen is linked to real events, that only magnifies your questions and fears,” says Raimi. 

To direct the film, Ghost House and Lionsgate wanted a fresh vision.  They found that in an unexpected source: Ole Bornedal, an award-winning Danish director who makes his long-awaited return to American filmmaking after his spine-tingling suspense thriller Nightwatch.

“Sam and myself are great lovers of cinema and one thing horror films have is the director’s vision printed squarely on the material,” explains Tapert.  “We felt Ole had the experience to really deliver on the horror in this story while also bringing out the interpersonal relationships that allow the audience to personally relate to what is happening to this family.”

Raimi had been intrigued by Bornedal since he saw his film The Substitute, a Danish horror-comedy about a substitute teacher who turns out to be literally from another planet.  “We were big fans of Ole already and when he pitched his approach to The Possession, we were sold,” he recalls.  “Ole saw that all the fear and suspense would hinge on the story of the family.  He has a terrific sense of character and he built the atmosphere around the family being threatened, the family being broken apart, and the family having to find the courage and love to beat back the darkness of this demon.  He really went to great lengths to make what each person is experiencing psychologically real.”   

From the beginning, Bornedal was excited about the story, but he, too, was very wary of the real-life box, wanting to keep the production safe from the source of apprehension that inspired it.  “I was invited to stay with a family who had the Dibbuk Box, but I turned the invitation down,” he admits.  “I heard too many rumors that it’s not a good idea for anyone to be around the real thing.” 

Since it all started with a true story, a disquieting psychological realism became a cornerstone of Bornedal’s approach.  He hoped to explore the enduring theme of an innocent child threatened by all-consuming evil in a more probing, contemporary way. 

“With this movie we wanted to see if we could interpret the genre a little differently,” says Bornedal.  “What we tried to do with this film was to first and foremost make the characters real – and then to show how an authentic modern family might truly react to these terrible, unexplained events.  We wanted not just to show the audience the possession of Em, but to give them the experience of how a little girl reacts emotionally to the devastating realization that she is harboring a demon within her own body.” 

Anxiety and paranoia seep through the Brenek family as they are turned against each other by the Dibbuk – and must fight to regain control from the demon that would not only claim their daughter but destroy their bonds.  “There are no greater stakes than a family trying to survive – and Ole makes that the focal point of the film,” says Young.  “We want audiences jumping out of their seats fifteen times during the movie – but at the same time we want audiences to walk away feeling that all this happened to a real family.” 

The real Dibbuk Box might have been kept far away from the set, but its ghostly presence was felt nonetheless.  Indeed, for cast and crew the production of The Possession would challenge not only their skills but also their courage – as something about the Dibbuk seemed to inspire bone-chilling occurrences throughout. 

 “Strange things happened over the course of this movie,” confesses Young.  “At one point we were scouting for the room where the film’s final exorcism takes place – and suddenly there was a huge ‘boom’ and a light bulb literally exploded.  We had already heard that there were claims that the Dibbuk Box could cause light bulbs to shatter, and then it happened.  One of the previous owners of the box, an antique dealer, had reported that one day he left his shop and his employee called him crying ‘There’s someone in here, there’s someone in here.’  When he returned, every bulb in his shop was smashed.  So when you start making these connections, you start wondering:  what did we bring upon ourselves by getting involved in this movie?” 

The Possession DVD and VCD is now available at all Astrovision, Astroplus, Odyssey, O’Music & Video, select SM Record Bar, select National Bookstore & at all Video City Outlets Nationwide. Locally distributed by C-Interactive Digital Entertainment.

Credits: Press Release including photos provided by C-Interactive

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