Irish exorcists advise on 'very real' paranormal film


FILMING IS coming to an end on a new Irish horror film The Exorcism Diaries, at Ballintubbert House near Stradbally Co Laois. It was home to the late Anglo-Irish poet and British poet laureate Cecil Day-Lewis, father of actor Daniel Day-Lewis and documentary film-maker Tasmin Day-Lewis.

Film director Eric Courtney said yesterday the 90-minute feature was about demonic possession involving a young girl, but it was not of the “head spinning” variety. It was “very, very real in the Ken Loach style”, he said. It centres on two students who come across an exorcism scene. The story is told from their point of view. The film script by Martin Robinson is based on two books, The Dark Sacrament by David Kiely and Hostage to the Devil by Malachi Martin, a deceased former Jesuit priest from Ballylongford in Kerry. The latter book is based on five exorcisms he witnessed.

As part of his research for the film Mr Courtney met two Catholic priests who are exorcists here in Ireland, Fr Pat Collins and Canon William Landrum, with whom he discussed their experience of exorcisms.

In an appearance on RTÉ One television’s Late Late Show in January 2006, both priests told Pat Kenny there had been an increase in paranormal activity in Ireland and that they were finding it difficult to meet the demand for exorcisms. They claimed there was a popular perception these days that there was no such thing as ghosts, spirits or demons, and as a result people experiencing such phenomena were not taken seriously. They also said they would like the church to take the matter more seriously and train new exorcists.

Filming on The Exorcism Diaries has been wrapping up for the past two weeks at Ballintubbert House. Editing should be completed by January, allowing the film to be ready for the US and European festival circuit by the middle of next year.

In 2008 Courtney directed Seer, the story of seven strangers who wake up in a remote house in Wexford with no memory and a tag on their wrists to tell them their names.