Furs on Film – The Possession Of Joel Delaney (1972)

Let the horror themes continue. Up next: possession. I was so ready to make Exorcist knock-off jokes about this movie, but it had the audacity to be released the year before The Exorcist. It even contains an exorcism of sorts. So get your fill of the furs in The Possession Of Joel Delaney, with a side of social inequality, incest, and a decapitated head or two.

The Possession Of Joel Delaney – The Film

It’s about a guy named Joel, and he gets possessed. 

Okay, here are some additional details, primarily to provide what might be helpful information regarding gauging your tolerance for viewing at something other than 16x fast forward, as I did. The protagonist is Norah, Joel’s sister (put a pin in that one). And, while not shown on screen, you will be in for a couple of paper mache heads and other disturbing imagery. Cruise on by the Wikipedia article for all the details before jumping in.

The Possession Of Joel Delaney – The Fur

Shirley MacLaine in a Raccoon Fur Hat and Trimmed Mink Coat - The Possession Of Joel Delaney 1972

Meet wealthy divorcee Norah Benson (Shirley MacLaine). How can we tell she’s rich? It’s a subtle filmmaking trick I’ll let you all in on: she’s wearing a -trimmed coat and matching hat.

Shirley MacLaine in a Raccoon Fur Hat and Trimmed Mink Coat - The Possession Of Joel Delaney 1972

So, interesting but probably a coincidental connection. The raccoon is similar to one of the furs MacLaine wore years previously in What A Way To Go! Sadly, I am not referring to the enormous pink fox cape.

Shirley MacLaine in a Raccoon Fur Trimmed Mink Coat and Lisa Kohane in a Fur Trimmed Cape - The Possession Of Joel Delaney 1972

Brother Joel goes a little crazy one night and gets arrested. Norah follows them to Bellvue, where she meets up with her ex-husband and his new wife, Carrie (Lisa Kohane), wearing a fur-trimmed cape. Not sure what it is; it’s dark, and the scene’s lighting does not do much to accentuate it.

Norah puts on her investigation hat and visits Joel’s apartment. Her investigation hat is probably stone marten or maybe sable. I’m curious if the costume department forgot the matching raccoon hat and had to improvise.

Shirley MacLaine in a Stone Martin fur Hat and Barbara Trentham in a Cross Fox Fur Coat - The Possession Of Joel Delaney 1972

There she meets Joel’s ex-girlfriend, Sherry (Barbara Trentham). Sherry has a lovely full-length coat.

Barbara Trentham in a Cross Fox Fur Coat - The Possession Of Joel Delaney 1972

I feel any question of Joel’s mental stability can be put to rest by knowing he broke up with a lady with such excellent taste in furs. Also, he kills her later, but that’s a minor detail.

Norah springs little bro by lying about his drug use after a chat in the psychiatric ward. During that chat, something… interesting… happens. This is not commented on; presumably, we’re left to assume a certain mental instability is to blame. Guess that checks out.

Shirley MacLaine in a Stone Martin Fur Hat and Raccoon Trimmed Mink Coat - The Possession Of Joel Delaney 1972

The mink-marten-raccoon phase of the film ends when Norah returns to Sherry’s apartment after getting Joel out of the hospital to find Sherry decapitated. The film heavily suggests Joel accomplishes this with a switchblade, and I’m pretty sure that is a superhuman feat. The movie humbly requests you not think about it, though.

Some “interesting” choices are made in this scene, notably Norah’s extended reaction to the decapitated corpse. In fairness, it may qualify as foreshadowing, but Joel is the formerly possessed individual at this point. That’s doubling up, and I call cheating.

Shirley MacLaine in a Lambskin Hat and Trimmed Coat - The Possession Of Joel Delaney 1972

The lambskin phase begins after that. I’m not going to belabor this, but rest assured, if you enjoy this content, the film will deliver quite a lot. To be clear, I do not find this the least bit interesting.

So, let’s look at the numbers because the film is notable either way you slice it. And slice it, I have, just like Joel with a switchblade. If you count only the mink, martin, and raccoon furs, you get about thirteen minutes of content and a 12.5% ratio. If you bundle the lambskin in, you get almost half an hour of content and an entry into the 20% club. For me, it’s like a monkey’s paw wish for a movie with almost 30% fur. Most of it is lambskin! Noooo!

Now that’s a horror movie.

Mink/Martin/Raccoon Fur Runtime: approx 13 minutes
Film Runtime: 105 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 12.5%

With Lambskin Fur Runtime: approx 28 minutes
Film Runtime: 105 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 27%

Find-a-Fur: The Possession Of Joel Delaney, 1972

(all times are approximate and are affected by the cut of the film)

  • 07:36 – raccoon hat and trim on a mink coat
  • 11:10 – 16:10 – ”
  • 16:10 – 23:10 – stone martin hat + cross fox coat
  • 33:30 – bedding (snuggles)
  • 43:20 – stone martin hat + raccoon/mink coat
  • 49:50 – 1:05:35 – lambskin hat and trimmed coat
  • 1:19:15 – 1:30:20 – lambskin trimmed coat

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