We’re all aware that Star Wars was released in May 1977, which completely changed the careers of everyone involved, as well as pop culture forevermore. But in the very same month that Star Wars was released and transformed Harrison Ford‘s life, a cheap, made-for-TV imitation of The Exorcist was also released, and Ford has a supporting role.
The Possessed was launched straight onto NBC television on May 1, 1977, so it didn’t even get a theatrical release. It borrows liberally from two of the best horror movies of the 70s – The Exorcist and Carrie. Harrison Ford plays a teacher called Paul Winjam, who works at a Catholic all-girls college and has been having affairs with all-and-sundry – including the headmistress, and at least one student.
But fear not, Winjam meets his comeuppance fairly early on, because a plague of spontaneous combustion is happening at the college, and his jacket bursts into flames. He is locked into his classroom and the young woman he’s having an affair with – who we kid you not, is called Weezie – watches through a window while Winjam burns to death. Poor Weezie and Winjam – a couple who burned too brightly for their bizarre names.
The Possessed and Star Wars coming out at almost the exact same time really clearly demonstrates the two very different paths that Harrison Ford could have gone down in his career. He’d already made American Graffiti and The Conversation by this point, but it was obviously Star Wars that launched him into the stratosphere.
Some scenes in The Possessed are reminiscent of one of the best moments in Raiders of the Lost Ark, which sees the legendary student who has LOVE YOU written on her eyelids and slow blinks while being taught by Indiana Jones – and whom amongst us wouldn’t?
Check out our guide to the best adventure movies and to the Star Wars movies ranked. You can read our review of Indiana Jones 5 to find out what we thought. We’re looking forward to seeing Ford in 1923 season 2, as well as to Yellowstone season 5 part 2.