Possession horror from the inside
September 9, 2019 2:20 PM   Subscribe

Please help me find works of horror fiction that deal with demonic-or-otherwise possession and are told from the possessed person's point of view.

Most possession horror I've encountered has been from the point of view of people interacting with a possessed person. I'd like to find some, if it's out there, that deals with the horror of being that possessed person. If they're not the only POV character, than I'd at least like them to be a major one. I'm open to books, movies, or various kind of audio media.

This question brought to you by episodes 19 and 20 of The Magnus Archives, which are a good example of the sort of thing I'm looking for.

Thank you!
posted by darchildre to Media & Arts (25 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
The middle chapters of Heinlein's The Puppet Masters are told from the protagonist's point of view while possessed by an extraterrestrial brain slug. Most of the novel reads as all-too-familiar because of the number of books and movies that have copied it, and the beginning and ending add little of interest to a modern audience, but that center section is chilling.
posted by drdanger at 2:37 PM on September 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

Pandemonium, by David Gregory. It's really good!

"A world like our own in every respect… save one: Beginning in the 1940’s, random acts of possession begin to occur. Ordinary men, women, and children are seized by entities that seem to spring from the depths of the collective unconscious—pop-culture avatars that some call demons.

When Del Pierce was five years old, he was possessed by the entity called the Hellion. Twenty-three years later it’s back, trapped inside his head and clamoring to get out. He needs an exorcism, by any means necessary.

The answers may lie in a handful of golden-age comics, a series of demon-created paintings, and his own childhood memories."

(You can download the first chapter for free at the link.)
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 2:56 PM on September 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

Let The Right One In (the book way moreso than either movie adaptation) has a really good description of a woman slowly realizing that she's turned into some kind of vampire. IT IS GREAT and horrifying
posted by capnsue at 2:56 PM on September 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

Roger Dee's "Unwelcome Tenant" (available in this anthology) is an awesome twist on POV possession - or, in this case, dispossession - horror.
posted by googly at 2:59 PM on September 9, 2019

Lord of Light has a brief but good possession bit in the middle.
posted by inkyz at 3:41 PM on September 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

The Brian Li Sung arc of Matt Wagner's Grendel gets into it.
posted by vrakatar at 3:44 PM on September 9, 2019

The Devil Inside (but there is some serious/consent dubious BDSM involved.)
posted by jeszac at 3:44 PM on September 9, 2019

Scott Sigler's _Infected_, One of the POV characters is 'possessed' by microscopic alien invaders that appear as tiny fibers coming out of the victim's skin. Yes, this is a novel about Morgellons.
posted by hanov3r at 3:55 PM on September 9, 2019

The Things by Peter Watts is The Thing told from the Alien's perspective.
posted by Candleman at 4:17 PM on September 9, 2019 [3 favorites]

Maybe Rosemary's Baby, book and film? The main POV is Rosemary's, and (spoiler alert?) she's carrying the devil's baby.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 4:37 PM on September 9, 2019

The Host is an SF novel where the major POV character is the alien parasite who has taken over a human, but the human has not disappeared completely, so while not in control of her body she "talks" to the parasite regularly, and so is a major character in the book.
posted by gudrun at 5:38 PM on September 9, 2019

A Good and Happy Child by Justin Evans is told from the point of view of a man recounting the events of his childhood to a therapist. He seems to have suppressed his involvement with a malevolent entity taking the form of a child. I read this several years ago and it still occasionally freaks me out when I start to think about it. In fact, I have to stop thinking about it now.
posted by MissPitts at 5:45 PM on September 9, 2019

Sara Gran’s Come Closer does this very well.
posted by incountrysleep at 6:11 PM on September 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik has a character who's possessed by a demon, and parts of the story are told from that character's POV.
posted by umber vowel at 6:25 PM on September 9, 2019

It may not be exactly what you're looking for, but the list isn't complete without Confessions of a Justified Sinner. Early 19th c. novel about... well, it isn't exactly possession, but it's close. Wonderful representation of the devil (?).
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 6:56 PM on September 9, 2019

The Impending Possession of Scarlet Wakebridge-Rose is something like this; I can't remember how much possessing happens vs. how much it's just being bugged by a demon that wants to possess her, but that's the general idea.
posted by gideonfrog at 7:00 PM on September 9, 2019

Sara Gran’s Come Closer does this very well.

Yes, Come Closer is exactly what you described.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:20 PM on September 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

Sorta kinda (spoiler alert) Fallen
posted by misterbrandt at 10:09 PM on September 9, 2019

Maybe the 2014 horror movie Afflicted?

I should warn up front that it's found footage, cause I know some people hate that. But it does an interesting trick subverting the usual FF thing where you're like "Why are they still filming this??" Basically it's about a really socially introverted guy who goes on his first big trip away from home backpacking Europe, sleeps with a girl one night, then starts turning into a demon/vampire type thing. When he left home he had promised his family he would blog everything he did, so his continuing to film his transformation actually makes sense, like it's the human side of him reaching through.

Also surprisingly good makeup and effects for what I assume was a micro budget indie horror.
posted by mannequito at 10:27 PM on September 9, 2019

I just recommended this for another Ask: The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. Gothic horror from 1824.
ETA D'oh! to BlackLeotardFront
posted by glasseyes at 2:21 AM on September 10, 2019

Books #6 and #19 of the Animorphs series. Probably a few others too that I can't remember. The whole series is about fighting a race of parasitic mind-controlling aliens. All the books are told in first-person and there are multiple times when the protagonists become 'infested'.
posted by Gordafarin at 2:22 AM on September 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Granny Weatherwax gets possessed quite vividly by vampirism in Carpe Jugulum, if you're into Pratchett.
posted by glasseyes at 2:32 AM on September 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Order of the Stick to about #1130 (I can't remember when it started... maybe around mid #900's) has a plot arc that deals with possession and the possessed has interactions with the possessor in the possessed's head.
posted by porpoise at 10:19 AM on September 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

The Mind Parasites By Colin Wilson.
posted by madstop1 at 8:28 AM on September 11, 2019

Unavoidably a spoiler, but Someone Like Me by Mike Carey fits your bill rather well (multiple POV characters, including possessor and possessee).

Also, not horror at all, but just in case you'd enjoy them anyway... Lois McMaster Bujold's Penric novellas, starting with Penric's Demon, play very successfully with the concept.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 2:05 PM on September 13, 2019

« Older Artists like Banks?   |   Print size using RISO SF5130 Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments