“They Say a Jewish Demon Has Possessed the Groom”: Folklore and the Folkloresque in the Film Demon

Allison Cate Stewart (Western Kentucky University)

The 2015 Polish horror film Demon chronicles the possession of a young groom on his wedding day by a dybbuk. Alongside the narrative of possession, the film also serves as an allegory for relations between Polish Jews and non-Jewish Poles during and after the Second World War. The use of a revenant specific to Jewish folklore positions the film to effectively scrutinize contemporary Polish discourses surrounding the Holocaust. This paper will apply a folkloristic perspective in analyzing Demon and address the film’s use of dybbuk possession to comment on Polish society’s struggle to reckon with its history of anti-Semitism.

Part of 37-02 Folklore in Film and Television , Wednesday, October 20, 7:00 pm–8:30 pm