Vatican's chief exorcist Gabriele Amorth—said to have banished demons 60,000 times—is subject of new Russell Crowe film

The new Hollywood film The Pope’s Exorcist apparently depicts the demonic possession of a boy, echoing the religio-horror classic The Exorcist. However, this latest production is allegedly inspired by the life and work of the Vatican’s chief exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth, played by Russel Crowe.

The Daily Mail reported that though Amorth passed away in 2016, he was said to have conducted 60,000 exorcisms over the course of his career. He was also an apparent critic of yoga and the Harry Potter series.

Amorth reportedly said that the 1973 Exorcist film, featuring a possessed teenage girl with a head that spins 360 degrees, was “substantially” accurate.

Amorth had apparently said in 2005 that some “patients have to be tied down on a bed,” adding that “they spit. They vomit. At first the demon will try to demoralise the exorcist, then he will try to terrify him.”

“But I am not frightened. I have faith. I laugh at the demon and say to him: ‘I've got the Madonna on my side. I am called Gabriel. Go fight the Archangel if you will!’”

“That usually shuts them up.”

However, Amorth has not always had it easy. In 1997, there was an alleged possession that took him to his limits. The event was retold in a 2020 book called The Devil Is Afraid Of Me, which was written by Marcello Stanzione, a Catholic priest that worked with Amorth.

The tale goes that a young Italian was brought to Amorth while he was in his consulting room in Rome. The man was accompanied by his priest and translator, according to the report. Though the man only spoke his native language, the man was apparently able to speak perfect English.

The young man proceeded to shout curses at Amorth, and he spit at the exorcist. Amorth uttered the prayer Praecipio tibi, which translates as “I command you.”

Stanzione wrote: “But then, screaming and howling, the demon burst forth and looked straight at him, drooling saliva from the young man’s mouth.” When Amorth allegedly demanded that the demon reveal its name, he was surprised to learn that it was the Devil himself.

Consequently, the man writhed and twisted his head back, rolling his eyes and arching his back in dramatic fashion. The book also noted that ice crystals apparently formed on the windows as the place became very cold.

Then the man’s body started levitating before falling into a chair.

On Rotten Tomatoes, The Pope's Exorcist currently sits at a 47 percent approval rating among film critics, while audiences gave it an 83 percent approval rating. 

Image: Title: amorth