Asmodeus In ‘The Pope’s Exorcist,’ Explained: Why Did The Demon Possess Henry?

Julius Avery’s The Pope’s Exorcist effectively stands out in the exorcism horror subgenre. The film centers on Father Gabriele Amorth, a real-life Vatican exorcist who claimed to perform more than 50,000 exorcisms throughout his lifetime. Father Amorth was an expert in demonology and wrote several books on exorcism. The movie, however, takes creative liberties by showing a family whose little child has been possessed by one of the most powerful demons. But the demon has no interest in the boy or his family. Instead, he wants to approach Father Amorth by using the child as a conduit. Father Amorth, played by Russell Crowe, is shown in the movie as a man of deep faith and unflinching conviction in his mission to fight the forces of evil. Father Amorth investigates the demon’s nature while he conducts the exorcism on the possessed child, learning details that may enable him to terminate the possession permanently. With its unique interpretation of the exorcism subgenre and the inspiration it draws from a real-life exorcist as a prominent figure, The Pope’s Exorcist provides a spooky and provocative glimpse into the world of demonic possession and the struggle between good and evil.


Spoilers Ahead

Who Is Asmodeus?

One of the most formidable demons in Judao-Islamic mythology is Asmodeus, also known as one of the seven princes of Hell. He is one of the cruelest and trickiest demons who feeds on human lust. He is one of the most crafty and sarcastic demons, who gradually and playfully enjoys torturing those he possesses. Asmodeus is a fallen angel who, after being injured upon his landing on Earth, evolved into a monster. Asmodeus can worsen human sexual desire by distorting it. His legion of demons and daemons obeys his orders and regards him as the conqueror who thrives on malignant human emotions like rage, resentment, jealousy, lechery, and retribution. All of these traits were portrayed through Henry’s possession in The Pope’s Exorcist. When Asmodeus finally made contact with Father Amorth via Henry, his warnings and threats were laced with ridicule and obscene humor. Even we can see that Henry was acting insanely towards his mother and sister, which was the result of Asmodeus planting lustful impulses into the child’s unadulterated mind.


However, neither the boy nor his family were Asmodeus’s targets; instead, he simply used them as a means of communication with Amorth. In addition to becoming the ruler of Hell, Asmodeus had his sights set on the human race. He had taken control of one of the Popes during the Spanish Inquisition and perpetrated the chaos in the name of God. However, the devil’s quest to rule the human world remained unfulfilled, as as the years went on, the pope died, and the demon was locked up in a secret chamber of the Abbey where Henry’s family resided. But a small explosion caused by maintenance work in the Abbey caused the demon to emerge and take possession of the little kid. Now the demon wanted to continue what he started by possessing Father Amorth and invading the world of humans through the propagation of evil from the church. After discovering these details and realizing the demon’s purpose, Amorth, and Father Esquibel were determined to eradicate the demon’s presence from Henry and his family. But it was found that Asmodeus could control several possessions at once. As we saw in the movie, Asmodeus captured both Henry and his sister at the same time. Even worse, his power crossed all boundaries as we watched him play with both Amorth and Esquibal’s brains at the same moment by displaying their biggest fears.

Why Did Asmodeus Possess Henry?

The devil in “The Pope’s Exorcist” is used as a metaphor for the inner demons that live inside each of us. Even though they don’t manifest physically, emotions like guilt, trauma, envy, wrath, and perverted sexuality co-exist with positive emotions like love, compassion, and empathy; nevertheless, evil only manifests when we allow these negative emotions to rule our minds. Asmodeus picked Henry because the negativity in his head was eating him alive. He had lost his father in a car accident just a year ago. He was in the car when his father suffered an injury and died in front of his eyes. This was too much for an innocent child to endure; therefore, the aftereffects of the accident traumatized him. The experience left him speechless for a whole year. His internal anguish and distress started to overflow, creating a favorable environment for the demon to take over. Asmodeus used the young child’s traumatic memories as a vehicle for the propagation of evil.


Father Amorth traveled to the monastery to heal the child, but he found it to be all but impossible since the child’s inner demon shouted profane language that made it difficult for the holy spell to be effective. Father Amorth decided to downgrade the demon as a result. The demon, who preferred to remain hidden and did not want humanity to know about him, would be eradicated only when Amorth knew about his purpose. Father Amorth discovered his identity as well as the motivation behind his possession, making it simpler for him to take the proper route. However, Asmodeus wasn’t a simple opponent. He began decimating Amorth and Esquibel by taking on several forms. But Amorth eventually succeeded in freeing the child’s body from demonic possession. The devil permitted Henry and his family to escape the monastery, but not Amorth. Similar to how he had taken control of one of the popes during the Inquisition, he took control of Amorth’s mind. But with Esquibel’s assistance, Amorth returned to normalcy. With the aid of the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ, they were both finally able to put an end to evil. Even though Asmodeus was a powerful evil and the king of darkness, he had to give in to the force of light.

Will There Be A Sequel?

The Pope’s Exorcist is destined to be the start of a huge horror franchise. Soon after the film debuted in theaters, the announcement of the sequels was made, but no official release date was specified. Although the details of the sequel are not yet known, we can assume that Father Amorth and Esquibel will perform many more exorcisms since they are currently located at the special church archive, as seen at the movie’s end. In that regard, their adventure has only just begun. More information about the demons and how Amorth would handle the worst of them will be revealed in the film’s sequel. With Russell Crowe returning as the scooter-riding, humorous, and pragmatic exorcist, Gabriele Amorth, The Pope’s Exorcist 2 will be a journey worth anticipating.


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Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda hails from a medical background, yet her journey is to cross the boundaries of medicine and survive in the cinematic world. The surrealistic beauty of cinema and art has attracted her from a very young age. She loves to write poems, songs, and stories, but her dream is to write films someday. She has also worked as a painter, but nothing attracts her more than cinema. Through her writings, she wants to explore the world of cinema more and more and take her readers on the same ride.

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