The Rite (2011)
The Exorcist: Father Lucas Trevant (Anthony Hopkins)
Pros: He's Anthony Hopkins, which means he has gravitas to spare, even on an off day. As he has performed over 1000 exorcisms, you know he's got the experience, and he's probably highly recommended.
He's also reassuringly hammy in his execution of the rites.
Cons: He's prone to delivering his lessons in pretentious cliches. He's based in Rome, but you get creepy, atmospheric alleyways rather than photogenic vistas.
And can you ever trust the man who was Hannibal Lecter?
USP: He's an exorcist teacher, so he really knows his stuff.
Business Card Slogan: The Rite Choice
The Exorcist (1973)
The Exorcist: Father Lankester Merrin (Max von Sydow)
Pros: He has an appreciable worldy wisdom, further informed by his travels in the far east, his experience of World War II and his time in Africa (see Exorcist: The Beginning or Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist for further details).
He's known to be pretty selfless when it comes to expunging demons, and he's aided by a younger priest sidekick, Father Karras (Jason Miller).
Cons: He's actually fairly creepy himself (when he turns up at your door you're likely to have a bit of a fright, considering the circumstances), and Karras' lack of faith could be off-putting.
USP: He's pretty much the most famous, iconic one there is (which will no doubt see his prices shoot up).
Business Card Slogan: The power of Christ compels you… to choose Merrin!
The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
The Exorcist: Father Moore (Tom Wilkinson)
Pros: He is steadfast in his belief, which makes a change from all the cynics out there, and he is wholly dedicated to the salvation of his young charge.
Cons: His legal wranglings may cause some grief when it comes to trying to hire him.
And, can you be 100% sure that there was a supernatural explanation for what happened to Emily, rather than some bizarre medical cause?
USP: He is (loosely) based on a real life figure involved in a court case in the 70s.
Business Card Slogan: Pay nothing if the exorcism is fatally unsuccessful.
Scary Movie 2 (2001)
The Exorcist: Father McFeely (James Woods)
Pros: Woods deserves credit for bringing the only moment of mirth to an otherwise dire sequel.
Cons: Bladder problems might mean he arrives later than you'd hope, and he could end up wasting time evacuating his own 'demons' in the toilet.
He's also ickily attracted to the possessed girl. In fact, he's pretty much your worst-case-scenario exorcist.
USP: He's also packing a pistol so that he can bring things to a swift end if necessary.
Business Card Slogan: Yes, the James Woods.
The Last Exorcism (2010)
The Exorcist: Reverend Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian)
Pros: Younger than your average, he does a nice line in 'placebo' exorcisms to subdue patients with what he believes are psychosomatic symptoms.
Though his diminishing faith doesn't stop him going the distance if the circumstances warrant it...
Cons: You're likely to have the whole experience captured by a TV crew, so you could be the next YouTube sensation.
USP: He understands exorcism from the perspective of a religious official and a charlatan.
Business Card Slogan: As seen on Living TV
The Exorcist: Father Jebedaiah Mayii (Leslie Nielsen)
Pros: He comes with experience, having ridden Nancy (original Exorcist star Linda Blair) of a demonic possession several years earlier.
Cons: He's past his prime, and requires a great deal of persuasion to get back in the game. The constant comedic mugging could becoming grating, especially in your hour of need.
USP: Wait until you see his Elton John and Michael Jackson impersonations...
Business Card Slogan: Also available for weddings, birthdays and bar mitzvahs
The Sin Eater (2003)
The Exorcist: Alex Bernier (Heath Ledger)
Pros: Young and hunksome, which is a rare quality in an exorcist. He also becomes the 'sin eater', which mean he can swallow a sinner's transgressions and allow them to go to heaven untainted.
Cons: As a sin eater, he's now forced to wander the earth eternally (though he decides to use the power for good, unlike his predecessor).
Also, his bumbling sidekick, Thomas (Mark Addy) is never far behind.
USP: He is part of the order of the Carolingians.
Business Card Slogan: Heresy! Murder! Unsanctioned Intercourse! Shifting the most stubborn of sins since the seventh century
The Exorcist(s): Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis), and, eventuallly, Winston Zeddemore (Hudson)
Pros: You shouldn't need to ask: has suppressing evil paranormal forces ever been so damn fun or cool? They've also developed their own unique technological devices to capture the nasties.
Cons: Getting them back together seems to depend largely on Venkman's availability/willingness these days.
USP: They tackle the ghosts with a sense of humour, and they combine their individual strengths to work as a team.
Business Card Slogan: Who you gonna call?
The Devils (1971)
The Exorcist: Father Pierre Barre (Michael Gothard)
Pros: He certainly takes to his work with a commendable amount of zeal in Ken Russell's controversial historical tale.
And he's not afraid to attempt a mass exorcism when the need arises.
Cons: He doesn't do a great deal to calm down the hysterical inhabitants of Loudun.
His technique includes the use of wince-inducingly harsh enemas, and he frequently loses himself in the moment.
USP: His stylised, modern garb marks him out.
Business Card Slogan: Sin can be caught as easily as the plague
The Exorcist: Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton)
Pros: He's a riot, well-equipped with a vast array of innovative scare tactics, and he knows his way around the afterlife.
Cons: While he's a decent scarer, he's a tough one to manage, and is often most interested in serving his own ends.
USP: He's a bio-exorcist. If you're dead and you need to clear unwelcome humans out of your home, he's pretty much the only one to go to.
Business Card Slogan: The ghost with the most
The Exorcist: John Constantine (Keanu Reeves)
Pros: A bout of terminal lung cancer has given him a pretty no-nonsense outlook on life. And he does have an assemblage of helpers, although a lot of the people he comes into contact with seem to end up dead…
Cons: His own cynicism has left him pretty much ambivalent to the cause, and he mostly works to earn his place in heaven rather than, y'know, for the love of it.
USP: An impressive line in holy weaponry.
Business Card Slogan: Putting the 'Woah' in limbo
The Unborn (2009)
The Exorcist: Rabbi Sendak (Gary Oldman)
Pros: He's an expert on Jewish mysticism, and he has a genial, avuncular quality that so many other movie exorcists seem to lack.
He also has Idris Elba as part of his exorcism entourage, which can't be a bad thing.
Cons: Despite the fact he's Gary Frickin Oldman, he's still unable to polish a turd, as evidenced in this absolute stinker. And his meagre physical presence becomes a liability once the dybbuk starts launching things around the room.
USP: He's one of the movie world's rare Jewish exorcists.
Business Card Slogan: Your demon will wish it had never been unborn
[REC] 2 (2009)
The Exorcist: Dr Owen (Jonathan Mellor)
Pros: The [REC] movies spliced possession horror with frantic zombie carnage to terrifying effect.
You've got to admire Owen's cojones for venturing into the quarantined apartment block.
Cons: When the demonically-possessed enemy can impersonate your voice, you know you're in trouble.
USP: His mission was specifically sanctioned by the Vatican, in an effort to save mankind. That's some recommendation.
Business Card Slogan: He'd have fake business card, claiming he's from the Ministry of Health (his mission's a secret).
The Duxorcist (1987)
The Exorcist: Daffy Duck, Paranormalist
Pros: He's arrives speedily, and he can extract ghosts with a minimum of fuss or physical discomfort. He has a trustworthy TV commercial too.
Cons: If the victim's an attractive duck, he'll be more interested in seducing her than purging her monstrous manifestations.
USP: He's probably the only cartoon duck who's a practising exorcist.
Business Card Slogan: Spooks Spooked, Goblins Gobbled, UFOs KO'd, Aliens Alienated, Vampires Evapourated, Monsters Remonstrated