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Deliver Us From Evil: History vs. Hollywood

Starring Eric Bana, Olivia Munn, Édgar Ramírez
based on the book "Beware the Night" by Ralph Sarchie and Lisa Collier Cool

Eric Bana
Born: August 9, 1968
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Ralph Sarchie
Born: June 14, 1962
Birthplace: Ridgewood, New York, USA
Édgar Ramírez
Born: March 25, 1977
Caracas, Venezuela
Bishop Robert Fidelis McKenna
Born: July 8, 1927
Birthplace: Danville, Illinois, USA

The movie's Mendoza character was also inspired by Father Malachi Martin.
Olivia Munn
Born: July 3, 1980
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA
Jennifer Thornton
Born: August 24, 1968
Birthplace: Ridgewood, New York, USA
Lulu Wilson
New York
Christina Marie Burgreen
Born: 1990
Birthplace: New York, USA

(Pictured in 2013)
For "Deliver Us From Evil", there are elements of my life in it, maybe in different context, but there are messages inside this movie. It should be enjoyed. -Ralph Sarchie (SARCHIE Documentary, 2014)

Questioning the Story:

According to the real Ralph Sarchie, how much of the movie is true?

The actual Ralph Sarchie works an exorcism case in 1999. Elements from his work as a paranormal investigator inspired the movie.
"Well, it's based on a lot of elements of cases I've worked on," says Ralph Sarchie. "It's based on elements of my life. It's a fictional movie with elements of reality in it." -ScreenSlam

Does the movie depict actual supernatural cases that Ralph Sarchie investigated?

Not exactly. In examining the Deliver Us From Evil true story, we learned that the movie does not follow Ralph Sarchie's cases exactly, but is rather a fictional retelling of some of the cases he worked on. "Scott took a lot of elements of my cases and put them in a different context than what I originally wrote about," says Sarchie. "He took liberties with certain aspects."

It was these liberties that led to the movie posters being adorned with the phrase, "Inspired by the actual accounts of an NYPD sergeant," instead of, "Based on the actual accounts of an NYPD sergeant." This differs from director Scott Derrickson's previous exorcism movie, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, which follows the real account much more closely and was promoted with the "based on a true story" tagline.

How long was Ralph Sarchie a member of the NYPD?

The real Ralph Sarchie was a member of the New York City Police Department for approximately twenty years from the early 1980s through the 1990s. He retired in 2004 as a decorated sergeant, having spent a portion of his time serving in the 46th Precinct in The Bronx, which has a reputation for being one of the most violent neighborhoods in all of New York City. Following his retirement, he began devoting himself to demonology cases full time. In 2001, St. Martin's Press published his book, Beware the Night, co-written by Lisa Collier Cool, which chronicles his experiences as a demonologist and NYPD cop.

Was the possessed stuffed animal owl really in Ralph Sarchie's daughter's bedroom?

"No," says the real Ralph Sarchie, referring to the existence of the plush owl that becomes possessed in the movie and tumbles across the daughter's bedroom floor, making the sound, "Ha, ha, hoo. Ha, ha, hoo." The idea for the owl came from the mind of director Scott Derrickson. He has kids who have a lot of stuffed animals, and he imagined that "one of them moving on its own would be very upsetting." -ScreenSlam

The real Ralph Sarchie admits that Deliver Us From Evil's demonic stuffed animal owl is entirely fictional and was the brainchild of screenwriter/director Scott Derrickson.

Does Ralph's mother believe that her son was put on Earth to fight evil?

"When he was ten months old, Ralph got very, very sick," says his mother, Lillian Rizo. "They said it's up to God now. There isn't anything more he could do for him. I had to wait 24 hours for this child to pull through, and he did of course, there he is to tell the story. God left him here for some reason, to do something. Very protective boy he was." -Ralph Sarchie Documentary

Is Father Mendoza (Édgar Ramírez) based on a real person?

The Father Mendoza character in the Deliver Us From Evil movie was based on two real-life individuals, Bishop Robert McKenna and Father Malachi Martin, who were both mentors to Ralph Sarchie. Bishop Robert Fidelis McKenna is a well-known Monroe, Connecticut bishop and exorcist who was previously featured in the 20th Century Fox made-for-TV movie The Haunted, which dealt with the Smurl haunting.

Father Malachi Martin, a former Irish Catholic Priest and author, was best known for writing the terrifying 1976 book Hostage to the Devil, which chronicles five American possessions and exorcisms.

Édgar Ramírez's character, Father Mendoza (center), was inspired by both Bishop Robert McKenna (left) and Malachi Martin (right). Both men were friends and mentors to Ralph Sarchie.

How does Ralph Sarchie know when he is in the presence of a demonic force?

In reading the book and watching the documentary that sheds light on the Deliver Us From Evil true story, we learned that aside from observing more obvious signs that there is a demonic force present, the real Ralph Sarchie says that he sometimes gets a pain in his temple when an evil force is in his vacinity, such as during an exorcism. -Ralph Sarchie Documentary

Did Ralph Sarchie really participate in exorcisms?

Yes. Like in the movie, Ralph Sarchie became involved in Church-approved exorcisms. You can watch footage of Ralph Sarchie at a 1992 exorcism. "We just put the chair down in the living room and had her sit in it," says Sarchie of the 1992 case. "We had all of the restraints. This particular person was about 90 pounds. The battle went on for quite some time. This was a tough one. This is what we considered a genuine case of possession." Dominican bishop Robert McKenna was present to perform the exorcism while Sarchie helped to restrain the possessed female subject (pictured below). -Ralph Sarchie Documentary

The real Ralph Sarchie (right) restrains an afflicted woman during a 1992 exorcism that was performed by Bishop Robert McKenna. The woman's identity was concealed.

Did Ralph Sarchie really beat a perp to death?

No. "He never did that," says director Scott Derrickson of the fictional scene where Eric Bana's character punches a child murderer to death. "Has he ever killed anybody? Not that I know of. ...when we had to change the title from Beware the Night, which was the name of his book, to Deliver Us From Evil, he calls me up. He's like, 'Scott, you made me a murderer. Can't you at least keep my f***in' book title?'"

Ralph Sarchie did take a bullet in the line of duty. He was shot by a thief who had grabbed his gun from him. Sarchie wrestled the gun back from the man, but not before the man got off a shot and hit Sarchie in the arm, which turned out to be not as serious as it initially appeared. -Beware the Night

The movie's main antagonist, Iraq War veteran Mick Santino (Sean Harris), is fictional.
Is Deliver Us From Evil's possessed Iraq War veteran, Mick Santino, based on a real person?

No. The movie's main antagonist, a possessed Iraq War veteran named Mick Santino (Sean Harris), is for the most part fictional. This character is not in Ralph Sarchie's book Beware the Night, which was published prior to the Iraq War. Certain elements of the Santino character were drawn from some of the cases that Ralph Sarchie had worked on, but even most of these elements were exaggerated for the movie. For example, the real Ralph Sarchie once worked a case where a man's forehead split open during an exorcism, similar to but not as extreme as what happens to Santino during his exorcism near the end of the movie (pictured).

Had Ralph Sarchie really lost touch with his faith like the character in the movie?

Yes. Despite being an altar boy growing up, Ralph says that he was never a particularly devout kid. However, in 1990 he found himself gravitating more toward religion after his marriage to his wife Jennifer (now divorced) and the birth of his first daughter, Christina. 1990 was also the year that he picked up a copy of Satan's Harvest, a book about a case of demonic possession that was investigated by paranormal researchers Ed and Lorraine Warren. After reading the book, he felt that he was ready to do "God's work", and it was around this time that he began to moonlight as a demonologist. -Beware the Night

Ralph Sarchie (left), pictured in 2014, rediscovered religion like his onscreen counterpart portrayed by Eric Bana (right) in the movie.

I heard that well-known paranormal researchers Ed and Lorraine Warren were mentors to Ralph Sarchie. Is that true?

Yes. For years, Ralph Sarchie had read about the Warrens, a husband and wife team of paranormal investigators who have been involved in high profile cases like the Amityville haunting and the case that inspired the 2013 film The Conjuring. Though not depicted in the movie, the Deliver Us From Evil true story reveals that Sarchie eventually called Lorraine Warren to tell her how much he admired her work. When she mentioned that one of her investigators, Joe Forrester, lived in Queens, Sarchie was stunned to learn that Joe's address was only two blocks away from his own apartment. Lorraine and Sarchie believed that this could not be a mere coincidence. Sarchie contacted Joe, and the two became friends and began to work together on cases.

Following his initial conversation with Lorraine, Ralph Sarchie attended seminars given by the Warrens, visited the Warren's Connecticut home, and even helped the Warrens with various cases. With Ed and Lorraine Warren's blessing, Ralph and Joe founded the New York City chapter of the New England Society for Psychic Research, the organization that was originally founded by the Warrens. -Beware the Night

Ralph's youngest daughter, Daniella, remembers strange things happening in their home.
Do Ralph Sarchie's two daughters remember anything paranormal taking place in their house?

"When I found out that my dad was in the mix of doing like exorcisms and everything, things would happen, like in the house with me and my family," says Ralph's daughter Daniella (shown as a baby at the end of the movie), "and I wasn't really sure, you know I was scared, but I didn't know really what I was scared about. As he got more into the Work, you know, more things started happening to me and my family and my house. It was scary."

"We had a picture frame on my parents' bedroom wall, and out of nowhere it just flew across the room." -Ralph Sarchie Documentary

What happened to Ralph Sarchie and his wife Jen after the events in the movie?

Ralph Sarchie and his wife Jen divorced in the years that followed the events depicted in the movie. Ralph says that his work as a demonologist did contribute to the separation, though he admits in his book that their "marriage has a been a real rollercoaster from the start." "The time period we're dealing with, [the separation] wasn't hugely relevant," says actor Eric Bana, "but I think it's really important. You know, any time you're playing married couples, there's always naturally some tension, and Ralph's job at the period we cover in the film, he doesn't really have a lot of time for his family and so forth. So, the natural kind of friction that occurs in that dynamic, that was important to Olivia and I, but at the same time you see that they really love each other." -HitFix

Was actor Eric Bana skeptical of Ralph Sarchie's stories prior to seeing Sarchie's videotapes?

"It had nothing to do with being skeptical," says actor Eric Bana, who portrays Sarchie in the film. "It was just more unaware. I just didn't know a lot about it, as most people probably don't. I mean when you really boil down to, okay, what actually really occurs in this area, in this field? So, it was a huge eye opener and really beneficial, for sure." -HitFix

Ralph Sarchie's personal videotapes were also the reason that director Scott Derrickson decided to finish the screenplay, a project that he had set aside in 2003. Derrickson has called the elusive videos "mind-blowing." -USA Today

Actor Eric Bana chats with his character's real-life counterpart, Ralph Sarchie, on the Bronx set of Deliver Us From Evil in 2013. Sarchie consulted on set as an expert on police procedures.

Are Ralph Sarchie's videos of exorcisms and other demonic cases available to watch online?

For the most part, no. However, brief footage from a 1992 exorcism that Sarchie was involved in is included in the Ralph Sarchie Documentary. Sarchie says that he has never made the VHS tapes public because he wants to protect the privacy of the people involved. "Every person who comes to me for help is offered strict confidentiality," says Sarchie. -USA Today

Deliver Us From Evil actors Eric Bana and Olivia Munn, who portray Ralph Sarchie and his wife Jennifer Sarchie, were permitted to watch an old police taping of a real exorcism from Sarchie's NYPD files. "I got to see them," says Olivia Munn. "What's on the tape? Okay, I only watched one part before I turned it off because it freaked me out. So, I'm looking at a guy and he's sitting there, and it's a grainy black and white but it's the real tape, and you're seeing this guy and he's sitting there in a straitjacket, and he's shaking, and he's got this other-worldly look in his eyes, that's what Eric said, 'other-worldly,' and I said, 'You mean like crazy?' And he goes, 'No, no, like he's from another world.' And it's true, his eyes look like he's from another world, and he's shaking and out of nowhere his forehead splits open, out of nowhere, and he's in the straitjacket, and then he starts drooling and as soon as the drool hits his shirt, his white straitjacket, it turns into blood, and I'm watching this, and as soon as it happens I turn off the tape and I can't do any more." -Olivia Munn Deliver Us From Evil Interview

A wound is pointed out that has opened up in a man's forehead during this footage from 1999 of an allegedly possessed man who has been confined to a straitjacket. The man's identity was concealed.

How many exorcisms has the real Ralph Sarchie assisted on?

According to Sarchie, he has assisted on 25 exorcisms and has performed "hundreds" of house exorcisms. -USA Today

I heard that Ralph Sarchie introduced director Scott Derrickson to the case that was the basis for Derrickson's previous movie The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Is that true?

Yes. Back in 2003, producer Jerry Bruckheimer bought the rights to Ralph Sarchie's book Beware the Night. Interested in directing a movie adaptation of the book, Derrickson went to New York and met with the real Ralph Sarchie. He was fascinated by Sarchie's powerful history as an NYPD officer, in addition to his work as a demonologist. During the four days that Derrickson spent with Sarchie, the retired police sergeant gave him a copy of the non-fiction book The Exorcism of Anneliese Michel. Derrickson optioned the book for a hundred dollars and adapted it into The Exorcism of Emily Rose. -Collider

Did anything paranormal happen on the movie's set?

Eric Bana answered this question during an interview with HitFix. "I really shut down a bit when we were shooting to that stuff 'cause I really just wanted to concentrate on what I was doing, but I was aware that there were things that were definitely occurring away from the set, in the offices and warehouses of various departments that were working on the film, some quite really weird things that were happening. ... I heard a few stories, but I really was workin' pretty hard on this one, so I tried to stay focused." Bana offered no further details.

Deliver Us From Evil Documentary, Interviews & Trailer

Watch the SARCHIE documentary that offers a firsthand account of the Deliver Us From Evil true story. Then view an interview with actress Olivia Munn, during which she describes watching one of Ralph Sarchie's exorcism videotapes.

 Ralph Sarchie Documentary

Former NYPD Sergeant and practicing demonologist Ralph Sarchie, whose own accounts inspired the movie Deliver Us From Evil, looks back on his time working as a cop in New York City, while at the same time moonlighting as a demonologist. This Ralph Sarchie documentary was released just prior to the Deliver Us From Evil movie.

 Olivia Munn Watches Ralph Sarchie's Exorcism Videotapes

Actress Olivia Munn is interviewed for the Deliver Us From Evil movie, in which she plays Jennifer Sarchie, wife of Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana). Munn talks about watching one of Ralph Sarchie's exorcism videotapes and goes into detail describing what she saw that made her shut off the tape.

 Deliver Us From Evil Movie Trailer

Based on the paranormal experiences of former New York City police Sergeant Ralph Sarchie, watch the Deliver Us From Evil movie trailer for the 2014 Eric Bana film. In the movie, Bana's character joins forces with a priest as he investigates a series of bizarre crimes. The film also stars Olivia Munn and Joel McHale.

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