Top List Thursday – Devil On The Big Screen

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Satan has appeared in his/her/its fair share of movies over the years. This occasionally sparks a debate about which was the best. But it never reaches quite the magnitude of Best Bond arguments, probably because, well, it’s the devil. They are all pretty badass in their own way, so instead of picking the best, how about handing out a few awards…?

Note: This article contains spoilers

Born For The Role Award – John Milton (Al Pacino) in Devil’s Advocate

Ask around on whom people’s favourite movie devil was and inevitably the poll will turn towards Al Pacino. Cleverly named after the author of Paradise Lost, Pacino’s Milton is sly, grounded, smart and quite clearly above it all. Even when he ultimately fails, this just ends up being a few steps backwards. And, frankly, if the audience had a say in it, Al Pacino’s thousand year reign on Earth would have been a given.

666 Shades Of Seduction Award – Darryl van Horne (Jack Nicholson) in Witches of Eastwick

The devil is often associated with Pan, the mischievous Satyr god from old Europe, and at times Loki, the Norwegian trickster god. So to have him portrayed as a hedonist with a penchant for the occasional trick is rather apt, especially when those ‘tricks’ can be, well, nasty for some. And yet by the end Darryl van Horne devolves into something quite nastier.

Having A Devil Of A Time Award – The Devil (Liz Hurley) in Bedazzled

Liz Hurley’s Lucifer is as overlooked as this bizarre Faustian comedy. If she’s noted, it’s usually for her outfits and figure. Yet she knows that true happiness comes from loving what you do. So while messing with a dopey Brendan Fraser, she kills her free time by handing out parking tickets and encouraging kids to not neglect their video games. Not exactly benevolent, but when she does eventually show her true colours, we’re reminded that you prefer your devil in a good mood.

Satanic Style Award – Louis Cyphre (Robert De Niro) in Angel Heart

The best-looking Satan, hands down, is this bearded aristocrat, sporting very fine suits and a walking cane that he does not need at all. Louis Cyphre exudes the class, style, patience, mannerisms and quiet malice you’d expect from a well groomed individual who also happens to be in the business of collecting souls.

He’s Got The Look Award – Darkness (Tim Curry) in Legend

Whether you look at that monster from the Dungeon Keeper game series or Dave Grohl in The Pick Of Destiny, they all copied the look of Darkness – the prime evil in Ridley Scott’s 1985 fantasy film. Even a boy-faced Tom Cruise could not distract or dissuade audiences from hanging around and see Tim Curry in his fully made-up glory. Cloven hooves have never been so, well cloven.

Freaky Fallen Angel Award – Lucifer (Viggo Mortensen) in The Prophecy

Boy, this is the Lucifer your mom warned you about. He threatens things like pinning you to the ground and filling your mouth with excrement, then later tells you he loves you more than Jesus (while chewing on an angel’s heart). All things considered, the angels in this were not nice guys either, so Lucifer was going to be a bit worse. But still… yikes.

He Walks Among Us Award – The Devil (????) in Devil

The devil can appear as anything it wishes to. As it turns out, it can also take you out when and where ever it pleases – even if that is in full view of security cameras on an elevator. And it’s not if Lucifer just swoops in and nabs you. No, it can take its sweet time and push everyone on board to the edge of insanity.

Hell Is But A Stage Award – Mr. Legba/Scratch (Robert Judd) – Crossroads

One of the most endearing tales about the devil is that of the crossroads, where you can go to exchange your soul for anything you desire. Mr. Legba is that devil, though he hardly features in the film. Instead, in true show of gravitas he had an assistant handle all the initial encounters. But he does appear in the end and produces the best guitar duel since Deliverance. If that’s not show business…

Evil Is Eternal Award – The Jar in Prince Of Darkness

Satan need not even have a form. It can quite easily be a jar of slime. That does nothing to dampen the incredible power it can wield. It possesses the homeless and then the corpses they leave behind. Finally it gets to the people closest to it – those with no chance of escaping. And other than an opportune gush of goop, it didn’t have to lift a finger. It didn’t even have any to lift.

Devil Next Door Award – Dad (Harvey Keitel) in Little Nicky

He’s not all that ambitious – just keeping Hell going is enough for this devil. Sadly not all of his offspring agree with the status quo, but what can a dad do? At least he gets to torture Hitler with pineapples. That’s probably why Satan won’t retire – he’d miss the job.

Team Slitherine Award – Satan (Rosalinda Celentano) in The Passion Of The Christ

The Bible does not really provide a lot of detail on what the devil looks like, other than it can appear in whatever form it desires. The horns and attitude only came later, often through the imaginations of medieval authors. Mel Gibson’s vision of the devil plays on this ambiguity, using an attractive women, but adding a certain haunched creepiness that also makes her quite repulsive. Her penchant for summoning snakes certainly isn’t helping her make friends, either.

No Introductions Needed Award – Satan (Peter Stormare) in Constantine

Here’s the thing with Satan: stopping short of some cosmic rule that makes him change his mind, you are dealing with a serious heavyweight here. Why not let them all know the second he step into the scene? Here the devil arrives late into the show -. time just stops and things that were absolutely unstoppable a second ago are rendered toothless. Then he pulls cancer out of Keanu – literally. All without wearing shoes.

Bad [email protected]#$er Award – The Man (Gabriel Byrne) in End Of Days

Hail Satan. Yeah, whatever. If you are currently worshipping the prince of darkness, know that he doesn’t care. Really, he doesn’t. You are as disposable as toilet paper to him, as demonstrated when he simply punches a follower’s head open. If he took a special interest in you, he’d first tell you how disappointed he was in you, then kill you. And he is every bit as unstoppable as you could imagine.

Last Updated: August 29, 2013

James

A total movie glutton, nothing is too bad or too obscure to watch, unless it's something like The Human Centipede. If you enjoyed that, there is something wrong with you. But bless you anyway - even video nasties need love...

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