Describe your favourite fictional depiction of the Devil.
Hands down, flat-out, no competition whatsoever, the mold to break all other molds: Satan from Milton’s Paradise Lost.
Here’s a nice little article that outlines some of the character’s appeal.
On the other hand (waaaay on the other hand!), here’s a nifty little fragment of a folktale which I believe was probably simply invented by Haruki Murakami:
The aged Devil sat on a rock by the side of a Finnish country road. The Devil was ten thousand, maybe twenty thousand years old, and very tired. He was covered in dust. His whiskers were wilting. Whither be ye gang in sich ‘aste? the Devil called out to a Farmer. Done broke me ploughshare and must to fixe it, the Farmer replied. Not to hurrie, said the Devil, the sunne still playes o’erhead on highe, wherefore be ye scurrying? Sit ye down and ‘eare m’ tale. The Farmer knew no good could come of passing time with the Devil, but seeing him so utterly haggard, the Farmer–
There’s lots of good ones, but you gotta pick Ernest Borgnine in The Devil’s Rain. Why? 1. It’s Ernest Borgnine, for chrissakes, 2. he’s goat-faced, and 3. his goat face melts. Let’s see Tim Curry pull just one of those off.
Honourable mention: Captain DeZita in Glen or Glenda? and Billy Crystal in Deconstructing Harry (now you know how he keeps getting work!)
I’m a pretty big fan of Randall Flagg from The Stand, Pazuzu from The Exorcist, and the big evil demon guy from the “Night on Bare Mountain” segment of Fantasia. None of them are the capital-D Devil per se, but the essential idea is there.
Belasco in the old Ka Zar comic where Ka Zar goes through Dante’s levels of Hell. Follow up would be Al Pacino in The Devil’s Advocate.
Hands down it’s Al Pacino in “The Devil’s Advocate.” He is so good in that movie, that even Keanu Reeves and his disappearing accent couldn’t ruin it for me. His monologue at the end gets me every time. Pacino was by far the coolest depiction of the devil, but Tim Curry as “The Lord of Darkness” in “Legend” definitely gets an honorable mention for the best literal translation. The makeup job for that character is TERRIFYING.
Peter Stormare as Lucifer in “Constantine” is very good, as is Al Pacino in “The Devil’s Advocate”. Those are the more light-hearted ones, I can’t really think of a good “serious” fictional portrayal, although I’m totally convinced it should be possible to do and make very scary.
Well, THE EXORCIST is one of my all-time favorite movies, but “the Devil” wasn’t really depicted as a visual being in that… but the atmosphere, and the Satanic reference, are the best in any film, in my opinion. As far as a “visual” depiction of “the Devil” I’d almost have to go with Alex de la Iglesia’s DAY OF THE BEAST… that scene with the circle and the demon was really amazing. Not too scary… just amazingly done. And the make-up was pretty awesome.
You know, it’s so easy to depict Satan as an over-the-top, cackling fiend. But if we posit that his goal really is to persuade all of humanity to bend to his will, don’t you think that he’d be a bit more suave? A bit more seductive? A bit more… polite?
Please allow me to introduce myself;
I’m a man of wealth and taste.
Jagger said it best.
I love the woodcuts in old books depicting the devil as goat creature — always freaks me out a little. As such, I find the depiction of the Devil, using an actual goat, in Incubus (the Esperanto Bill Shatner flick from 1965) fantastically unnerving. Runners up: De Niro in Angel Heart, Peter Stormare in Constantine and some pieces of paper and the voice of Trey Parker in South Park.
Not the most frightening or most realistic but Peter Cook from the original BEDAZZLED. That man had so much charisma and charm and yet at the same time you never knew what sort of card he had up his sleeve.
I have to go with Peter Cook in Bedazzled. He cute, charming and really wicked. Everything I imagine the Devil would be if there was such a thing.
As opposed to my favorite non-fictional Devil?
Fiction: It’s a toss-up between Tim Curry in Legend and Lucifer in the Bible, I guess. They both have such sculpted and smooth crimson pectorals, I dare not choose.
Smartass. Thanks to all my diabolical cohorts for another edition of the Horror Roundtable. Make sure you check out their sites, and if you can think of other worthy contenders please consider sharing them with us in the comments below.1f9f