The personification of evil goes by many names: Lucifer, The Prince of Darkness, Old Scratch or simply, The Devil. Whatever moniker he chooses, he is evil incarnate. I mean, he presides over a place where you are tortured and suffer for eternity. However, despite the fire and brimstone, one must also remember the man is also a master manipulator – I mean, he isn’t just taking part in impromptu fiddle challenges in Georgia, remember, as the original fallen angel, he just wants to get back home.
That is why, for whatever reason, Hollywood often portrays him (and sometimes her) as a suave, smart and driven individual. Does Hollywood glamorize this insidious role? Maybe a bit – but one thing is for certain, some of the top fantasy movies, along with comedy and drama – has a devil you won’t soon forget.
5) Elizabeth Hurley in Bedazzled
While most often portrayed as male, Hurley certainly makes a great case that devil would work just as well as a woman. Here you have the proverbial “Monkey’s Paw” dilemma – the devil offers you seven wishes to make things perfect (in this case, Brendan Fraser really wants the girl of his dreams) but when you make a deal with the devil, things don’t always go as planned. From a cartel boss to a sensitive weakling, to the perfect intellectual (complete with the perfect boyfriend) to a numbskull basketball player with certain shortcomings (and not just in the brains department) – every wish backfires. Meanwhile, Hurley just smiles, looks sexy and gives him what he wants… with a twist. One gets the feeling she’s an old pro and, even when she loses, I bet she still has a lot of souls under her belt.
4) Peter Stormare in Constantine
This movie is more of a guilty pleasure than an outstanding piece of cinema, but on cannot deny that Stormare makes for a worthy Satan. The man has played nearly every ethnicity under the sun, and as a man with bare feet and a white suit, he literally steals the show as the Father of Lies. He oozes that sadistic streak you just know the devil must possess and his actions truly support that nature. He may not have the largest part in the film, but I say it’s certainly one of the most memorable.
3) Viggo Mortensen in The Prophecy
Well before deciding to help some Hobbits return an exceptional ring to the depths of Mordor, Mortensen starred in The Prophecy, which depicts a war in Heaven in which a very specific soul is needed to end the fighting. Although Christopher Walken is the main draw as Gabriel, Mortensen presents a frighteningly handsome Lucifer. Plus, it does a good job of making the man seem sympathetic (even though he’s really just making sure that his hell is the only hell – and he’s the only one in charge). Not many depictions of the Lord of Hell can make women swoon, but Mortensen bucks that trend.
2) Tim Curry in Legend
If you ask most people what the devil looks like you’ll probably get a few common traits: horns, red skin, cloven hooves, pointy tail, pitchfork – otherwise known as the “classic” portrayal. Curry takes this depiction and turns it up to 11 and gives us the most fantastical, and yet completely awesome, portrayals of the classic depiction of pure evil. I remember watching this one when I was quite young, and those images are still striking, even to this day. Massive horns, angry, red skin and just Curry himself – he plays it perfectly. This one may not be as grounded in reality as some of the others, but in terms of sheer entertainment, it’s got to be one of the best.
1) Al Pacino in The Devil’s Advocate
What else would the devil do but run a law firm? Pacino gives what has to be my favorite big-screen portrayal of “John Milton” (great name choice) is just as good as it gets. The man is charming, sophisticated and pure evil. I love the boiling holy water, the fact that he has no qualms about driving people mad, having them killed and, oh, trying to bring his son into the world and cause the apocalypse. I can’t say this ranks as the best Pacino has done, but in terms of making Satan look good, no one has done it better.
They say the devil is in the details – and I’m sure there are other big-screen depictions you could add to this list to make it even better. Whether they have horns or look just like you and me, one thing they rarely are is boring.
Chris Kavan is the Community Manager of FilmCrave.com and the devil didn’t make him do this – he came up with it all on his own.