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Depictions of the Devil

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It’s not often that Hollywood filmmakers are brave enough to show the Devil on screen. Possibly harking back to days of the Exorcist and the lore that accompanied that ground-breaking release, it’s surprisingly few films that feature the most famous hellion in human history. El Diablo has shown up in a few films and here we look at some of those devilish representations, ahead of the release of Lucifer: The Complete First Season, available on DVD October 17.

Lucifer

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Lucifer (Tom Ellis) is bored and unhappy as the Lord of Hell, and has resigned his throne and retired to the City of Angels where he is indulging in a few of his favorite things — wine, women and song.  When a beautiful pop star is brutally murdered before his eyes, he feels something awaken deep within him – for the first time in roughly 10 billion years. Is he actually capable of feelings for a human being? The very thought disturbs him — as well as his best friend and confidante, Mazikeen (aka Maze), a fierce demon in the form of a beautiful young woman. The murder attracts the attention of LAPD homicide detective Chloe Decker, who finds herself both repulsed and fascinated by Lucifer. As they work together to solve the murder, Lucifer is struck by Chloe’s inherent goodness. Used to dealing with the absolute worst of humanity, he begins to wonder if there’s hope yet. Maybe everyone’s got a chance for redemption.  Even the Devil.

Witches of Eastwick

Jack Nicholson Directed by George Miller Jack Nicholson
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In this classic 80s comic fantasy film, Jack Nicholson portrays the Dark Lord as the enigmatic Daryl van Horne. No stranger to oddball characters, Nicholson soars as the wild, amorous Daryl, seducing an unwitting coven of witches comprised of Alex (Cher), Jane (Susan Sarandon) and Sukie (Michelle Pfeiffer). After causing mischief in the village with his antics, the coven decide there’s only one option – to get rid of him.

The Devil’s Advocate

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Al Pacino plays Beelzebub in this late 90s thriller, as the character John Milton (named after the author of Paradise Lost), the boss of a New York law firm that head hunts the extraordinary talents of Floridian Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves), who never loses a case. As Kevin defends increasingly guilty and distasteful people, whilst his wife MaryAnn (Charlize Theron) loses her marbles, he realises that Milton is after more than Kevin wants to give.

Angel Heart

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Robert de Niro shows us the greatest Satan ever committed to the silver screen playing the ambiguous Louis Cypher (pronounced similarly to ‘Lucifer’) in this 80s neo-noir psychological horror.  Cypher hires Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke) as a PI to investigate the disappearance of Johnny Favourite who owes money. As Harry tracks down friends and lovers of Favourite, who all start mysteriously dying, he realises all is not as it seems.

The Passion of the Christ

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Rosalinda Celentano played the Devil in Mel Gibson’s film which covers the final few hours of the life of Jesus Christ. Satan walks in the background and watches sadistically as Jesus was tortured and is later revealed to be carrying a demonic baby, to mock about how he himself could take care of his children better than God himself. During the torture, Satan is presumed to be one controlling the men torturing Jesus by abusing their free will as he appears at irregular moments

Bedazzled

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Liz Hurley is the most glamorous representation of the ‘Princess’ of darkness in the 2000 comedic retelling of the Faustian legend. She appears to the hopeless Elliot (Brendan Fraser) who she grants seven wishes in exchange for his soul. Each wish that the lovesick Elliot asks for to win the heart of his unrequited love, Alison (Frances O’Connor), is spoiled by elements that Elliot hadn’t thought of. This was a remake of the 1967 film that starred Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. Cook played the Devil who is in a game with God trying to collect 100 billion souls.

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The Prophecy

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The main character of the film is the Archangel Gabriel, played by Christopher Walken, who is searching for an evil soul on Earth. However, we also see Lucifer himself, this time played by Viggo Mortensen. Cool, calm and collected he steals the scenes he is in. Not easily done when your are in a film with Christopher Walken. They also play him as another angel with similar stylings to Gabriel. He doesn’t like what Gabriel is trying to achieve as it would end up being competition to Hell.

Legend

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Tim Curry played the Lord of Darkness opposite Tom Cruise in Ridley Scott’s 1985 film. His portrayal is the one most akin to many depictions of the devil – big horns, red skin and a sinister laugh. He is the devil as we envisioned him when we were Children.

Constantine

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John Constantine (Keanu Reeves) is so hated by Lucifer that his soul is the only one he will come to collect himself personally. John desperately seeks heavenly pardon by exorcising people possessed by demons and angels. Expertly portrayed by a smugly sinister performance by Peter Stormare, Lucifer comes to collect on this promise as John succumbs to cancer, but can John save his own soul, and the rest of humanity to boot?

What are your favourite depictions of the devil on the big screen?

Lucifer: The Complete First Season is released on DVD October 17, 2016

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