This weekend one of the big movie releases is a puritan horror extravaganza called The Witch. It concerns a New England family who, due to some disagreements with their community, move to the edge of the woods to live how they choose. They end up stumbling across a great evil–black magic, demon possession, and the like. It sounds like an absolutely chilling horror movie and has been getting rave reviews.
One of the stars of the movie is a sinister looking goat named Black Phillip, a continuation of the goat-as-devil treatment that started with Baphomet, the idol supposedly worshipped by the Knights Templar. This is, though, hardly the first time that the devil / satan has appeared in a movie. In fact, when he’s not taking the form of a goat, the devil has taken the form of some of the most regarded actors of the 20th century (Yes, there’s a Heat showdown coming). In preparation for The Witch, then, let’s take a gander at some of these with the Top 5 satanic movie appearances:
(Warning: some NSFW language / scenes ahead)
5. Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny – takes the form of Dave Grohl / Paul F. Tomkins
Just when JB & KG thought they’ve solved their problems and don’t need the Pick of Destiny anymore, the open mic host combines the pieces to reform the tooth of the devil from whence the pick had come. Once he reverts to his big, red, scaly form, he has to battle Tenacious D in a rock-off challenge, something the devil is quite adept at, especially having taken the form of Foo Fighter’s frontman Dave Grohl. It’s a good thing the D brought their Rocket Sauce to the battle, because they needed every once of it to prevent the Beelzeboss from dragging Rage-Kage to hell and making him his concubine.
4. Constantine – takes the form of Peter Stomare
Poor Keanu. He’s on this list twice taking the devil on! In Constantine he’s been running from having his soul harvested for a long time and we can understand why when you see the devil’s slimy, lurching manner in the form of Prison Break’s Peter Stomare. Creepy neck tattoos, feet covered in tar, an ill-fitting all white outfit (the dry cleaning bills!), this is one gross devil!
3. The Prophecy – takes the form of Viggo Mortensen
Prophecy is one of the great horror movies of the 1990s. Though he plays only a bit role trying to counterbalance Christopher Walken’s Archangel Gabriel, the devil in the form of Viggo Mortensen is pretty scary. He teases and cajoles our hero, Father Thomas, and does his best to frighten poor Katherine (peak horror movie Virginia Madsen!). He also gives her one of the easier decisions in movie history:
“I can lay you out and fill your mouth with your mother’s feces… or we can talk.”
I know you shouldn’t talk to the devil, but damn dude.
2. The Devil’s Advocate – takes the form of Al Pacino
One of the classic performances, this role really set the tone for the devil in a ton of movies to come. He nails mid-to-late career Pacino too, spot on. Poor Keanu has even worse stuff happen to him in this flick and, then, when he trolls for revenge is met by the laughing, screaming, speechifying incarnation of lawyer devil. It’s over the top and bombastic and would probably be the tip-tops of devilly film appearances if it weren’t for…
1. Angel Heart – takes the form of Robert De Niro
The scariest incarnation of the behind-the-scenes, manipulating devil. This is the devil who is so subtle and evil that there’s not much poor Mickey Rourke can do to change his outcome. Between the scene above and the ‘Egg’ scene, this is the best / most convincing / scariest appearance of satan in a movie.