Saturday, 30 January 2010

RICH LIST #3 : Nine Devils, Lucifers, Mephistopheles and Satans

Nine Devils, Lucifers, Mephistopheles, Satans, Beezlebubs, Horned Ones, Lords of Lies and Flies and other really bad things like black pointy beards, long fingernails and unnecessary manic laughter.
1) Who is Louis Cyphre (Robert De Niro) in ANGEL HEART (1987)? He's the Devil! Of course he is! Down on his luck private eye Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke) is hired by Mr Cyphre to find his lost "property". The only lead a once famous crooner named Johnny Favorite. Angel goes down south to New Orleans where tarot readings, voodoo rituals, blood drenched sex, and mutilations and dismembered corpses point the way to the Horned One. But we all got it straight away from the name. Well apart from those who weren't going - " Bloody hell is that Robert De Niro?" That and the black pointy beard (dead giveaway), sharp pointy fingernails and talk of souls and so on. Mr S. Atan - now that might have worked.

2) Terence Stamp's Devil in THE COMPANY OF WOLVES (1984) has only a cameo appearance in Neil Jordan's adaptation of the werewolf bits from Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber. But to me he is the Devil. Sharp suit, classy Roller, blonde chauffeur, holding up (what is probably) a child's skull as he strikes another deal in the middle of the night. And absolutely no manic laughter and black beards. Or pitchforks for that matter, well unless they're in the boot.

3) The 'Little Blonde Girl Who Plays With a Ball' Devil in Fellini's "TOBY DAMMIT" segment, based on Edgar Allen Poe's Never Bet the Devil Your Head, from SPIRITS OF THE DEAD aka HISTOIRES EXTRAORDINAIRES (1968). Actor Terence Stamp (this time not the Devil) arrives in Italy for a film award ceremony, plagued by drugs, alcohol, self loathing and disturbing visions of a hunched up scary smiling girl bouncing a ball. Eager to escape the visions and the awards ceremony he takes refuge in a really fast Ferrari, but is unable to avoid his fate. Fellini's Devil (a representation of Toby Dammit's immaturity apparently) was a stroke of genius. But was probably inspired by Luis Bunuel's swearing in Latin schoolgirl Devil in SIMON OF THE DESERT (1965), and Mario Bava's avenging ghost (complete with ball) in OPERAZIONE PAURA aka KILL BABY KILL (1966). Still, easily the scariest on this list.

4) Even scarier than the great vat of green goo Satan (kind of) from PRINCE OF DARKNESS (1987). Actually it's the Anti-Christ really (imagine Damien in THE OMEN or Adrian in ROSEMARY'S BABY, just more liquidy). But we do get a glimpse of the Anti-God (yea foul horned one) trapped in another dimension reaching through a mirror. We also get possessions, zombified homeless people, Alice Cooper and an extremely worried Donald Pleasance. Not a lot of manic laughter or black pointy beards here though. Doesn't really work with green liquid...

5) Daniel Emilfork's part time undertaker Satan in THE DEVIL'S NIGHTMARE aka LA TERRIFICANTE NOTTE DEL DEMONIO (1971). A bunch of tourists are misdirected by a suspicious black clad, odd looking undertaker to an old castle complete with a beautiful blood crazed succubus. He takes a back seat to Erika Blanc for most of the film but he finally gets his moment at the end, bargaining with the priest for his soul. We even get contracts signed in blood. No beards though.

6) Telly Savalas as Leandro in LISA AND THE DEVIL (1972). Leandro is butler to the Countess of a dilapidated mansion plagued by surreal occurrences and brutal murders. He also makes suspiciously life like dolls, and sucks lollipops. Tourist Lisa (Elke Sommer) is drawn into Leandro's nightmarish world after finding a painting of the Devil. Leandro, of course, is a dead ringer for the picture's depiction of the Lord of Lies. Quite menacing but sadly no beard.

7) David Warner as Evil in TIME BANDITS (1981). A Satan in all but name chasing down a bunch of dwarfs, and their friend Kevin, for the prize of a map (stolen from the Supreme Being) to space and time. If he gets the map, Evil will be able to make the universe in his image. Lives in the Fortress of Ultimate Darkness with various minions. Hates dwarfs. Pointy fingernails but again no beard.

8) Peter Cook as George Spiggott in BEDAZZLED (1967). As part of his competition with God to see who will be the first to get to the 100 billion soul mark, George grants the suicidal Stanley Moon (Dudley Moore) seven wishes. In exchange for his soul, he will get the infatuated fool together with his object of lust Margaret (Eleanor Bron). But the Devil, as always, is a tricky bastard and spells as a millionaire, intellectual, pop star and nun all backfire for Stanley. Snappy dresser. Hates hippies. Enjoys practical jokes.

9) Finally, a proper Satan - Richard Devon in THE UNDEAD (1957). Dresses in lots of black. Check. Pointy black beard. Check. Pointy ears. Check. Manic unnecessary laughter. Check. Sceptre/pitchfork not in boot. Check. Appearance in a sudden burst of flame. Yeaaah check. Rubbish Shakespearean dialogue. Yep. This Satan is the arch enemy of Heaven. Behold the subtle workings of his talents and pray he never turn his interests on you. HAhahahaHAhahahaHA... ha... Yeah...

Also Viggo Mortensen's fallen angel Lucifer in THE PROPHECY (1995), a far too posh Elizabeth Hurley in the remake of BEDAZZLED (2000), Mephisto in FAUST (1926), the giant Disney Satan in FANTASIA (1940), Mr Skin in HIGHWAY 61 (1991), Al Pacino in THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE (1997), Walter Huston in THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER (1941), The Goat of Mentes in THE DEVIL RIDE'S OUT (1968), LSD Satan in ALTERED STATES (1980), Big Horned Tim Curry in LEGEND (1985), Jack Nicholson in THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK (1987), Burgess Meredith in TORTURE GARDEN (1967), the Swearing Blonde Girl/Jesus Christ/Toga wearing Devil in SIMON OF THE DESERT (1965), Martin Scorsese's "homage" to Bunuel in LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST (1988), Mel Gibson's screaming Dario Argento like Devil in THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST (2004), a pair of yellow eyes and scaly paws in ROSEMARY'S BABY (1968), and Gabriel Byrne in END OF DAYS (1999).

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