He (or she?) is known by many names – The Devil, Satan, Mephistopheles (which is sometimes used as the name of Satan and sometimes as just a chief devil such as in the Faust legend), Mr. Scratch, and Lucifer to name a few. Whether he’s referred to by these more common names or by a more obscure name, Satan has appeared in 900 different films and television shows (according to IMDB.com) to date.
Satan obviously represents the archetypal image of evil. No other specific character is so infused in our psyche as Satan, and consequently no other specific character is represented in film with more regularity. Often portrayed in his “normal” persona of a purely evil antagonist, Mephisto has had many notably unusual appearances as well.
With the first of my October articles in honor of Halloween, here are 20 weird and wonderful appearances as the Devil in movies and television.
- Linda Blair in The Exorcist – I know, she wasn’t possessed by the Devil, but I had to mention Linda Blair in this article.
- Billy Zane in Demon Knight – The bad guy is known as the Collector, but he could just as easily have played the Devil in this movie.
- David Warner as the Evil Genius in Time Bandits – I’m not sure he was officially the Devil, but Evil was pretty close. Besides, there was a character known as the Supreme Being, so I think we can assume Evil is the Devil.
- Jamie Sheridan as Randall Flagg in the TV mini-series The Stand – Although he is not specifically named as the Devil, Flagg is as close to pure evil as anything not named Satan.
- Harvey Keitel in Little Nicky – Probably Adam Sandler’s worst film, even Keitel couldn’t salvage this movie.
- Jeff Goldblum in Mister Frost – Was he the devil or just a clever serial killer?
- Fairuza Balk as Vicki Vallencourt in The Waterboy – She might be the Devil. Mama said that.
- Al Pacino in The Devil’s Advocate – Yes, he was good. He just wasn’t one of my 20 favorites.
- Peter Stormare in Constantine – What’s with Keanu Reeves being in Devil movies?
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