Total Recall: Devil Movies

With The Devil Inside hitting theaters, we look at some memorable films featuring ol' Lucifer himself.

The Exorcist

Beelzebub. Ol' Scratch. The Lord of Darkness. The Dark Prince. The devil has no shortage of nicknames -- and no shortage of opportunities on the big screen, where he's surfaced repeatedly over the years, adding a dash of brimstone to some of our favorite (and not-so-favorite) dramas, comedies, and horror flicks. With the supernatural mockumentary The Devil Inside wending its way into theaters this weekend, we decided now would be a fine time to take a look back at some of Lucifer's previous adventures in Hollywood. Grab your Bible and unbutton your coat -- just in time for the January winter chill, it's time for a devilishly super-sized Total Recall!


78%

Angel Heart

Mickey Rourke as the hero and Robert De Niro as an oddly manicured, sulfur-effusing version of the devil? It might sound like director Alan Parker got his casting backwards when he filmed Angel Heart, but things were different back in 1987 -- as any of this noirish cult favorite's many fans could attest. Rourke plays Harry Angel, a New Orleans detective hired by a client (De Niro) for a mysterious mission involving Lisa Bonet, raw chicken, and lots of blood. Somewhat notorious for annoying Bonet's TV dad, Bill Cosby, when it was released, Angel Heart wasn't a commercial hit, although it earned positive reviews (Empire's Ian Nathan called it "A diabolical treat with Rourke and De Niro in fine form").

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Angel on my Shoulder

The final film of director Archie Mayo's distinguished career, Angel on My Shoulder was essentially a thin rewrite of Here Comes Mr. Jordan -- and perhaps not coincidentally, both were written by screenwriter Harry Segall. In the first film, God comes to Earth as Mr. Jordan (Claude Rains); the second time around, Rains plays Nick, a.k.a. Satan, who schemes to use a deceased gangster's soul in order to disgrace a buttoned-down judge (Paul Muni). The results are predictable, and the critics were predictably dismissive; as Bosley Crowther shrugged for the New York Times, "The story is so imitative -- and is repeated so dutifully -- that it's hard to feel any more towards it than a mildly nostalgic regard."


49%

Bedazzled

In most of the devil's on-screen incarnations, the character is portrayed as an impossibly charismatic man -- so it only stands to reason that in the 2000 version of Bedazzled (a remake of the 1968 film starring Dudley Moore and Peter Cook), when the filmmakers decided to make he a she, they turned to the impossibly vivacious Elizabeth Hurley to fill the role. Here, the curvier Satan is after a love-starved goober (Brendan Fraser), who sells his soul in exchange for seven progressively more disastrous wishes. Most critics found it inferior to the original, but Hurley brought considerable presence to the role, as pointed out by Christopher Smith the Bangor Daily News: "Hurley is great fun to watch, a Faustian powerhouse of curves, smoky eyes and big hair who sounds exactly like Jackie Collins doing an imitation of Madonna's pan-European accent. It's creepy, but effective."

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46%

Constantine

To those who purchased tickets to Johnny Mnemonic, Keanu Reeves might be the devil; alas, in 2005's Constantine, he plays the hero of the story, a chain-smoking sorcerer locked in combat against Lucifer (Peter Stormare). Adapted from the long-running Vertigo comic Hellblazer, the movie was a $230 million box office hit in spite of largely dismissive reviews. Michael Booth of the Denver Post was one of the scribes who sided with the audience, arguing that it "takes itself just seriously enough to put on a good show" and saying, "Reeves earns some theatrical redemption, the demons put a scare into the waywardly righteous, and there are plenty of evil-duders left over for a sequel."

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79%

Crossroads

A movie whose climax involves Ralph Macchio defeating Steve Vai in a guitar duel may not sound like a critical winner, but Walter Hill's Crossroads is actually quite a bit better than that description might suggest. Scripted by kung fu black belt-turned-itinerant blues musician John Fusco (who later went on to write the Young Guns movies, among others), Crossroads follows the adventures of a young, Robert Johnson-obsessed guitarist (Macchio) who falls in with one of Johnson's former partners (Joe Seneca) and ends up drawn into a battle against the devil himself (Robert Judd). The Steve Vai thing? Yeah, it stretches credulity -- but not enough to dissuade Roger Ebert, who wrote, "Just when I'm ready to despair of a movie coming up with a fresh plot, a movie like Crossroads comes along to remind me that acting, writing and direction can redeem any plot and make any story new."

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75%

Damn Yankees

Plenty of baseball fans (and not a few players) have loudly proclaimed they'd give anything if their team could beat the Yankees -- and in this modern spin on the legend of Faust, when one bitter player swears he'd sell his soul for the privilege of a victory over the Bronx Bombers, the devil (Ray Walston) takes him up on the offer. Featuring a sharp script, classic songs, and game footage of real-life Yanks, Damn Yankees is a longtime favorite among musical fans; as TIME Magazine wrote upon its release, "As a cinemusical, Yankees manages to steal home by a wide margin."

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52%

Devil

As far as filmgoers who went to see Lady in the Water and The Happening were concerned, M. Night Shyamalan might as well have been the devil -- but he didn't star as the titular nasty in Devil, serving instead as the producer of this nifty-sounding supernatural thriller about a group of folks trapped in an elevator with ol' Scratch himself. "Don't let the Shyamalan snickering sway you from seeing this in theaters," warned Cinematical's Peter Hall. "You're bound to see it on DVD or cable down the line and regret that it took you that long to discover how good of a film it actually is."

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100%

The Devil and Daniel Webster

What could possibly make life for a 19th-century New Hampshire farmer more difficult? His foolish decision to make a deal with the devil -- as outlined in The Devil and Daniel Webster, the 1941 adaptation of Stephen Vincent Benét's short story about a man (James Craig) who sells his soul to Beelzebub (Walter Huston) in exchange for a measly seven years of prosperity. When his contract's up, he wants out -- and turns to the famed statesman Daniel Webster (Edward Arnold) to help him escape damnation. Full of fine performances and fiery populism, Webster is what Filmcritic's Jake Euker called "Spooky, light-hearted, and never less than a joy to watch."


18%

The Devil and Max Devlin

If the devil is real, does he wear colorful sweaters and eat pudding? This is one of the troubling questions raised by the early '80s Disney comedy The Devil and Max Devlin, in which a sleazy landlord (Elliott Gould) dies and goes to hell, where the devilish Max Satin (last name pronounced with a long A, natch) tells him he can rescue himself from eternal damnation by tricking three people into selling their souls. Sadly, most critics felt Devlin failed to live up to its intriguingly non-Disney premise, with the New York Times' Vincent Canby offering one of the few bits of limited praise: "The performances are attractive though, with one exception, not especially memorable."


66%

The Devil's Advocate

Given his vulpine grin and predilection for scenery-chewing, it's somewhat surprising that it took until 1997 for Al Pacino to play the devil -- but when he finally got around to it, he made it count: Taylor Hackford's The Devil's Advocate is a loopy blend of camp and horror in which a hungry young rural attorney (Keanu Reeves) is recruited into a shady big-city firm by its charismatic senior partner (Pacino), to the growing chagrin of his increasingly unstable wife (Charlize Theron). A $152 million hit, Advocate inspired praise from critics like Margaret A. McGurk of the Cincinnati Enquirer, who called it "A literate meditation on human weakness and a hipped-out horror movie all in one."

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Comments

Movie Monster

Bentley Lyles

FIRST! Interesting list to say the least.

Jan 4 - 05:09 PM

bamb0o-stick

Jonathan Y

Did you even read what the list is about? Way to say something for the sake of saying something and contribute nothing to the discussion at all.

Jan 5 - 01:10 AM

ap sirius

karl anderson

obviously you couldnt find anything interesting either except to come on and critisize someone else.....oops , I guess Im doing the same...lol.....Except for a couple of these films , most of them arent worth watching or putting on a list...

Jan 5 - 01:19 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

EXACTLY . . . HEY JEFF GILES!!! do remember that Bedazzled is a remake of the Dudley Moore film of 1967 directed by Stanley Donen and co-starring Peter Cook

Jan 5 - 06:43 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I was going to say something. Rachel Welch or Elizabeth Hurley. Both? That's just a SIN!!!

Jan 5 - 07:28 PM

Djangolulu S.

Djangolulu Smith

What is your problem? You get all uppity because you find a comment unsatisfactory? It is pathetic that you expect everything you find on the Internet to be up to your "high" expectations.

Jan 5 - 07:45 PM

Roman Zolanski

Gaylord Focker

What a tool. How pitiful

Jan 5 - 10:11 AM

Movie Monster

Bentley Lyles

I should have gone more in-depth my my comment. None of these movies appeal to me so that's why I called this article "interesting". I would like to see Tge Excorsist but that won't happen anytime soon because I am not a horror fan and I'm also squeamish.

Jan 5 - 04:41 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Not to tease, but that's just really funny coming from your profile picture.

Jan 5 - 07:29 PM

Unbreakable Samurai

Unbreakable Samurai

Haha, that's some funny shit!

Feb 17 - 06:31 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

PRAISES BE TO JEFF GILES!!!!

Jan 5 - 06:36 PM

Facebook User

Facebook User

my co-worker's half-sister makes $77 hourly on the internet. She has been unemployed for 7 months but last month her pay was $9080 just working on the internet for a few hours. Here's the site to read more... LazyCash5.com

Jan 5 - 08:15 PM

Mark Hamstra

Mark Hamstra

web cam skanks make good cash

Jan 5 - 11:26 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Hits most of my personal favorites - "Prince of Darkness" and "Haxan" as well as the funnest devilish performances - Nicholson, DeNiro, and Pacino. So what if they missed "Petey Wheatstraw, Devil's Son in Law"? I can live with that. Missing Charles Dance from "Golden Child" is less forgivable though. I'm not quite sure David Warner from "Time Bandits" counts, but seems reasonable enough. (By the way, the Devil does not actually make an appearance in "Exorcist". Rachel was possessed by the Babylonian Wind Demon Pazuzu.)

Jan 4 - 05:34 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Charles Dance doesn't play the Devil either, He only plays a demon as well, Sardo Numpspa or Numpsy :)

Jan 5 - 05:16 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Ooops. I haven't seen it in a while. That's what I get for getting cute on the Exorcist. "Turn it over, man, it's burning."

Jan 5 - 08:04 AM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

It happens to the best of us, I try to talk out my ass at least once a week. Just to see if anyone will call me on it. My current personal favorite is claiming people who are still alive would role over in their graves i.e. Keith Richards would roll over in his grave if he heard this...just to see who catches on and will call me on it. I don't get a lot of calls on Keith cause really it seems like he shouldn't still be around right?

Jan 5 - 08:40 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

When the Keefer stops kicking, we'll all feel a little shift in the Earth's axis.

Jan 5 - 08:49 AM

Frisby2007

Frisby 2007

I was about to throw a fit if RT didn't include "The Witches of Eastwick" in this list. Great list, I loved Constantine, The Devil's Advocate (despite being a bit boring on some occasions), The Exorcist, & The Witches of Eastwick. haven't seen the rest.

Jan 4 - 05:37 PM

Dave J

Dave J

Which reminds me I gotta find my recorded copy of Hexen! "Here Comes Mr. Jordon", "Cabin In The Clouds" and "Antichrist" to name a few!

Jan 4 - 05:53 PM

Dave J

Dave J

Didn't see "Here Comes Mr Jordon" mentioned on "Angels on My Shoulders" but the two that can also qualify here is "Hellboy" and "Fantasia"!

Jan 5 - 03:27 PM

Jason Wilkerson

Jason Wilkerson

RT's really changing things up this year. I thought Total Recall was going to be a top 10 like usually. Glad to see Angel Heart getting some love though, great flick!

Jan 4 - 06:01 PM

Liam Cochran

Liam Cochran

House of the Devil?!?!?

Jan 4 - 06:31 PM

Chris Esposito

Chris Esposito

Dear God I love "House of the Devil"

Jan 5 - 05:55 AM

sankat m.

sankat m

A good list by RT after a very long time.. Where is

Paranormal Activity??

Jan 4 - 07:49 PM

Roman Zolanski

Gaylord Focker

Paranormal Activity is where Paranormal Activity belongs, i.e. not on a list of films about Satan? Where in Paranormal Activity is there anything about Satan? Dude, are you joking or something :S I don't do internet acronyms but SMH in this case.
I would nominate Rosemary's Baby, The Omen and the Beyond (doesn't specify Satan but has the single most frightening image of Hell/purgatory in all cinema history - that's no hyperbole that's a solid fact. Beats out Evennt Horizon and Constantine and others)

Jan 4 - 08:46 PM

justjoustin

Joshua G

Agreed, Rosemary's Baby might have a brief glimpse of the POD but man, it's still terrifying and utterly creepy.

Jan 4 - 10:20 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

"Beyond"? If you're referring to the Lucio Fulci flick, hats off!

Jan 5 - 08:06 AM

Roman Zolanski

Gaylord Focker

Yes I am :) Superb movie. The ending is masterfully chilling - defnitely no shameless set up for a sequel in the that (*looks sternly at Speilberg & Jackson* ahem Tintin cough cough)

Jan 5 - 10:15 AM

Max Camacho

Max Camacho

HAHAHAHAHAHA, Passion of the Christ has a poster for Devil, Prince of Darkness has a Passion of the Christ poster, nice job RT

Jan 4 - 07:50 PM

Brad H.

Brad Hadfield

LOL, and they still haven't fixed it! Maybe it's just their sense of humor, in which case, I approve.

Jan 5 - 06:17 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I hated the little devil children chasing Judas off the cliff, or Gibson's decision to portray the Devil as female (Rosalinda Celentano), if only because Mel stressed the 'accuracy' of his film. Even in terms of the mythical aspect (for us non-believers), these things are not accurate to any source material, apocrypha or otherwise.

Jan 5 - 08:14 AM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

I suppose an argument could be made that since the Passion was based off of Medieval passion plays and people of the Middle Ages were notorious for blaming the women folk for all their troubles there was justification for it, but that's stretching it pretty far and is a little un-PC even for me. Though it would have been a better excuse for painting the Jews in such an unflattering light than what he came up with.

Jan 5 - 08:44 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I don't think the Devil was a woman in the extant versions of those passion plays, in fact, I'm not sure if women were allowed on stage! I think that's more of an insight into Mel's own personal issues.

Jan 5 - 08:47 AM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

You are correct Sir, men played all the roles in medieval times including the ladies. Just saying the first people to get blamed when the milk started to curdle and the livestock died in those times were women's and Hebrews. He was just sticking to the stories roots.

Jan 5 - 09:34 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Unrelated, I wanted to see what pious souls gave "Haxan" it's rotten reviews, and like a lot of old movies, only 2 bad reviews dropped it down to 88%. Marty Mapes says "It's view of witchcraft seems dated". Hmm. Dated like...the very concept of witchcraft itself?!?!? Those evil feminine wiles were indeed blamed for many men's weaknesses. How quaint of this movie to point it out!

Jan 5 - 03:35 PM

Mark Hamstra

Mark Hamstra

I don't agree. I thought the depiction of lucifer was fresh and interesting. Lucifer could have picked any meat suit it wanted.

Jan 5 - 11:37 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Satan is not the same character as Lucifer. Satan is derived from the Hebrew "accuser". Lucifer was the 'light-bringer', the brightest angel who rebeled against God and was banished from Heaven. Interestingly, this latter story does not appear in the Bible, and is doubtful it is of Hebrew origin. 'Lucifer' is only mentioned in Isaiah (somewhat, as "the morning star"), which indicates it was probably added during the Babylonian captivity. Lucifer is not mentioned in the New Testament. John Milton did not write the bible, and his stories should not be confused with it. Similarly, there's no evidence that the snake in the Garden of Eden was ever identified with Satan. If you actually read the god damn book (blasphemy!), you'll notice the snake is never referred to as being identified with the Devil or Satan or Lucifer or Leviathon or whatever else you want to call the personification of pride and temptation.

Jan 6 - 09:55 AM

Matt Hoffman

matthew hoffman

HAHAHAHA Passion of the Christ

Jan 4 - 07:56 PM

Roman Zolanski

Gaylord Focker

Paranormal Activity is where Paranormal Activity belongs, i.e. not on a list of films about Satan? Where in Paranormal Activity is there anything about Satan? Dude, are you joking or something :S I don't do internet acronyms but SMH in this case.
I would nominate Rosemary's Baby, The Omen and the Beyond (doesn't specify Satan but has the single most frightening image of Hell/purgatory in all cinema history - that's no hyperbole that's a solid fact. Beats out Evennt Horizon and Constantine and others)

Jan 4 - 08:46 PM

justjoustin

Joshua G

Agreed, Rosemary's Baby might have a brief glimpse of the POD but man, it's still terrifying and utterly creepy.

Jan 4 - 10:20 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

"Beyond"? If you're referring to the Lucio Fulci flick, hats off!

Jan 5 - 08:06 AM

Roman Zolanski

Gaylord Focker

Yes I am :) Superb movie. The ending is masterfully chilling - defnitely no shameless set up for a sequel in the that (*looks sternly at Speilberg & Jackson* ahem Tintin cough cough)

Jan 5 - 10:15 AM

Kriftonucci

Jim Ylonen

They say "Angel Heart" was part of a few films that came before Inception and yet were twice as complicated. Seeing it on this list makes me want to verify if it's true.

Jan 4 - 10:08 PM

Brad H.

Brad Hadfield

I didn't find Angel Heart complicated at all. At points you wonder where it is going, but it all comes together masterfully at the end. It left me a bit stunned, and also impressed that although the answers are right under your nose the whole time, the filmmakers are able to keep you from seeing the obvious.

Jan 5 - 06:06 AM

Dmitriy Kropivnitskiy

Dmitriy Kropivnitskiy

I cannot say Angel Heart is complicated. But than neither is Inception. If you want complicated (and I mean complicated in the same sense Inception is not), watch Triangle or Timecrimes. If you think these are too simple, watch Primer (but I will not be held responsible for your dislocated brain :) )

Jan 5 - 10:37 PM

Kriftonucci

Jim Ylonen

You mean "Los Cronocrimenes"? Oh I saw that one. At least Inception does a good job in guiding you through the puzzle.

Jan 6 - 03:20 PM

justjoustin

Joshua G

Agreed, Rosemary's Baby might have a brief glimpse of the POD but man, it's still terrifying and utterly creepy.

Jan 4 - 10:20 PM

Manjunath Msk

Manjunath Msk

Where is Omen?

Jan 4 - 10:52 PM

Dean W.

Dean Wirth

good question, aside from Rosemary the best devil film ever

Jan 8 - 06:13 PM

Manjunath Msk

Manjunath Msk

Where is Omen?

Jan 4 - 10:53 PM

Maninthebox22

Javier Tamargo

The Omen doesn't involve the devil directly. it's about the anti-christ... why is the picture for Prince of Darkness from The Passion of the christ lol

Jan 4 - 11:38 PM

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