As fans of the television show Buffy The Vampire Slayer know, in every television show, video game or movie, there must be a “big bad.” Some nemesis that is so powerful and so outweighs the characters, that you simply must watch/read/play to find out how good can triumph.
Frankly, and I’m sure I am not the only one, but good tends to win a hell of a lot more than evil. And there is only one bad guy who is the biggest and the baddest. He is the ruler of the underworld – Satan.
So, this top ten list will be devoted to depictions of Satan in movies, television shows, and video games. The beauty of these lists are that they are subjective. My #1 may not be yours, so feel free to chime in through the comments section below and let me know what your list would be.
Let’s start the countdown, shall we?
10) Elizabeth Hurley in Bedazzled
Who better to play Satan that the gorgeous Elizabeth Hurley? The movie was not the greatest, and she hasn’t done anything worthwhile since Austin Powers, but she did bring a hell of a lot of sizzle and fire to the role. Granted, she will not scare the pants off of you, but she will most definitely be able to get them off with a wry smile and a sexy wink.
The Devil: You know, you’d think that meeting the Devil would be interesting enough but no. All people want to know about is Him. Like He’s so bloody fascinating!
Elliot Richards: So He’s a man?
The Devil: Yeah, most men think they’re God, this one just happens to be right.
9) Ray Wise in “Reaper”
Imagine your parents promised you to Satan when you turn 21, and that to work off their debt, you must hunt down escaped souls to free yourself from your own hellish fate. Wouldn’t that just suck?
Now, imagine that the devil wore a fine tailored suit, was extremely dry-witted and gave you no sense of grief? Sounds like a match made in … well, you know.
The Devil: Sammy, punishing souls is like raising children. They need consistency. And you can’t reward bad behavior. They step out of line, you just have to give them a timeout in the Closet of Abysmal Agony
8) Lucifer from the video game “Dante’s Inferno”
The video game, based on the epic poem by Dante, focuses on a man who plunges himself into hell to free his beloved Beatrice’s soul from the underworld. The main villain is Lucifer (AKA Satan), who has carefully crafted all the events of the game so that Dante can free Lucifer from his icy prison.
In the game, Lucifer is a cunning villain who looms over every decision and major battle in the game. And, as you can see from the video embedded above, the final battle is not easy.
But, it all depends on your point of view, as one of the main draws in the game is that you can either absolve souls of their sins and be righteous, or punish the souls and be corrupt.
Lucifer: You are the best, Dante. Many have tried, and many have failed me. Brave Ulysses, the great Alexander, Attila, Lancelot – Only you possessed a soul black enough to free me.
7) Al Pacino as John Milton in “The Devil’s Advocate”
A popular joke is that all lawyers are evil, blood-sucking leeches. So, why not make the most cunning and powerful lawyer in Manhattan the living embodiment of Satan?
Al Pacino, one of cinema’s greatest actor’s, pulls off an amazing performance as John Milton, the most cunning, deceitful and powerful lawyer in New York. But, when he lures an unsuspecting Keanu Reeves to his law firm, he sets to bring on the end the world by bringing the Anti-Christ into it.
Kevin Lomax: “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven”, is that it?
John Milton: Why not? I’m here on the ground with my nose in it since the whole thing began. I’ve nurtured every sensation man’s been inspired to have. I cared about what he wanted and I never judged him. Why? Because I never rejected him. In spite of all his imperfections, I’m a fan of man! I’m a humanist. Maybe the last humanist
6) Satan from “South Park”
While not the most evil incarnation of Satan, the one in South Park shows us a kinder and gentler side of the Dark Prince … kind of.
We’ve seen his struggles with relationships, the hardships of deciding to go with love or lust, raising a literal demonic hell child, wanting to throw the biggest birthday ever, defeating Jesus (his mortal enemy), and much more. And yet, through all of that, Satan seems like a fairly reasonable ruler of the underworld. While he is still terrifying at points, when Satan belts out a song like the one here, you cannot help but feel for the guy.
Satan: Without evil there could be no good, so it must be good to be evil sometimes.
5) Tim Curry as The Lord Darkness in ‘Legend’
This incarnation of Satan is taken directly from your childhood nightmares of what he looks like — amped up 100-fold. The Lord of Darkness, played brilliantly by Tim Curry, stole every scene he was in. His presence and voice make for an unforgettable devil that haunted the dreams of millions of people worldwide, and probably still does.
The Lord of Darkness: Oh, Mother Night! Fold your dark arms about me. Protect me in your black embrace. I sit alone, an impotent exile, whilst this form, this presence, returns to torment me!
4) Peter Stormare as Lucifer in “Constantine”
In this movie, Keanu Reeves plays John Constantine, a man with incurable lung cancer seeking salvation from eternal damnation in Hell, stemming from a suicide attempt in his youth, by sending half-demons back to Hell. At the end of the movie (SPOILER ALERT), Constantine dies and Lucifer appears to collect John’s soul himself.
But, when Constantine sacrifices himself so that Rachel Weisz‘s identical twin sister’s soul can go to heaven can go to Heaven, he redeems himself enough to get into heaven. Obviously, this pisses Lucifer off, so he does something worthy of spot #4 on this list.
He rips the cancer out of Constantine’s lungs, thereby saving his life, and giving him a second chance at life to prove that his soul is destined for Hell.
Satan: No. You will live, John Constantine. You will live so you will have the chance to prove that your soul truly belongs in hell. Oh, you will live. You will live
3) Robot Devil in “Futurama”
If a follower of Robotology in the Futurama universe sins more-so than usual, he is condemned to robot hell, located in New Jersey. There, the Robot Devil will tailor a punishment unique to your specific needs.
Think of it as a five-star spa of torture.
But, loosing your soul to the Robot Devil (or Beelze-bot) is not without loop-holes. Thanks to the Fairness in Hell Act of 2275, anyone who can defeat him in a fiddle contest will go free, as well as win a golden fiddle (a reference to the song “The Devil went down to Georgia.”)
Leela: All right, Beelzebot, what’ll it take to get our friend back?
The Robot Devil: Sorry, but I hold all the cards here. There’s nothing you can do. Now, if you’ll just sign this fiddle contest waiver…
Leela: Wait. What fiddle contest?
The Robot Devil: Urrggh. The Fairness In Hell Act of 2275 requires me to inform you that if you can best me in a fiddle contest, you win back Bender’s soul. As well as a solid gold fiddle.
Fry: Wouldn’t a solid gold fiddle weigh hundreds of pounds and sound crummy?
The Robot Devil: Well, it’s mostly for show.
Leela (whispering): Do you know how to play the fiddle?
Fry (whispering): No, do you?
Leela: (whispering) No but I used to play the drums. They’re sorta similar. (talking) What happens if we lose?
Robot Devil: You’ll only win a smaller silver fiddle. Also I guess I’ll kill one of you.
2) Diablo from the “Diablo” series of video games
In the computer game series Diablo, Diablo 2 and the soon-to-be-released Diablo 3, your nemesis is Diablo (AKA Satan). Sure there are plenty of other bad guys along the way, including Diablo’s two brothers, but he is always your eventual goal.
The thing that makes Diablo worthy of the number 2 spot, is that he corrupts everyone. In the first game, he lured townsfolk into Hell to do his bidding. Then, when a hero contained the essence of Diablo within himself, Diablo corrupted him. He turned the hero of the first game into the villain of the second.
How much more bad ass can you get?
Diablo: “Not even death can save you from me!”
1) The Player from various video games
You’re probably thinking … what?
After thinking long and hard, the solution was actually quite simple. In the video games in which moral dilemma’s are presented to the player (Mass Effect 1 and 2, Fable 1 and 2, Grand Theft Auto IV, Fallout 2 and 3, every BioWare game, Black & White 1 and 2, and many more), there are decisions that every player must make.
Will you use excessive force even when not necessary? Will you kill random civilians for the sheer joy of it? Will you help the helpless, or crush them in search of greater power? Or will you sacrifice the innocent to get what you want?
In making the “evil” decisions, the player becomes warped and distorted into becoming pure evil. In Black and White, you play a deity and if you take the route of evil by killing civilians and showing no respect for life, your avatar (a hand) becomes red and clawed. In Mass Effect 1 and 2, by using lethal force and disdain to others, your face becomes cracked and red.
But most impressively are the Fable series of games, where by killing innocents and letting nothing get in your way, your face begins to flush. Your eyes turn red, you grow horns out of your head, and your very footsteps scorch the earth.
After all, it’s better being the devil you know than the devil you don’t, right?
Do you agree with my choices for the top 10 best depictions of Satan? If not, feel free to let me know in the comment section below!