So, 2010 seems to be the year of crappy religiously–themed movies, most with Paul Bettany, apparently. [I’m so looking forward to all of them.] To celebrate this, why don’t we take a look at older movies of the same orientation, more or less crappy.
And since the most interesting thing about these movies is usually the bad guy, let’s talk about devils!
Yes, I’m aware that Jason Lee doesn’t actually play the devil, but his henchman Azrael. But anyway, he’s awesome doing it.
9. Elizabeth Hurley in Bedazzled
Staying with the funny movies, we have Bedazzled. Neither the film nor Elizabeth Hurley are especially remarkable but the fact that she’s a female devil is. I can’t think of any other female devil (except the one in The Passion of the Christ who is so androgynous as to be almost sexless). So, she’s on here. [Btw, best scene of the film… it’s the song that tips it over the top.]
Making the cross slowly towards the more serious (even if not entirely) movies, we got the Witches of Eastwick. Jack Nicholson plays his role with so much glee, it’s amazingly entertaining to watch. That the women around him are great as well, is not entirely unhelpful. He even makes me believe that Jack Nicholson might have been sexy at some point in time.
7. Gabriel Byrne in End of Days
In the scene above, we see him being possessed by the devil in the rest room, kiss his business partner’s wife. What we don’t see anymore in this video is her exploding after he left. Anyway, Gabriel Byrne’s devil is so suave as to be almost entirely expressionless. And he’s fucking evil, as a devil should be.
6. Max von Sydow in Needful Things
Okay, it’s never explicitly stated that Sydow plays the actual devil, but come on, we all know he does… Anyways, Sydow’s devil is polite and friendly – a nice old man. But he knows the evil inside of people and uses it against them, making him one of the most perfidious devils ever. [It’s also one of the strongest books by King, imo.]
Pacino’s devil is slick. He really is the epitome of the 20th century devil. And he really shines in the role. Makes you wonder why it’s been so long that he did a halfway decent movie.
Waits’ devil is of the betting persuasion: not caring about winning or losing, he just wants to keep the game going. It’s not really about the souls, but more about the torment he can inflict on the persons he plays with. And Tom Waits has no problems convincing us of this, showing the devil at once almost childish and absolutely relentless. Terrific.
3. Gary Oldman in Beat the Devil
Only a short film/advertisement, Beat the Devil boasts a considerable cast and a great Gary Oldman. Here, the devil is absolutely flamboyant. Walking the thin line between being funny and being scary. And nobody can walk that line like Oldman.
2. Peter Stormare in Constantine
Constantine is, in my opinion, seriously underrated as a movie. But anyway, Stormare plays the devil with an insane intensity, flickering between horrifying, crazy and even kinda sexy as if it were nothing and showing more facial expression in five minutes than Keanu Reeves in his entire acting career.
1. Viggo Mortensen in The Prophecy
The movie itself is absolute crap. Do not bother to watch it. When even Christopher Walken can’t make a movie enjoyable, something is seriously amiss. But it is well worth to watch the youtube video I posted to watch Viggo Mortensen turn a very bad script into an absolutely terrifying performance. Of all the devils I wrote about, he’s the one that captures his inhumanity best. Despite the dry humour, his performance is incredibly feral. Perfect.