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HAPPY HOLIDAYS: Top 10 Films With the Devil

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HAPPY HOLIDAYS: Top 10 Films With The Devil

Celebrating the holiday with a little horror.

By Josh Gordon     December 24, 2008

Top 10 Films With the Devil
© Josh Gordon for Mania.Com

Well, it’s that time of year again. Chestnuts roasting over open fires, the smell of Christmas pine in the air and all that holiday cheer. But what’s a Maniac to do if you’re not the Christmas spirit type? Or if you just prefer your holidays with a little horror in them? These movies possess the very best representation of the Prince of Darkness, or at least they show, in glorious detail, all the ramifications and then some of walk into his neck of the woods.

Now, go read the list and afterwards say 10 “our Fathers” and 10 “hail Marys  

10. Legend (1985)

Directed by Ridley Scott; Starring Tom Cruise and Tim Curry

Like it or not, Ridley Scott’s foray into fantasy explodes every time Tim Curry is in a scene. A giant with red skin and huge horns, the devil is portrayed more classically here than in any movie of recent memory. The scenes of Hell are straight out of Dante and other fine art interpretations. In fact, that is main reason to watch Legend when it comes on the TV is for these sequences.


9. The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941)

Directed by William Dieterle Starring Edward Arnold, Walter Huston

Walter Huston plays Scratch, our old friend the Devil, in this whimsical fantasy classic. Webster is about a farmer who, while good at heart, makes that darn deal and ends up, of course, regretting it. A charming picture that has strong elements of darkness as well as light.


8. The Devil Rides Out (1968)

Directed by Terence Fisher; Starring Christopher Lee and Charles Gray

A Hammer classic- The Devil Rides Out is a very stately satanic story from British authorDennisWheatley with a screenplay by Richard Matheson (Twilight Zone, the novel I Am Legend). This one has all the trimmings, pentagrams, devil worshippers in groups of thirteen, safe magical circles and even a visit from the master of darkness himself!


7. Bedazzled (1967)

 Directed by Stanley Donen; Starring Peter Cook and Dudley Moore

Peter Cook and Dudley Moore are pure magic in this delightful romp about a frump (Dudley Moore) and the Devil (Peter Cook) that promises him love but be-devils him every time. Hilarious stuff from director of ‘Singing in the Rain’ and ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’.


6. Angel Heart (1987)

Directed by Alan Parker; Starring Mickey Rourke and Lisa Bonet

Mickey Rourke plays a detective looking to track down a singer for a client named Louis Cyphre.  A horror-noir, Angel Heart gets better with time. Look out for DeNiro’s (as Cyphre) subtle but intense performance. The films also showcases New Orleans as a city steeped in atmosphere and rich in occult history. Lisa Bonet naked doesn’t hurt either.


5. Exorcist III (1990)

 Directed by William Peter Blatty; Starring George C. Scott and Brad Douriff

So the devil himself might not actually show up in this one but his presence is so dominating and parts of this movie are so evil that it absolutely deserves inclusion on this list. Exorcist III might be the most unappreciated horror film of all time. Original Exorcist scribe William Peter Blatty helms this creepfest with aplomb. This film takes place several years after the original and brings the pain. George C Scott takes over for Lee J. Cobb and we’re none the wiser. The movie also (thank the Lord) completely ignores Exorcist II. Brad Douriff (Child’s Play, Lord of the Rings, and a thousand other films) gives one of his very best performances.


4. The Devil's Advocate (1997)

Directed by Taylor Hackford; Starring Al Pacino, Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron

The Devil’s Advocate is one of the best and darkest horror films main-stream Hollywood has ever made. Remember, this was a huge summer movie. Are you kidding me? By the middle of the first scene the audience is totally traumatized. ‘Advocate’ still has the power to disturb and watching Al Pacino’s speech at the end of the film. Also check out the arc of Theron’s character. It was her performance in this film that got her the Oscar winning role in “Monster”. Some great character acting from Coach’s Craig T. Nelson Judith Ivey, as Keanu’s mother, also help to make this a classic.


3. The Omen (1976)

Directed by Richard Donner; Starring Gregory Peck and Lee Remick

Ok, so the Devil doesn’t really appear in this one but his son is close enough to get this movie the number three spot on our list. Ignore the absurd remake and revel in the dark, evil shadows of the original. Superman helmer Richard Donner did this little bedtime story before he moved on to the man of steel. Pretty much, people stopped naming their kid “Damien” after this movie came out, that and introducing the number 666 into the pop-culture vernacular (where would heavy metal be without this film?) make this a must see.


2. The Exorcist (1974)

Directed by William Friedken; Starring Ellyn Bursten, Linda Blair

A must have for any horror related list. This may not just be one of the scariest, best horror movies ever made but it’s one of the best movies ever made in ANY genre. The Devil makes his presence known through a young 13 year old girl Regan (Linda Blair) with some of the most offensive and haunting imagery in cinematic history.


1. Rosemary's Baby (1968)

Directed by Roman Polanski; Starring Mia Farrow, John Cassavettes and Ruth Gordon

One of the best horror films of all time, Rosemary’s Baby has a way of getting under your skin and staying there long after the picture ends. Its atmosphere of paranoia is unmatched in any film and with the cast and production crew that this film has, how can you go wrong?










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twinbing 12/24/2008 6:06:08 AM

How could they leave out Shatner and Borgnine's "The Devil's Rain"?  At least they left out "Oh God, You Devil".

LittleNell1824 12/24/2008 6:51:00 AM

I love the original Bedazzled. It's a twisted buddy film with the devil as the worst friend ever - Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, just classic. I never saw Devil's Advocate, Exorcist II or Legend because I assumed they were stinkers. I'll definitely watch the first two, but I'm still not sure I can sit through Legend.

ensomnea 12/24/2008 6:59:32 AM

Mr. Frost ftw.

JoshGordon 12/24/2008 9:30:16 AM

Believe me twinbing, I spent countless sleepless nights considering The Devil's Rain for this list.

Also LittleNell, I don't know if it was a typo in your post or a misunderstanding of the list, BUT - WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT SEE "EXORCIST II" unless you want to laugh a lot at one of the worst movies ever. It's EXORCIST 3 (III) that you want to watch :)

ensomnea, Mr Frost is  really interesting movie! I must admit I forgot about that one. But for fans of this kind of stuff I would definitely recommend it even though it slightly borders on being a psychological drama

trazalca 12/24/2008 9:42:03 AM

LittleNell, I am a fan of the Legend film, if not for anything else but Tim Curry's crazy-mad performance. When it comes to villians, Tim knows how to lay it on thick, but in a good way (like he did for the evil clown in Stephen Kings "IT" miniseries). Tom Cruise's bit in that movie is, well, meh.

invisioner 12/24/2008 10:13:36 AM

 No movie made me jump higher in my seat (except for the first time you see Barlow in Salem's Lot) than the long hallway scene in the hospital in Exorcist III, That was the most terrifying scene EVER!!!!! And I am a horror film snob!


Too bad "To the Devil a daughter" wasn't included. That was a creeper! Plus, Nastassia Kinski very, very naked throughout (raped by a group of cultists, led by Christopher Lee, the devil, et al) was raunchy!!! I was 12 when I saw it when I talked my folks into renting it because it had the Cat People girl in it. They were so mesmerized by how raunchy it was, they forgot I was in the room, and Mom looked at me and said "Don't let him rent movies anymore" to my dad.     If you can find it, check it out. 

xenomorph 12/24/2008 11:09:19 AM

This may be up for debate, but I think The Prophecy should be on the list. I know that thedevil is not the main character, but the performance by The guy who played aragorn in the LOTR as the devil in the end I thought was fantastic.

mgibson17 12/24/2008 11:31:54 AM
"A must have for any horror related list. This may not just be one of the scariest, best horror movies ever made but it’s one of the best movies ever made in ANY genre." Almost as if you're contradicting yourself. For the life of me I can’t understand how it can be in second place- and not first place. No scene has ever troubled me more than the masturbation scene, as well as the head turning scene. Trouble is you had to see it with 70's era eyes. Just as people thought King Kong was real when it premiered in 1933. Just as women swooned in the theater at the very sight of Bela Lugosi's Dracula. Exorcist had to be seen when it premiered to get the full visceral effect. Young people have almost become immune to the rigors of mechanical effects; and CGI has all but taken the magic of out the story-telling. But to watch a girl's head swivel alllll the way around- as the gossip of the time denoted; was something to see to be believed. I was in high school when talk came out about how scary the movie was- it just had to be seen. It is by far- the scariest movie ever made…Ever!! Even today it still troubles me with 2008 sensibilities. And I’ve seen a lot for a 51 year old.
LittleNell1824 12/24/2008 11:44:59 AM

It was a typo, Josh! LoL I meant that I'd put Exorcist 3 (III) on my must watch list. And trazalca, I'll try to watch Legend. I love Tim Curry, but Legend just seemed so cheezy... even for me.

Bmfstunner 12/24/2008 2:25:32 PM

The list is pretty good, I'd still would have liked to see "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut." Trey and Matt portraying the devil as a homosexual, who has a sexual relationship with Sadaam Hussein, has to be up there with the best of them.

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