Almost any actor will tell you that it’s a lot more fun playing a bad guy than a good a guy, so it follows that many actors must relish playing the baddest guy of all, the Devil. Whether you want to call him (or in some instances, her) Lucifer, Satan, or simply the Devil, the demonic antagosnist has been portrayed by many different actors in many different ways, ranging from terrifying to humorous. No two movie Devils are the same, thanks to various actors bringing out and emphasizing certain devilish characteristics. After the jump, take a look at 12 actors who have played the Devil in movies:
Elizabeth Hurley in Bedazzled
I love Bedazzled. Make all the Brendan Fraser jokes you want, but I don’t see how any heterosexual male can’t enjoy a movie that is essentially an excuse to parade Liz Hurley around in slutty outfits for an hour and a half. With apologies to Peter Cook, who played the Devil in the 1967 version of this movie, Hurley is easily my favorite Devil. I haven’t felt this way about a Brit since Kelly LeBrock circa 1985.
Al Pacino in The Devil’s Advocate
John Milton (Milton? Gee, how clever.) can seduce a mother and daughter into a threesome and is suave enough to receive fellatio under the table in a public setting, but what he’s best at is, by far, screaming at the top of his lungs during a climactic monologue.
Jack Nicholson in The Witches of Eastwick
Very few play crazy better than Nicholson (see, for example, The Shining and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), and his Devil (Darryl Van Horne) in The Witches of Eastwick shows a sort of restrained craziness. Like Milton, Van Horne is a seductive womanizer. Women always go for the bad boys.
Harvey Keitel in Little Nicky
The Devil in Little Nicky isn’t scary, evil, or even really deceptive. Besides, it’s really tough to dislike a guy who is shoving a pineapple up Hitler’s ass on a daily basis.
Peter Stormare in Constantine
Stormare is a terrific character actor, so his portrayal of Lucifer is unsurprisingly creepy. Watching Stormare on screen, you can sense something very demonic and “off” about him, which adds to the underlying evil of his character. In classic Devil fashion, Stormare’s Devil in Constantine has been brokering deals for souls.
Viggo Mortensen in The Prophecy
Mortensen plays Lucifer in The Prophecy and is consumed by his hatred for Gabriel and the “uniqueness” of his own Hell. Lucifer exhibits his power to corrupt, as well as his determination when he rips out Gabriel’s heart.
Victor Buono in The Evil
Buono plays Satan in the 1978 film The Evil, which revolves around a bunch of people trying desperately to escape a house of evil. The movie hasn’t aged well, and it’s definitely more funny than scary – and not in the Nightmare on Elm Street 4 type of way; this is certainly unintentional comedy.
Robert DeNiro in Angel Heart
DeNiro plays Louis Cyphre – an obvious pun on the name Lucifer – in Angel Heart, and stars opposite Mickey Rourke (Harry Angel). Cyphre hires Angel to do some investigative work, but it soon turns out that Angel is part of Cyphre’s intricate scheme to obtain a soul. It always comes back to the soul with the Devil. I don’t get it – what use does he have for it?
Jeff Goldblum in Mr. Frost
The Devil in Mr. Frost is quite different from other movie Devils. He’s not seductive and confident, but rather insecure and uncertain of his place in the world. Knowing that, it’s very fitting that he’s played by the uber-neurotic Jeff Goldblum.
Tim Curry in Legend
I don’t know how Tim Curry didn’t topple over during the shooting of Legend, what with those enormous horns attached to his noggin. He looks absolutely terrifying – especially if you’re a little kid – but I still say the fear his Devil (or “Darkness”) invokes is nothing compared to the fear invoked by his Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Or Pennywise in It! *shudder*
Linda Blair in The Exorcist
Now, maybe Linda Blair didn’t techincally play the Devil and instead played a little girl possessed, but this article just wouldn’t feel complete without her. Linda Blair helped create some of the most iconic imagery in the history of horror movies; few scenes in the genre are as memorable as the 360-degree head spin. That scene still effs my S up.
Trey Parker in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
Trey Parker voices Satan in the South Park movie and helps create the funniest version of the Devil I’ve ever seen. Getting owned by a horny, abusive Saddam Hussein? Hilarious.