Thursday, September 30, 2010

Top Five . . . Movies About the Devil

Seeing Devil got me thinking. In the horror genre, there's a whole sub-genre about demonic possession and/or fighting with the devil. Here's my Top Five Movies About the Devil:

5. The Prophecy

I spoke briefly about this flick, but Viggo Mortensen's role as Lucifer in this movie is bone chilling. He is the epitome of the almost-charming, handsome, but completely evil version of the Devil.

4. Constantine

Constantine is based on the graphic novel series, Hellblazer. John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), along with his side-kick Chas (a pre-assclown, post-"Even Stevens" Shia LeBeouf), sends demons back to Hell. Constantine is trying to atone for a teenage suicide attempt before he dies of advanced lung cancer. Because his exorcisms are done for his own benefit, he is told, he still has a place in Hell. While helping a detective investigate her sister's apparent suicide, Constantine becomes involved in a war between angels and demons, the result of which will be the Devil's son coming to Earth.

This film is very stylishly done and Keanu Reeve's usual wooden acting serves him well in his role as the cynical, deadpan Constantine. The secondary characters are excellent (Tilda Swinton, Gavin Rossdale, and Dijmon Honsou) and LeBeouf's endearing performance provides some much needed comic relief. Peter Stormare (a Cohen brothers' regular) is excellent as a wry, taunting Lucifer. He makes a very dramatic appearance in a pure white suit with his feet dripping black, smoking tar.

Besides the stellar cast, the special effects are amazing and I highly reccommend this flick.

3. The Omen

There's something about creepy kids that makes good movies. I think it all started with The Bad Seed, but The Omen is probably the most well-known. The Omen is the basic Satan's spawn come to Earth story, but it has several things going for it. 1: A chilling soundtrack. 2: An amazing cast - Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, and the incomparable Billie Whitelaw. 3: The creepiest kid ever: Harvey Stephens.

(Note: The Omen was recently remade as The Omen 666, and while the remake is not a bad film by any means, it doesn't quite live up to the original.)

2. The Exorcist

Of course, The Exorcist has a place on this list. It's the ultimate movie about possession and it is a very well-made film. (I especially like seeing it in the theater because the experience is definitely enhanced on the big screen.) It's also a very faithful adaptation of the book of the same name, by William Peter Blatty. The reason why it is number two, however, (besides being my opinion) is that it tends to be over-hyped, which leaves little room for other emerging films. That being said, I think every one should experience it for themselves, since it is so iconic.

1. Fallen

This film was surprisingly good. It had the potential to be a second-rate horror flick, but it is definitely one of my favorites. Much of the praise goes to Denzel Washington, who carries the film almost by himself. Unlike most possession films, there is very little violence and almost no special effects, beyond a yellow lens filter. It is the perfect possession film for the squeamish and a beautiful representation of Washington's acting prowess. (An added bonus is Elias Koteas's small role as serial killer Edgar Reese.)

Honorable Mention:

The Exorcism of Emily Rose for this terrifying scene:

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