Satan. Lucifer. Old Scratch. The Devil. There are so many amazing films, in and out of the horror genre, which feature this character. The question is, how does one choose which movies to include in a list of recommendations? Should you spotlight the scariest films? Do you go with iconic plots? Should you focus on classics like Häxan and Faust? What about iconic portrayals? That way lies madness, for how does one pick between greats like Gabriel Byrne, Lon Chaney Jr, Richard Kiley, Christophe Lee, Malcolm McDowell, Paul Nashcy, Jack Nicholson, Robert DeNiro, Gary Oldman, Al Pacino, Donald Pleasence, Vincent Price, Claude Rains, Cesar Romero, George C Scott, Peter Stormare (one of my personal favorites), Max von Sydow, and Ray Walston to name but a few? What about possession movies?
Due to spacial restraints, I chose to focus solely on the movies that I enjoy watching multiple times. Even then it was hard to narrow it down. While not necessarily the most frightening set of films, these are all super entertaining.
You get 1 today and I’ll see you back here on …
…why, Devil’s Night of course.
Prince of Darkness (1987) We are going to start out with one of the oddest depictions of the Devil — as a cylinder of glowing green goo in John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness (1987). The second in Carpenter’s “Apocalypse Trilogy,” this film features Professor Howard Birak (Victor Wong) taking a multi-discipline group of graduate students to a church to study an odd cylinder filled with a glowing green liquid. Things…go wrong. There are zombies, vicious attacks, and even time travel. And you thought the liquid “anti-God” was going to be the weirdest thing in the film.
The cast includes Donald Pleasence, Jameson Parker, Lisa Blount, Dennis Dun, and Alice Cooper.
Prince of Darkness is currently streaming on Peacock.
Michael Cieslak is a lifetime reader and writer of horror, mystery, and speculative fiction. A native of Detroit, he still lives within 500 yards of the city with his wife and their two dogs Tesla and Titus. The house is covered in Halloween decorations in October and dragons the rest of the year. He is an officer in the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers and is the editor of the Erie Tales anthologies. His works have appeared in a number of collections including DOA: Extreme Horror, Dead Science, Vicious Verses and Reanimated Rhymes, the GLAHW anthologies, Alter Egos Vol 1, Pan’s Guide for New Pioneers (a supplement for the Pugmire RPG), and the collaborative steampunk novel Army of Brass. Urbane Decay, a collection of Michael’s short fiction, was released in 2018 by Source Point Press. He reviews horror movies for the Dean On Movie Reviews podcast.
Michael is the Editor in Chief of Dragon’s Roost Press (thedragonsroost.biz).
Michael’s mental excreta (including his personal blog They Napalmed My Shrubbery This Morning) can be found on-line at thedragonsroost.net.