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Fascinating Depictions of the Devil in Movies

Updated on May 1, 2015

Opposite Spectrum

In most forms of fictional media there were forces of good and forces of evil. Sometimes the heroes of the story got to fight the leader of said forces of evil. Sometimes that leader turned out to be some guy named Lucifer. Because Lucifer, or the Devil, represented a major source of evil, he was usually considered an obstacle for heroes to defeat if they wanted to save the world. However, some works of cinema have given interesting interpretations to the character beyond that of the antagonist. In the movie Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny the Devil in this movie was evil, but his guitar skills were epic. Another interesting depiction of Lucifer was in the movie Little Nicky in that both him and his other name, Satan, made appearances as less antagonistic characters. And while he was a villain in the movie South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Satan wanted to take over the world, but he was portrayed a lot more sympathetically compared to the other villain of this story, Saddam Hussein. The point is is that Lucifer has existed in literature for a long time. And while him, and by extension Satan, were portrayed as the antagonists of their stories, it is important to acknowledge to less than antagonistic depictions.

One depiction of the Devil. Awesome, but this was a video game, so he won't be talked about.
One depiction of the Devil. Awesome, but this was a video game, so he won't be talked about. | Source

Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny

The thing about Hell was that some people have said that comics, video games, and rock-and-roll came from that place. While that is false, some movies have ran with that idea in different ways. In the movie Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny the actual Pick of Destiny was the piece of the tooth of Satan, and possession of the pick would make the user the greatest guitarist in the land. Naturally, shenanigans ensued where JB and KG acquired the Pick of Destiny from a museum. Of course, during the final part of this movie, the Pick of Destiny was broken. But while JB and KG decided to abandon the Pick of Destiny, someone else decided to pick it up. That person was Satan. And his entrance was musically epic. The beginning part was essentially Satan saying that JB and KG were in a world of hurt now that he was complete. Of course, JB decided to challenge Satan to a musical battle where Satan would help pay Jg and KG's rent and go back to Hell. Of course, if Satan won this battle, KG would go back to Hell with him. Unfortunately, Satan was the one who had beyyer musical skills, but Tenacious D won due to cleverness and a lot of luck.

One basic depiction of the Devil in this movie. Awesome.
One basic depiction of the Devil in this movie. Awesome. | Source
Normally an angel having a baby with the Devil would be seen as a dramatic story. Here, it was a comedy.
Normally an angel having a baby with the Devil would be seen as a dramatic story. Here, it was a comedy. | Source

Little Nicky

Sometimes Hell does not have to be that bad of a place. Sometimes it could be portrayed hilariously. In the film Little Nicky, the offspring of Satan were in a conflict about who would succeed Satan. When Satan said that he decided to keep being the ruler of Hell, two of his three sons were upset. Unfortunately, those feelings of anger were what made the events of Little Nicky occur. However, this movie was interesting in ways other than plot. For one thing, the titular protagonist was the son of the Devil and an angel. As a result, Adam Sandler portrayed a character who was somewhat confused about his alignment. Of course, when his more villainous siblings tried to make Earth the new Hell, Nicky, Adam Sandler's character, got to save the day. Also interesting was that Satan and Lucifer, two names of the same ruler of Hell, were separate family members. Lucifer, played by Rodney Dangerfield, abdicated his rule of Hell to Satan, played by Harvey Keitel. In ddition, Hell itself was portrayed in both a positive and hilarious light. But Hell was not a horrible place because Satan wanted it to look bad. There was a law in this movie where good and evil had to be in equal measures. Thus, Satan, and by extension Lucifer, were not portrayed as potential enemies of Heaven. For one thing, Hell was a place where the people who went to Hell honestly deserved to be there. Like Adolf Hitler. Whose punishment involved eternally having pineapples shoved up his butt.

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut

South Park, as a satirical comedy, sometimes portrayed things that were normally considered good either as evil or filled with jerks, and vice versa. In South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut , the viewer eventually found out that the conflict of this move was a ll the work of Satan and Saddam Hussein in an attempt to take over the world. Of course, in typical South Park fashion, Satan was not portrayed in a way that was similar to other fictional depictions. For one thing, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut established that Satan was in a mentally abusive relationship with Sadam Hussein. With Saddam being the abuser. Another aspect about this version of Satan that was different from other depictions of Satan was how sympathetic his motivation of invading Earth was. In the song Up There, Satan made it clear that he was just lonely in Hell. He wants to take over the Earth because he wanted to experience the life that living on Earth had that was non-existent in Hell. And like most positive interpretations of Satan, Up There had Satan ask why did he have to stay in Hell if technically he was following the rules of the universe by being evil. Basically, the viewer was going to feel sorry for this version of Satan.

Hail Satan!
Hail Satan! | Source

Balance

As the primary source of all evil in fiction, the Devil was usually portrayed as the antagonist. But that does not mean that he did not deserve sympathy on some levels. Being an entity who was forced to inhabit a desolate place like Hell seem somewhat severe in more modern perspectives, even if it was justified on some levels. Or at the very least, recognition of his awesomeness. Especially in movies. Like in Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny where the viewer got to see Satan play an awesome guitar. And in Little Nicky, it was interesting to see Satan portrayed as legitimately likable, even if some of his offspring were jerks. Even in the film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut portrayed the Devil as someone to feel sorry for because of how he seemed to want to see Earth's fertility. So while the Devil may be a jerk in some cases, he was not always such a bad person.

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    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      3 years ago from Oklahoma

      Southpark Devil has to be my favorite.

    • Jake Peralta profile imageAUTHOR

      Jake Michael Peralta 

      3 years ago from Indio, California

      I'm pretty sure these were jokes. Little Nicky wasn't that good a movie.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      This information is all very interesting. However, I cannot help wondering if there is some attempt (not by you but by the film creators) to make the devil or Satan likeable. Where is this coming from, and where is it going?

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