Devilish Characters

I finally tuned in to ABC's new show 666 Park Avenue. It's definitely a guilty pleasure type of drama, sort of like a dark version of Fantasy Island set in a posh Manhattan hotel where spooky supernatural events take place. I'm sure the show runners would hate that comparison, but it is what it is. It has a Stephen King kind of vibe, so if those types of horror/fantasy stories are up your alley, you might overlook some of the cheesy components and enjoy the series. The highlight is Terry O'Quinn as Gavin Doran, the devilish owner of the Drake, serving as a wicked puppetmaster of all the comings and goings. Whether or not he's actually supposed to be the stereotypical Devil remains to be seen, but it's close enough to make me think of other actors who have played the Prince of Darkness. 

I've already written about actors who have played the role of God, now it's time to take a peek at those who have played the Fallen Angel, or a character close to it.  Here are some.

Tim Curry - As the character named Darkness in the 1985 fantasy Legend, one of Tom Cruise's first films, Curry was decked out in head-to-toe makeup that turned him into the visual representation of every iconic rendering of Lucifer.

Max von Sydow - Based on Stephen King's novel, Needful Things in 1993 was a faithful if by-the-numbers adaptation in which von Sydow, who once played Jesus, had the chance to portray the demonic Leland Gaunt who brings evil to a small town, robbing the souls of anyone who steps into his store and crosses his path.

Al Pacino - Although the The Devil's Advocate in 1997 was a big letdown, due in part to Keanu Reeves as a lackluster lead, Pacino as John Milton, the Satanic head of a twisted law firm, chews up the scenery and is worth a look.

Jack Nicholson - Something about playing the Devil seems to grant great actors the green light to go over the top. There is no greater example than Nicholson's performance as Daryl Van Horne in 1987's The Witches of Eastwick. alongside Cher, Susan Sarandon, and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Elizabeth Hurley - Bedazzled in 2000 was a bad movie, but Hurley as a sexy Devil was one of its few redeeming qualities.

Harvey Keitel - Little Nicky was a terrible film, but Keitel had the chance to camp it up as the ruler of the underworld and the father of Adam Sandler's annoying title character.

Viggo Mortenson - The sequels may have been crap, but the first chapter, The Prophecy, was actually quite entertaining. Christopher Walken steals the show as Gabriel, but Mortenson holds his own in his scenes as Lucifer.

Robert DeNiro - I think every great actor has played the Devil once in his or her career. DeNiro had his chance in Angel Heart as the suitably named Louis Cyphre.

George Burns - He played God, so why not the other side of the coin? Burns did double duty in the silly but fun Oh, God! You Devil!

Gabriel Byrne - Arnold Shwarzenegger plays a cop trying to save the world from Byrne's Satan in the apocalyptic End of Days.

John Cassavetes - Rosemary's Baby was a classic and Cassavetes is the daddy Guy Woodhouse of the demon spawn.

Peter Fonda - The first Ghost Rider movie may have been a forgettable mess, but it did feature Fonda as Mephistopheles.

Walter Huston - It doesn't get much better than this in The Devil and Daniel Webster.

Peter Stormare - They messed up so much in Constantine, the adaptation of the Hellblazer comic book, but Stormare does a fine job in the role of Satan.

Ray Walstone - Damn Yankees is one of my favorite musicals, and Walstone was great as Mr. Applegate who tries to make a deal to rob the soul of an innocent man who just wants to see his losing baseball team beat the New York Yankees.

Donald Pleasance - The Greatest Story Ever Told was a true epic with an all-star cast. Pleasance was creepy, chilling, and perfect as the Dark Hermit, adding a truly creative and inspired twist to the oft-told tale of Jesus.

Which ones have I left out? Let me know of any that made an impression on you.

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