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The Devil Made Them Do It: The Top 10 Satanic Movies

DeadHorse13 2 Comments

5. Mocata from The Devil Rides Out (1968)

Christopher Lee takes a rare turn on the side of good, battling hellish heavy Charles Gray, in this superb Hammer entry. Suave, yet sinful, Gray embellishes his role with conviction and authority, giving his performance palpable menace. When Mocata stares at us with his cold gray eyes and declares “I will not be back…but something will” you believe it. In addition, this tense morality play employs an unprecedented amount of genuine magical arcana and philosophy to make this one of the smartest Satanic shockers. (For you trivia buffs, Charles Gray would later become known as the narrator in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.)

Now we’re getting down to the nitty gritty. These last four got shuffled around more times than Jenna Jameson does in Hell On Heels (1999), but I digress.

The Devil Made Them Do It: The Top 10 Satanic Movies

4. Hjalmer Poelzig from The Black Cat (1934)

Boris Karloff butts heads with Bela Lugosi, in this incomparable entry from Universal. Creepy Karloff, engineer by day – devout devilite by night, hosts war vet Lugosi, who has a score to settle. Karloff excels in giving his character the necessary sinister impetus to get under the skin. Both icons give their all at the height of their powers, while Poe never makes an appearance. The atmosphere, performances and photography are all top shelf, making this an A-class B-film. In the 1930s they didn’t come any darker, or more lurid. Supernatural, perhaps. Baloney, perhaps not.

The Devil Made Them Do It: The Top 10 Satanic Movies

3. Dr. Pretorius from The Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)

British eccentric Ernest Thesiger absolutely steals the show here as a mad alchemist of the Black Arts. The good doctor, a man of few weaknesses, urges Frankenstein to continue his ghastly experiments in a “grand collaboration”. Thesiger’s uncanny looks and droll delivery make Pretorius deliciously diabolic, assuring him choice positioning on the list. Bride also has some surprising humor, innuendo and theology mixed into the monsterdom, making it the most subversive bolt in the neck of the early franchise.

The Devil Made Them Do It: The Top 10 Satanic Movies

2. The Castavets from Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Fittingly, at number two, we have a coupling. Sidney Blackmer and Ruth Gordon are the over-solicitous neighbors from hell, in Roman Polanski’s sensational blockbuster. The flamboyant couple set their sordid sights on Rosemary and her unborn child, in one of the most suspenseful occult offerings to ever hit the screen. The duo gets more dastardly as things move along to the eerie and effective finale. Gordon would earn herself an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, if that tells you anything. Tannis, anyone?

The Devil Made Them Do It: The Top 10 Satanic Movies

1. Prince Prospero from The Masque Of The Red Death (1964)

My list concludes with Vincent Price as my lead Luciferian. Roger Corman’s most ambitious film sticks closely to Poe’s source material, but adds a heavy dash of Diablo thrown in for sinister spice. Price is truly incredible as the Devil-worshipping Prince, and essays one of the most fully realized Satanic figures in all of sinema. He praises the Dark One and skewers Christianity; sets his salacious sights on a peasant girl; and insists that his guests indulge in depraved games, usually ending in somone’s demise. Hottie Hazel Court brands her breast, and Patrick Magee is burned alive in a gorilla suit. Sadean debauchery has never been such colorful fun.

The Devil Made Them Do It: The Top 10 Satanic Movies

Is there a Satanic sidekick you feel more deserving of infernal infamy? Enlighten me. Is it getting a little hot in here, or is it just me?

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2 Comments

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      1. AsterRose August 28, 2012 at 2:08 pm

        Completely agree with number one, Vincent Price. An icon who is able to treat the subject matter with seriousness instead of the idiotic viewpoints of today’s films always gets my vote.

      2. Kevin July 20, 2013 at 12:26 pm

        Totally agree on 1-4 but would have raised “night of the demon” to a much higher position. I would also have to add “The Dunwich Horror” with Sandra Dee and perhaps “The Haunted Palace” with Vincent Price to respectable positions on the list!