Arts + Music » Arts + Culture

Shout out to the devil

In honour of our hot 666th issue, we take a hellish look at five dark lords on film.


True story: Al Pacino and Harvey Keitel have both played characters named Victor. (Keitel played Victor the cleaner in Point of No Return; Pacino apparently played "Viktor Taransky," in S1m0ne.)

But this article's not about guys named Victor. It's about cinematic Satans. And Pacino and Keitel have both played him, too.

Why all the hellfire? You, my dear Coast reader, are currently indulging in the 666th issue of this very publication. And, Satan being Satan---an iconic character, the embodiment of evil, and all that jazz---he certainly gets around the pop-cultural landscape.

Which is lucky because now, if we happen upon our dark lord in a dark alley, we know lots of stuff about him. (Armed with that knowledge, we'll totally be equipped to outwit his satanic charms.)

To go along with our hottest Hot Summer Guide yet, here are five lessons about the devil that pop culture has taught us. (Five instead of six? How evil!)

Satan is ineffectual

In Bruce McDonald's Highway 61, it takes the movie's Satan stand-in Mr. Skin (Earl Pastko) an entire movie to catch up with and outwit a barber, played by Don McKellar.

Skin also funds his McKellar-chasing road trip using funds he wins at bingo games, and cheers in surprise when he wins a soul. Of course, Mr. Skin turns out to be a deluded crazy man, rather than Satan proper. But still. The dude's pretty pathetic.

Satan's brain works like a stoned frat boy

Don't believe us? Check out the punishments Keitel metes out as the devil in the Adam Sandler romp Little Nicky. Jon Lovitz gets chased around by a giant horny bird; a shamed gatekeeper (Kevin Nealon) is given a pair of boobs on top of his head; once a day, Hitler gets a pineapple shoved up his ass. Oh, Satan. You're hilarious! What have you been smoking?

Satan is friends with Don King

Overwrought Pacino-as-Satan thriller The Devil's Advocate has many important lessons to teach us about the devil. Apparently Satan has a law firm, has sex "everywhere" (ew!), likes singing Sinatra and has no qualms with watching his kids do it. But the most important Satan lesson the movie has to impart becomes clear when Pacino's character takes his protege (Keanu Reeves) to a boxing match, and glad-hands with the famous boxing promoter. Need Satan off your back? Give King a call.

Satan's songs suck

No, seriously, they do. Sure, his Disney-esque anthem "Up There," in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncuthas a certain sad-sack appeal. ("I get so lonely down here. Tell me why's it have to be that way?" sings poor Satan, expressing his feelings about hell.) But it's also terrible. Further proof: Check out the ditties the Red One crafts, after an out-of-work singer (Garth Brooks) promises to sell his soul for a hit song, in the best Saturday Night Live sketch ever. "Behold---the song that will take you to the top of the charts," Satan (Will Ferrell) promises as he launches into "Fred's Slacks" ("There's a guy named Fred and he's got a pair of slacks/Oooh, Fred's got slacks...on the boulevard"), a song about how much he hates Mondays ("they make me-ee so steamed...") and other super-funny horrors. Of course, it's unclear how this lesson will help you defeat Satan, but perhaps you could challenge him to a songwriting competition. After all:

Satan loves lame contests

Remember that time he went down to Georgia looking for a soul to steal, and got into a round of dueling fiddles with a guy named Johnny, in the appropriately titled Charlie Daniels Band song "The Devil Went Down to Georgia?" That fiddle-off was by no means a onetime lark. The devil also indulged his competitive spirit while playing poker against god in Chris de Burgh's over-the-top anthem "Spanish Train." Belts de Burgh, as Satan: "Joker is the name/Poker is the game/We'll play right here on this bed. And then we'll bet for the biggest stakes yet---the souls of the deeaaaad." In a nutshell: Satan is pretty bored...and if you run into him, he'll probably be up for a round of Scrabble.

Add a comment

Remember, it's entirely possible to disagree without spiralling into a thread of negativity and personal attacks. We have the right to remove (and you have the right to report) any comments that go against our policy.

xxx - Deprecated in favor of GTM, above.