Film_134w_haxan_original

The Devil's in the Details

by Craig J. Clark

Created 07/29/13

Edit List

In honor of the addition of Guillermo del Toro's The Devil's Backbone to the Collection (with its diabolical spine number), here's an infernal selection of forked tales featuring the Horned One in the flesh.

  • For his exposé on witchcraft through the ages, Benjamin Christensen himself stepped into the role of their tongue-wagging lord and master.

  • A farmer makes a deal with the Devil (as embodied by Walter Huston) and has a dickens of a time getting out of it.

  • Two of the Devil's emissaries sow discord at a medieval court, but when they falter in their mission their boss shows up to put everything wrong.

  • The film that proves that Hell's admission policy (as policed by His Excellency, Laird Cregar) isn't as liberal as some might think.

  • For those that do get in, though, Hell has many tortures in store for them, all of which are overseen by its King.

  • It is said that the Devil can assume a pleasing shape, but it's safe to say there are few as pleasing as Silvia Pinal's.

  • Traditionally, Asmodeus was the demon of lust, but in this film he's a forest ranger who transforms into a winged devil and menaces a group of unwary teenagers when they come into possession of a book that he covets.

  • Satan gets the briefest of cameos in this, Roman Polanski's American debut, but it's definitely a memorable one -- and it is no dream, sister.

  • As in Rosemary's Baby, the Devil only puts in a brief appearance in Buñuel's treatise on the history of heresy, but as always, it's a memorable one.

  • Pasolini regular Franco Citti sure is a sly Devil in this film. And its vision of Hell -- with its multicolored fornicating winged demons -- is one I won't soon forget.

  • Jesus had but a walk-on in The Milky Way, but he's front and center in Scorsese's religious epic, during which Satan pulls out all the stops.

24 comments

  • By Kenny_V
    August 14, 2013
    03:43 PM

    Great off-beat list. Thanks for sharing this.
    Reply
  • By David Hollingsworth
    August 14, 2013
    05:48 PM

    Wonderful list! I love the quirkiness of it.
    Reply
  • By Collection
    August 14, 2013
    08:05 PM

    Since you discovered an oversight within one of my lists, please let me return the favor. There is more than one vignette in Pasolini's adaptation of Trilogy of Life containing the film in question listed among your Collection. Hopefully you may screen it soon in order to determine whether it merits inclusion in the above list. Please keep up the good work!
    Reply
    • By Collection
      August 14, 2013
      08:21 PM

      Sorry that the Internet apparently devoured my previous comment. Hopefully the second hyperlink demonstrates my attempt to point out depictions of infernal subject matter in The Canterbury Tales. One thing is certain, this list is possessed!
    • By Craig J. Clark
      August 15, 2013
      03:42 PM

      I have yet to see The Canterbury Tales, but it is on my list, so I'll be sure to give it a look at my earliest convenience.
  • By BillyBreton
    August 14, 2013
    08:24 PM

    Great minds think alike, I did a similar list "The Devil in the Flesh." Franco Citti plays the devil in The Canterbury Tales.
    Reply
    • By James Cobb
      August 15, 2013
      01:39 PM

      Superb film, very unique haha!
  • By James Cobb
    August 15, 2013
    01:38 PM

    Surely 'Antichrist' could have fitted this list? I know its more symbolic but its has the themes and same elements as other films on the list, and is just stunning.
    Reply
  • By Phillip Kells
    August 16, 2013
    01:02 PM

    COOL LIST
    Reply
  • By Silent-Freak
    August 19, 2013
    01:47 PM

    I dig this list. Thanks for sharing!
    Reply
  • By Noel Vera
    August 19, 2013
    02:13 PM

    No The Exorcist--thank goodness. We don't need no minor East Wind demon cluttering up this list...
    Reply
    • By AndySunshine
      August 19, 2013
      04:35 PM

      The Exorcist isn't in the collection though!
  • By Mashie Alam
    August 19, 2013
    03:38 PM

    Oh Man! What about "Sisters" from 1973 by Brain De Palma? THE MAN who made "Carrie" and "Scarface" and "The Untouchables", I think that was his first ever thriller with so much Alfred Hitchcock influences! "The plot focuses on a French Canadian model whose separated Siamese twin is suspected of a brutal murder witnessed by a newspaper reporter in Staten Island". The two conjoined twin sisters that were separated by surgery and one turned out to be completely evil/insane! That movie was creepy. I guess it didn't have the "horned one in the flesh" in any of the scenes. Yep, Rosemary's Baby had the the "horned on in the flesh" very vividly!
    Reply
  • By Emma
    August 20, 2013
    12:53 AM

    Oh damn, you stole my idea for a list! Well, the early bird gets the worm. I own (and love) The Devil and Daniel Webster and Haxan; I've seen Heaven Can Wait (cute, but not one of my favorites) and Rosemary's Baby (before I started boycotting Polanski); haven't seen any of the others. But you left out Time Bandits! C'mon! Who could forget the Personification of Evil! "Slugs! God created slugs! Nipples for men!"
    Reply
    • By Emma
      August 20, 2013
      12:58 AM

      Ooh, also Equinox. Asmodeus as a park ranger! Pure awesome. I know this can't be included because it's not in the Collection, but I REALLY wish Criterion would release Leslie Steven's cult classic Incubus. Three Reasons: 1. Entirely in Esperanto 2. Pre-Trek William Shatner 3. Creepy Horror from The Outer Limits Team C'mon Criterion! Incubus was practically made to be released by you guys.
    • By Craig J. Clark
      August 20, 2013
      08:33 AM

      David Warner's character in Time Bandits is called The Evil Genius, though, so he's not quite The Devil we all know and love. You have a much stronger case with Equinox since Asmodeus does transform into a winged demon at the end. I'll go ahead and add that to the list.
  • By Sleestak
    August 20, 2013
    11:24 PM

    Jigoku (for all of it's cliche's and cheesy imagery) is in my opinion, the most terrifying on the list.
    Reply
  • By --
    September 01, 2013
    06:52 PM

    I'm THE DEVIL. I've search your soul and realized you're not a bad punt. Keep up the good work!!!
    Reply
  • By REDACTED
    September 14, 2013
    12:22 AM

    Devilishly delightful. Love the brevity of the presentation.
    Reply
    • By Craig J. Clark
      September 16, 2013
      11:06 AM

      Thanks. Whenever I make a list, I try not to belabor my points.
  • By Danon Hennessey
    November 22, 2013
    06:49 PM

    Great list! I'm always on the hunt for new horror films to check out.
    Reply
  • By _Peter_
    March 28, 2014
    07:34 PM

    Excellent list!
    Reply