Satanic Humans: Using Satanic Tropes To Guide And Misguide The Audience

  • Author(s): Adam L. Porter
  • When: 2017-04
  • Where: Journal of Religion & Film
  • One of the differences between Christ and Satan is that the former is clearly described in the Gospels, but the latter is not. Rather, a large number of different stories grew up around the character of Satan over the last 2000 years. Authors and artists can dip into the pool of Satan myths and find different versions of the character they can adapt for their own purposes. I am interested in identifying what satanic symbols have become popular in Hollywood films, so in 2013 I wrote an essay that analyzed several films featuring super-human characters and identified several traits beyond “evilness” that seem to come out of the traditions about Satan. This essay continues this analysis by examining five films featuring purely human characters who exhibit a similar set of satanic traits. In the entirely mundane realm, these traits have been diminished and rationalized, but they are still evident. The other noteworthy difference from the super-hero films is that those films include a Christ-figure who defeats the satanic villains. These films exhibit a similarly conservative theological position, especially evident in those films where the satanic villain escapes: one cannot help wonder whether a Christ-figure would have prevented the antagonist’s victory.

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