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Prince of Darkness (1987)
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In this list, I curated for you 12 classic horror movies about the devil and demons spanning from 1957 to 1988.

Demons, or evil spirits that never experienced human life, and the devil, the father of them all, have been a staple of horror cinema since a long time ago.

They were one of the first fantastical subjects to be portrayed on film.

I preferred to go by that definition of demons instead of including homegrown ones, like Fred Kruger and others in that vein. Boorish personalities that notwithstanding they experienced human birth are considered demons anyway.

There’s a barrage of movies that explore this horror sub-genre but only a handful can be considered to be at the top of the demonic movie game.

These twelve are my all-time favorite movies about demons and the devil. As always, the figure beside the name and year is the satisfaction level of audiences (calculated by averaging IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes ratings).

Gargoyles (1973) 50%

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This movie’s premise is: “Don’t assume gargoyles are only a imaginary architectural frill.”

Or maybe it’s “don’t go looking for the devil because you’ll find it”.

If you know me, you know I love what some persons call cheesy movies, but that I’d call simply “movies with different production values”.

Gargoyles is made-for-TV Fantasy/Horror, so right up my alley. Anyway, I wouldn’t say it’s cheesy.

Compared to a monument to camp like, for instance, Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood, Gargoyles’ production values are considerably superior.

The only issue, one that’s common with TV movies, is its running time. The fun lasts for 74 minutes only.

The Keep (1983) 50%

The Keep (1983)
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A period horror piece, during the WWII days. A squad of Nazi soldiers in a castle in the Carpathian Mountains gets on bad terms with the demon that inhabits it.

If you are into the unfamiliar in horror movies, which is a very viable path to take when you already watched most household-name-level stuff, movies like The Keep are the kind of experiences you treasure.

Night of The Demons (1988) 52%

Night of The Demons (1988)
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Of the stupidest things you could do, I think one of the most stupid would be to go to mess with the paranormal at a paranormally tainted place, like a funeral parlor, at night.

Doing such a thing is, I believe, apt to catch considerable attention from dwellers beyond the veil.

Well, the characters in Night of The Demons are stupid enough to do that, and more. And they get their just desserts.

The Sentinel (1977) 53%

The Sentinel (1977)
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The Sentinel is a horror movie with very mild erotic thrills.

It’s a crazy movie with a slow-burn, and, for moments, disorienting plot.

The demonic aspect in The Sentinel is probably too subtly approached, but it’s certainly there.

The Sentinel is a somewhat nocturnal and oneiric, but very creepy horror movie.

Race With The Devil (1975) 54%

Race With The Devil (1975)
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Race With The Devil’s has something I cannot exactly put my finger on, that I feel as vaguely reminiscent of Gargoyles. But for me that’s where their similarities end.

This one is a regular feature film. Race With The Devil is significant since it deals with a topic that was controversial at the time the movie was made.

The subject of satanic cults having their part in the grand scheme of ugliness in the world.  If you believe they exist. Otherwise it is significant because those were the days of frequent moral panics related to alternative cults. 50 years later the topic may not be as hot as it was back then, but to see the aesthetics of it is certainly thrilling.

To me personally, this movie feels like how a mixture of The Hills Have EyesThe Devil’s Rain, and Duel would feel.

Pumpkinhead (1988) 55%

Pumpkinghead (1988)
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Pumpkinhead has a drama aspect that hits like a ton of bricks.

Once the drama element runs its course, it’s a primal story about a witch and a demon. And vengeance, and the lead’s downward spiral because of trafficking with them.

This movie is a textbook case for both demons and witches movies. I think Pumpkinhead probably is the quintessential 1980s demon movie.

The Gorgon (1964) 55%

The Gorgon (1964)
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The Gorgon is another movie on this list very close to my heart since I saw segments of this movie several times through my childhood, but not the entire movie until adulthood.

I mentioned that (useless for you) personal trivia just to let you know, that maybe this movie isn’t that scary.

What it lacks in the scare factor is certainly balanced by how eerie and dread-inspiring the sets and characters in The Gorgon look and feel.

The Omen (1976) 57%

The Omen (1976)
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Classic blockbusting horror about the son of the devil. I didn’t expect The Omen to sit at 57% watcher satisfaction only.

This movie for me is easily a 70% or more of satisfaction factor.

Yet I may be biased because The Omen was one of the first horror experiences I had.

Hellraiser (1987) 63%

Hellraiser (1987)
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Another instance on this list where I don’t agree with the satisfaction level general audiences give to a movie.

I would rate Hellraiser an 85%+, not 63%.

Haters may hate it and say that the original Hellraiser didn’t age well. Not me, though.

This movie packs the same stark punch it packed for me the first and second (and subsequent) times I watched it.

Prince of Darkness (1987) 64%

Prince of Darkness (1987)
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Prince of Darkness is a profoundly eerie movie with a high time capsule aspect that deserves more than what the general public rates it.

Prince of Darkness is just ~10% below Carpenter’s greater known Halloween in watcher rating.

How does a demon (that may or may not be the devil himself) trapped inside a contraption, in a Los Angeles church, sounds to you?

It’s kind of strange that Prince of Darkness never got a sequel. I definitely could take much more horror from this movie’s universe before becoming bored.

Demons (1985) 65%

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Demons is Dario Argento at his most bizarre and unhinged.

This movie felt exhilarating. The expected horror visuals match the general madness of the situation, characters, and everything else.

Okay, that’s not the whole truth. The different elements featured on Demons deliver, yes, but they also go over the top a lot of times.

Curse of The Demon (1957): 79%

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I can make an analogy for those who are already seasoned as watchers of vintage horror movies, and I’ll do it for you.

Curse of The Demon aka Night of The Demon is to demons what Carnival of Souls is to mindscrew horror and psychological horror.

A vintage monument to the demon horror sub-genre that elicits the same excitement every time you watch the film again.

Outro

You may have noted that I did not make actual mini reviews for each item on this list. I wrote it in a stream of consciousness way, trying to capture how they made me feel.

Also, the lack of adulation for the casts of each movie is missing, but that does not mean these movies don’t have great casts.

Just an example, and I am forgetting others, I am sure: Ava Gardner in The Sentinel, Gregory Peck in The Omen, Donald Pleasance in Prince of Darkness, Linnea Quigley in Night of The Demons, Peter Cushing and Cristopher Lee in The Gorgon, and the list goes on.

© Bholenath Valsan 2024 — 12 Midnight Horror Movies About Demons and The Devil

Bholenath

I curate horror things for horror fans to discover them without hassle

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