How to handle SATAN in your script?



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  • How to handle SATAN in your script?

    If one of your characters is the dark lord himself, does his appearance determine believability.

    Example: Can he appear as a black, 10 foot tall beast with horns and a long tail, and still be dramatic?

  • #2
    Although the character was called DARKNESS, the movie LEGEND presents, in my opinion, a very good depiction of the dark lord as a horned/hooved beast (great portrayal by Tim Curry)

    Glenn B


    • #3
      It depends on the context of your script. If set before the Renaissance, I see no reason why the description you listed would be taken in an unfavourable manner.

      If it's a "modern day" setting, you could have some problems.


      • #4
        The Deva'

        I think it's scarrier if it's just a force...or a manifestation like in The Omen.


        • #5
          I think to depict Satan with horns in a present day script might just be a little too much of a cliche. Many people no longer see Satan this way. Even Christians.

          But really I think it depends on your script. If it is a script about Witchcraft, then Satan could be depicted that way, or as a dark force.

          Personally I think you should make it more of a force of evil, a sound, a suggestion. In the Omen it was frightening because you could not see it. It set your mind free to make its own visualisation.

          Was watching Bless this Child earlier this week. All those animated gargoyles and flying demons were almost laughable. You really have to be careful with such images...The best way is to meditate on it, and write about your vision. Write screeds and screeds and see what your vision is. You'll be surprised at yourself.

          Good luck.



          • #6
            If you go for a very visual fright our either asking for a huge budget or laughability. I agree the best way to to use a force, something there, but not visiable. (also adds mystery) But if you need a visual I'd go with Strom Thurman, assuming he can stay awake long enough to read his lines and you don't mind having to change to occasional diaper.


            • #7
              Recently, the most effective Big D was utterly human and attractive, played to sublime effect by Viggo Mortenson in PROPHECY.

              No matter what visual you choose, one thing is for sure: crappy lines of demonic pseudo-dialogue (like a MORTAL COMBAT scenario) is gonna make "your" Satan suck regardless of the graphics. So I'd concentrate on the manner The Morning Star is handled before worrying about horns and hoovesif I were in your position .


              • #8
                I thought PROPHECY also had a nice modern day portrayal of him (Satan that is).


                • #9
                  wow, that's creepy; 2 posts on PROPHECY RE the Fallen One in the SAME MINUTE.

                  Insert Exorcist theme (Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield) here...


                  • #10

                    It would be really spooky if we're both thinking of the same idea for our next screenplays. What's yours about?


                    • #11
                      Think Wallace Shawn


                      • #12
                        If Satan were real I would imagine that if he ever showed himself in his real form it would kill any mortal human that looked at him - his aura would be enough to send a person insane. It is much better to portray Satan as an ordinary man, charming, charismatic and just, well, ordinary. He must be the kind of guy that can talk the legs off a donkey and then persuade it to go for a walk afterwards. I don't buy all this harum scarum stuff - the Devil that works for me is one that offers temptation and lets human greed do the rest.


                        • #13
                          pacino in the devils advocate was a great devil.

                          Charming, confident, persuasive.

                          I'd go with something along those lines. (course, getting pacino to the part for you might be tough )


                          • #14
                            I agree; I think it does depend on your dramatic intent. If you're going for visceral-scary, use the power of the visual. If you're going for psychologically scary, I'd use the power of words/dialogue. Example? Silence of the Lambs. Anthony Hopkins wasn't playing Satan, but he scared the s**t out of me.

                            I think if Satan personified himself/itself to us, he/it wouldn't need cheap parlor tricks like hooves and horns to scare us. Why scare us when it's so much easier to beguile us? Ted Bundy didn't want to SCARE his victims before he got them in his car. He wanted to make them feel comfortable, make them feel sorry for him, charm them. We tend to think of the VERB 'charm' as connoting something akin to its noun/adjective form, meaning, among other things, attractiveness. We don't tend to think of what the VERB denotes--to attract, bewitch, fascinate. Something a person or presence does TO us and with INTENT.
                            So, although it seems like one thing to say a serial killer lured his victim by 'charming' her and quite another to say that someone you've just met and feel yourself unaccountably attracted to, is 'charming' YOU, they're very much the same thing. Only the intent is different. I think Satan always gets us by charming us--only his/its intentions are always...let's say....less than honorable.


                            • #15
                              I kind of played this up in one of my scripts ( Good ol Kosk read it and I'm trying to get a copy over to GoreomedY today)

                              Not Satan per se, but the script deals with "gothic satanism" and at one point the main character comes across a demon of sorts ( that posses a dog's body)

                              Now the cliche big ugly beast has been done so much that we've become desensitised to it visually - the demon is a little put off that "he took a form that instills fear" yet the main character is still able to hold his nerve together - "I was born and bred on on games that uses the likes of you for target practice. A six-foot, walking, talking, dog-demon is a Duke Nuke-em one liner"

                              In the context of horror it is far better to leave it up to the imagination of the reader to "fill in the blanks". A normal looking person the has some demonic characteristics (like something trying to get out of them) is far scarier than seeing some big horned creature ( though the big ass rocket launcher demon in DOOM was well done) walking around.

                              There was an article on Screenwritersutopia a while ago about the pratfalls of using the devil ( or God) - might want to delvce into the archives of that site for it. The point of the article was that using Satan represented an omnipotent force that lended to script falling apart.


                              Melted of the brain