"Explorers in the further regions of experience. Demons to some. Angels to others."
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Sub-groups: Succubi; Cenobites
Films: A Nightmare on Elm Street series; Exorcist series; Hellraiser series; The Omen series
Programs: Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Charmed; Poltergeist: The Legacy; Supernatural
Comics: Ghost Rider
Ghost Rider Vol 3
1st appearance: Le Manoir du diable (in film)

Demons are supernatural entities whose primary purpose is the temptation, subjugation and the ultimate destruction of everything that is deemed good. Demons appear in the folklore, mythology or religious dogma of nearly every culture on the planet Earth. Their origins are vast and varied and they can present themselves in any number of forms, each one with their own distinctive identity, purpose and abilities. Demons are always born from some ethereal nether-realm or dark location and almost always possess a monstrous visage. Though many can manifest themselves physically on Earth, many more can only operate as a disembodied spirit, taking possession of a human host to serve a variety of needs. Those who study the lore of demons are known as Demonologists.

In fiction[edit | edit source]

Mephistopheles from Le Manoir du diable (1896).

Demons figure prominently in many forms of film and television fiction; usually appearing in programs relating to the horror or supernatural fantasy subgenres. They are almost always presented in an antagonistic role and are often used as plot devices to help form the story structure of an individual episode or story-arc. The classifications, motivations and physical appearance of demons vary depending upon the material they are presented in and there are dozens of different types of demon, many of which are inspired by actual demonology, but are also developed exclusively by the imagination of the creator.

One of the earliest depictions of demons in film was Mephistopheles, who was presented as a quasi-Satanic vampire figure and the main antagonist in Georges Méliès' 1896 silent French film, Le Manoir du diable. As a bat, Mephistopheles flew inside of a a medieval castle. Once in, the bat circled slowly while flapping its monstrous wings before suddenly changing into his human form. After preparing a cauldron, the demon produced skeletons, ghosts, and witches from its bubbling contents before a French soldier brandished a crucifix, banishing the entity in a large cloud of smoke.

Demons make frequent appearances in TV shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where they are shown to possess a fearsome physical form, but are also often comical in terms of attitude and dialogue. In fact, the show's primary antagonists, vampires, are revealed to actually be just a subsect of demon - one who takes control of a host body, replacing the target's soul. This element was shown to even greater extent in the Buffy spin-off series Angel, where the main character from the series, Angel, is a vampire who is "cursed" with a soul and as such, is seeking redemption for his past misdeeds. Throughout both programs, the characters of Buffy Summers and Angel, as well as their supporting cast, match wits and brawn against demons of varying breeds.

Jed Potter possessed by a demon.

Different types of demons have also been featured in the HBO television series True Blood. Like Buffy and Angel, the series is primarily centered around vampires, but has expanded it's mythology to include demons as well. One facet of demonology explored in the series is that of a Brujo, which is a Mexican variation of a witch, but is presented as an evil entity that possesses the character of Jesus Velasquez, and later, Lafayette Reynolds. The Spanish word for witchcraft is Brujeria. Another demonic presence introduced in season five of the series is an Infrit, which is a creature of Islamic folklore, similar in many ways to a Djinn. On True Blood, the Ifrit is presented as a monster of fire and smoke and is shown plaguing Iraqi war veteran Terry Bellefleur.

Season two of the FX Network television series American Horror Story was billed under the the title American Horror Story: Asylum. In the second episode from the season, "Tricks and Treats", a seventeen-year-old boy named Jed Potter was admitted to the Briarcliff Manor asylum because he was possessed by a demon. Monsignor Timothy Howard and a priest named Father Malachi performed an exorcism to drive the demon out, but the process proved too intense for Potter and the boy died. The demon then took possession of a young nun named Sister Mary Eunice McKee.

Types of demons[edit | edit source]

Burrower Demons[edit | edit source]

A Burrower Demon is a breed of demon featured in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel franchise. They take possession of human host bodies, but their relationship with the host is more parasitic in nature, rather than one of total possession. The Burrower seeks to find the perfect form through which it could live forever. Unfortunately, most human bodies are unsuitable for housing a Burrower demon's form and burn up quickly, rotting away the longer the demon is in possession of it. Angel and Kate Lockley fought a Burrower demon named Talamour who was preying on lonely singles in the L.A. night life scene. [1]

Cenobites[edit | edit source]

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Cenobites are a fictional classification of demon featured in the Hellraiser multimedia franchise. They are characterized by pale skin, bald heads with various physical deformities, ritualistic mutilations scars and/or piercings. They also have a keen fondness for leather. Cenobites play a major role in all of the Hellraiser films, but the one that stands out the most is the Lead Cenobite, whom fans have affectionately given the moniker, "Pinhead" (played by Doug Bradley). Multiple Cenobites are seen in all four of the theatrically released films, but when the franchise hit the direct-to-video market, their presence in the franchise dwindled until only Pinhead remained.

Dream demons[edit | edit source]

Freddy Krueger.

Dream demons are serpent-like creatures that exist only in the world of dreams. Their goal is to break down the barrier separating the dream world from the real world. To facilitate this, the dream demons will choose a human agent to act as their weapon of fear. This typically comes in the form of the spirit of a deceased human, who is given the power to exert their influence over someone's dream. This includes killing them in the dream world, which may also result in their death in the real world. As these agents are tied to both the corporeal world and the world of dreams, it is possible for such an individual to actually pull such a being from their dream into the real world.

The most well-known of such agents is Fred Krueger, who was a vicious child murderer in life, but became a burned wise-cracking boogey-man, terrorizing teenagers with a razor glove after his death.

There are numerous methods employed to confound the efforts of an agent of the dream demons. Exorcising one's sense of fear, turning their back on their nightmares, will take way an agent's power. Burying the agent's human remains in hallowed ground will also defeat him. Pulling an agent out of the dream world and into the real world makes them vulnerable to conventional forms of injury. However, even if their body is destroyed, they will always manifest again in the dream world, making them virtually unstoppable.

Djinn[edit | edit source]

Djinn are a type of supernatural creature whose origins date back to Arabic folklore. In modern contexts they are usually referred to as Genies. Djinn are powerful mystical entities who spiritual essences is traditionally confined to a container, such as a magic lamp. Upon being set free, the Djinn is then obligated to grant three wishes to the one who freed him. What takes place after the three wishes are granted are subject to interpretation. For starters, the Djinn is freed from the mystical bonds that tethered him to his containment structure. One accounted posited that a freed Djinn would be able to call forth others of his race and they would lay siege to the world. Such creatures were once described as the following:

Once, in a time before time, God breathed life into the universe. And the light gave birth to Angels. And the earth gave birth to man. And the fire gave birth to the djinn, creatures condemned to dwell in the void between the worlds. One who wakes a djinn shall be given three wishes. Upon the granting of the third, the unholy legions of the djinn shall be freed upon the earth. Fear one thing only in all that is... fear the djinn.

One particular Djinn came to prominence during the late 1990s when he was loosed upon the unsuspecting populace of an American city after having been confined in a box for the past seven-hundred years.

Hellspawn[edit | edit source]

Al Simmons.

Hellspawn are not demons per se, but they are creatures of demonic influence. The serve as the soldiers of Hell, enslaved to the whims of the arch-demon Malebolgia. Hellspawn were once mortal humans who had died and been sent to Hell. After receiving Malebolgia's approval, the tortured souls are infused with dark energy called necroplasm. They are returned to Earth in corporeal form, but usually with a monstrous countenance. They are capable of wielding great power, but such power comes in limited supply. When their power is exhausted, their bodies are destroyed and they are returned to Hell. A Hellspawn is adorned in his stations of office, which may take the form of a suit of armor, or a cloak. These items are actually symbiotic creations of Hell, which can perform unique functions suited to each individual Hellspawn. In the modern era, the most notable Hellspawn is Al Simmons - a former mercenary who was murdered on a mission. As his soul descended into the netherworld, he was approached by Malebolgia, who promised to restore him to life in exchange for service at some later time. Simmons accepted, but when he first reappeared on Earth, he was hideously disfigured. He also had no memory of the man who had murdered him.

Notable Hellspawn

M'Fashnik[edit | edit source]

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M'Fashnik hail from an unidentified nether-realm. They can be corporeally summoned to Earth through occult processes such as innate ability or through ritualism. M'Fashnik are merecenary creatures, and will obey the whims of those who control them. The geeky would-be super-villains known as the Trio summoned a M'Fashnik demon and sent him off to rob a bank for them to help finance their villainous agenda. Unfortunately for the demon, Buffy Summers was present at the bank trying to get a loan when the M'Fashnik burst in. The two fought one another, and Buffy managed to drive it away. It returned to The Trio to complain about its failure. It later fought with Buffy a second time, this time at her home, whereupon the Slayer vanquished the entity by bludgeoning it to death. [2]

Norfulthing[edit | edit source]


The Norfulthing is a terror elemental that manifests itself into a physical form based upon the subconscious creativity of another. The Norfulthing is not a traditional demon in that it is not bound by common restrictions associated with invocation or summoning. It has once been described as partly a giant dog and partly a monkey "with a purple bum, like at the zoo". The Norfulthing wears its internal organs on the outside of its skin, including its heart, muscles, veins and genitalia. In 1978, amateur occultist and nightclub owner Alex Logue held a series of tantric sex rituals in the cellar of his establishment, the Casanova Club. He forced his young daughter Astra to partake in these rituals, and the experience traumatized her so greatly, that she inadvertently conjured up the terror elemental to protect her. The Norfulthing slaughtered everyone in room, sparing only Astra. A short time later, John Constantine and a group of his friends (informally known as the Newcastle Crew), discovered the carnage in the bottom of Logue's basement. In an effort to destroy the Norfulthing, John attempted to summon a more powerful demon to combat it. He mis-spoke the spell, and summoned the demon Nergal, who took possession of Astra Logue and used her as the instrument by which to destroy the Norfulthing. (Hellblazer 11)

Succubi[edit | edit source]

Succubi, or succubus, are female demons that assumes human form and thrive by seducing male lovers and draining their life energy until they are dead. In many tales, a succubus accomplishes this by invading a person's dreams, though most cases demonstrate the transferal of life energy taking place during intercourse. The plural form for Succubus is succubi. The male equivilant to a succubus is called an Incubus. In television fiction, succubi are most commonly seen in the horror genre and fantasy genres.

Demons of note[edit | edit source]

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Abraxas is a demon who appeared in the WB Network television series Charmed. He appeared in the premiere episode of season two, "Witch Trial", and was played by actor/stuntman Walter Phelan. Abraxas was a demon who emerged on the physical plane and stole the Book of Shadows from the attic of the Halliwell Manor in San Francisco, California. Reciting passages from the book backwards, he resurrected several of the Charmed Ones' former vanquished foes, such as serial killer warlock Jeremy Burns. The ghost of their grandmother, Penny Halliwell, warned them that the Power of One was required to defeat him. Believing that Prue Halliwell was their strongest member, they agreed to open a portal and have Prue use her telekinesis to push him into it. When this failed, they realized that the Power of One meant that they all had to work together. They recited a spell from the Book of Shadows, just as Abraxas was reciting the same spell backwards. Their power converged and they succeeded in banishing him.
Malebolgia is a lord of Hell and occupies the Eighth level. Malebolgia is responsible for the creation of Hell's army, which is comprised of formerly living hosts who are bonded to psychoplasm symbiotic costume entities that give them great power. These soldiers of the netherrealm are known as Hellspawn.
Pazuzu is that jackass demon that once possessed a little African boy and it took Father Lankester Merrin some ungodly amount of time to drive the pecker out. Pazuzu bided his time however, keeping tabs on Merrin's activities, awaiting the day that it might once again be able to get its demonic meat hooks into him. That day came in 1973 when Pazuzu was able to take possession of a twelve-year-old girl named Regan MacNeil, who lived with her mother in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. Pazuzu performed all of his favorite tricks including levitating the bed, spinning Regan's head around 360 degrees, upchucking a violent stream of green puke and stabbing herself repeatedly in the va-jay-jay with a crucifix (okay, that last one might have just been Regan all by herself). With the help of a younger priest named Damian Karras, Father Lankaster Merrin was able to help exorcise the demon from Regan's body, but at the cost of his own life. Father Karras had to complete the ritual and did so by taking the demon's essence into his own body then pitching himself through the window to his doom.

Toy demon
On Halloween night in 1925, two (presumably) followers of Satan named Mrs. Michaels and Doctor Michaels played midwife to the birth of a child which was to be the physical incarnation of a demon. The baby was stillborn however and so the Michaels' discarded it. They placed it in a black sack and gave it to three trick-or-treaters with instructions to "plant the seed" in the hopes of harvesting a new crop. The children eagerly took the bag, not realizing what was inside of it. When they opened it, they found the dead demon baby and threw it away. The body landed in the foundation of a construction site, which later became the location of an Arcadia Toys warehouse. The soul of the demon, weak and trapped inside of this infant corpse, remained dormant for sixty-six years. In 1991, two undercover police detectives named Judith Gray and Matt Cable got into a firefight outside the warehouse with two weapons dealers named Lincoln and Hesse. Hesse suffered a gunshot wound to the leg and hobbled his way into the warehouse for safety. He collapsed upon a section of the floor with a pentagram etched upon it. His blood dripped through the cracks of the pentagram, invigorating the demon. The demon had not regained his full power however, and required more blood. To this end, he used what little power he had to animate several of the old toys in the warehouse, turning them into his lethal executors. The toys attacked everyone who came upon their path, and their blood was used to nurse the growing demon presence. The demon wished to repeat his earlier efforts to be reborn into a human body. He knew that Judith Gray was pregnant with her now-dead partner's child. He psychologically tormented her with images of Matt Cable and even showed her dream-like state wherein he was playing the card game War with the spirit of her unborn son. As his power grew as more and more people were killed by his demonic toys, the demon assumed an adult form of a Man-Devil. He captured Judith and bound her to the pentagram upon the floor. His intent was to sexually violate her, and impregnate her with his own soul, which would displace that of her son. The spirit of Judith's child, yet to be born, manifested in the form of a toy soldier. As a soldier, it rescued his mother by cutting her bonds with a sabre. He then took on the image of an eight-year-old boy and fought with demon in his Kid form. The fair-haired boy pushed The Kid backwards, impaling him upon his saber. This was enough to dispel the demon's presence for a time, and Judith was saved. [3]
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Zarathos was a powerful demon with great lust and a desire to enslave humankind. His actions worked in contrast to those of the arch-demon Mephisto, and Zarathos openly opposed him. More than twenty-thousand years ago, an immortal race known as The Blood allied themselves with the Spirits of Vengeance and waged war against Zarathos. They created the mystical Medallion of Power, which they used to house the combined power of the spirits. They succeeded in trapping a portion of Zarathos' own essence inside the medallion. The Blood decreed that the medallion was too powerful to remain intact, so it was broken up into many shards and placed into the spiritual bloodlines of two families, both of which would be overseen and protected by a Blood known only as the Caretaker. [4]

List of Demons[edit | edit source]

Name Franchise
Allen Francis Doyle Buffyverse
Anya Jenkins Buffyverse
Azazel Supernatural
Blackout Ghost Rider
Blix Buffyverse
Clem Buffyverse
Creed Marvel Universe
Crowley Supernatural
Danny Ketch Ghost Rider
Darryl Van Horne The Witches of Eastwick
Flora Buffyverse
Freddy Krueger A Nightmare on Elm Street
Grillard Hellraiser
Groofus Buffyverse
Halfrek Buffyverse
Illyria Buffyverse
Invunche Hellblazer
John Skinner Ghost Rider
John Milton The Devil's Advocate
Kyra Charmed
Landok Buffyverse
Lorne Buffyverse
Malebolgia Spawn
Meatmarket Marvel Universe
Meg Masters Supernatural
Mnemoth Hellblazer
Mother of the Vile Excrement Buffyverse
Narwek Buffyverse
Nergal Hellblazer
Numfar Buffyverse
Pazuzu Exorcist
Pee Pee demon Buffyverse
Pilgrim Marvel Universe
Pinhead Hellraiser
Polo Buffyverse
Pumpkinhead Pumpkinhead film series
Pylean captain Buffyverse
Ratio Hornblower Buffyverse
Ruby Supernatural
Sebassis Angel
Toy demon Demonic Toys
Violator Spawn
Zankou Charmed
Zarathos Ghost Rider

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Film[edit | edit source]

Comics[edit | edit source]

Notes & Trivia[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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This article relates to the Hellraiser film franchise.
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This article relates to the Jeepers Creepers film franchise.
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This article relates to the Pumpkinhead film franchise.
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This article relates to the Spawn franchise.
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