I should warn you that I’m recovering from a cold, so this post may not be as well thought out as previous entries.
It seems like demons are everywhere in entertainment. I don’t mean actual demons, haunting the writers and making them compose terrible, heretical fiction. I’m referring to demons within the stories. I guess in terms of bad guys, you really can’t top Satan or his minions. (Noah wrote on this a few weeks back.)
I mentioned in my post about Ghostbusters that I don’t believe in ghosts; I believe in demons. What have I to say about adaptations of demons, then?
It depends. Mainly because of my recent exposure, three examples come to my mind:
Doom: Crank up the metal and load your BFG’s, this classic FPS video game franchise is a rather…horrific depiction of Satan’s minions. I confess, I’ve only played Doom 3, the survival-horror “black sheep” game in a “shoot-everything-in-sight” franchise. With the new game coming out this May, the terror that these monsters convey is now in HD.
As for the ability to take out a demon with a face-full of double-aught buckshot, I have personal doubts. I don’t think it would work, and I don’t want to be in a position where I have to find out if it doesn’t. I’m able to justify the Doom franchise by thinking of the in-game “demons” as interdimentional aliens taking the form of demons—thereby making them susceptible to small-arms fire. But the symbolism of the games says otherwise.
Yo-Kai Watch: Though the creatures in this spiritual successor to Pokémon are never referred to as “demons,” the similarities are strong. The Yo-Kai (the Japanese word for “ghost”) are otherwise invisible creatures sowing chaos and havoc—whether intentionally or unintentionally—among unsuspecting humans.
Compared to Doom, these Yo-Kai are hardly the demonic sort. Again, many cause trouble without realizing it. They are depicted as mildly cute—for comparison, as cute as the cast of Monsters Inc. For the curious parents in the audience, I’ll say this: if you let your kids play Pokémon, Yo-Kai Watch should be safe. It’s not as demonic as I make it out to be; it’s just my interpretation. I had more problems with its immature sense of humor than the monsters being demons.
The Screwtape Letters: I know it’s an older example—predating Doom by almost half a century—but I wanted an example of how us Christians depict demons.
C.S. Lewis depicts Hell not as a land of eternal torture, but as a business similar to organized crime. The demons have ranks and orders, ranging from the undersecretary to the basic tempter. In this interpretation, demons are shown to have a strong foothold in day-to-day life, using suggestions rather than possession to do their work.
So which of these three is the most accurate?
I can’t be sure. All three of them seem to follow key tropes of demons, but that’s all they are, tropes. There really is no set model for what a demon looks like. Even Scripture says that some of them masquerade as angels of the light, (I Corinthians 11:14) but it’s more of a side-note than anything else. Angels aren’t really described either, except the seraphim with six wings. Do they look like humans? Do they look like winged humans? Do they look like Misha Collins? I don’t know.
But these adaptations agree on two things: demons are present and they are not to be taken lightly.