Mephistopheles in popular culture

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This article lists cultural references to Mephistopheles, the fictional devil from Faust and Doctor Faustus. The name Mephistopheles has been used countless times in literature, film, comics and music. More often than not it does not refer to the character of Mephistopheles as presented in the original Faust tragedies, but rather any generic devil figure.

Drama[edit]

Opera[edit]

Music[edit]

  • Bono took on the character of Dark Lord of Rock persona called “MacPhisto” during U2's Zoo TV tour in the 1990s, MacPhisto is based on Mephistopheles and some former musicians who used drugs.
  • Satanic death metal band Deicide wrote a song "Mephistopheles" for their first album.
  • Horror Punk band Samhain have a song called 'Mephisto Waltz' (often incorrectly credited to The Misfits due to its accidental inclusion in their boxed set of work)
  • Dimmu Borgir, a Norwegian black metal band, has a song entitled "The Maelstrom Mephisto". Their vocalist, Shagrath also features in the song and video for Kamelot's March of Mephisto, in which he performs the role of Mephisto.
  • Megadeth reference Mephistopheles in the songs 'Vortex' ("Mephistophelian transaction/A virgin soul the price is paid") and 'The Conjuring' ("Come join me in my infernal depths/ Mephisto's hall of fame/I've got your soul")
  • On Beethoven's Last Night, a concept album from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Mephistopheles represents the devil himself.
  • Depeche Mode has created an instrumental song "Memphisto", which according to Martin Gore is the name of an imaginary film with Elvis as the devil. "Memphisto" is therefore acombination of Mephisto and Memphis.
  • The concept album Epica by progressive metal band Kamelot tells the story of Faust, which is continued by its sequel, The Black Halo. The Black Halo also features the single March of Mephisto, with Shagrath of Dimmu Borgir performing the death metal vocals of Mephisto.
  • Japanese metal band Moi dix Mois's album Nocturnal Opera contains a song named "Mephisto Waltz", which is referred to as a melody of sorrow.
  • The first stanza of Radiohead's 2007 song, "Videotape" is, "When I'm at the pearly gates / This will be on my videotape / my videotape / When Mephistopheles is just beneath / and he's reaching up to grab me."
  • There is an electronic band named Mephisto Odyssey who have collaborated with everyone from country singer Paula Frazer to Static-X.
  • Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire's song "Ides of Swing" from the album Thrills contains the line "Swooning to the charms of Mephisto's waltz, that's when you know you've got some schmaltz."
  • From Cradle of Filth's 2004 album, Nymphetamine, a song entitled "Absinthe With Faust" uses this stanza: Let us drink on the giddying brink, Of pools of excrement, All manner of shit for the glamour and glitz, Mephistopheles lent
  • Gothic Metal band Moonspell have a song entitled "Mephisto" on their 1996 album Irreligious.
  • Death Metal band Arch Enemy's album Stigmata from 1998 Contains a song named "Sinister Mephisto"
  • American punk band Strung Out's album The Element of Sonic Defiance contains a song named "Mephisto"
  • The Ska band Streetlight Manifesto has a song on its album Somewhere In The Between called "Down, Down, Down To Mephisto's Cafe"
  • The group Swollen Members makes reference to Mephistopheles in the song "Torture" from the 2006 album Black Magic ; "...flames on the flesh burn, meet Mephistopheles, heat makes it hard to breath..."
  • The Third Wave Ska Band Mephiskapheles, a portmanteau of Mephistopheles and Ska.
  • The group Marcy Playground refers to Mephistopheles in the song "Deadly Handsome Man." "My real name is Mephistopheles, but you can call me baby..."
  • The Mephisto Waltzes are four waltzes composed by Franz Liszt, the first two for orchestra, the third and fourth for solo piano. He also composed the Mephisto Polka.
  • Mephistopheles's Song in Auerbach's Cellar, more commonly known as "The Song of the Flea", was composed by Mussorgsky in 1879.
  • American hip hop artist Wyclef Jean references Mephistophales in the song "The Score" off of the 1996 album The Score as part of the Fugees.
  • The Police reference Mephistophales in the song Wrapped Around Your Finger, in "Mephistophales is not your name/ I know what you're up to just the same".
  • OneRepublic mentions Mephistopheles in the lyrics of their 2014 song Love Runs Out: "Got an angel on my shoulder, and Mephistopheles."

Film[edit]

  • In Yevgeny Zamyatin's We, the resistance group rebelling against the One State is called the Mephi.
  • In the 1981 movie Mephisto, which won an Oscar in 1982 for Best Foreign Film, actor Klaus Maria Brandauer plays a German stage actor whose abiding ambition is to play Mephistopheles on the stage - but in order to achieve it, he "sells his soul" to the Nazi regime and in effect becomes Faust in real life.
  • In the 1987 film Angel Heart, Mickey Rourke figures out that the Satan character "Louis Cyphere" is actually "Lucifer," and Satan's (Robert De Niro) response is "'Mephistopheles' is such a mouthful in Manhattan, Johnny."
  • In the 2005 film Batman Begins, Arrigo Boito's opera Mefistofele is being performed prior to the murder of Bruce Wayne's parents.
  • In the 2006 film Thank You for Smoking, the central character, a spokesman for Big Tobacco with a questionable sense of morals, is once referred to as a "yuppie Mephistopheles."
  • Mephistopheles is the name of the character in the 2007 movie Ghost Rider who turns Johnny Blaze into the Ghost Rider.
  • Film critic Roger Ebert, in his review of the 2008 film The Dark Knight, compared the film's version of The Joker (portrayed by Heath Ledger) to Mephistopheles - an evil man whose particular gift is actually bringing out the worst in other people.
  • In the 1991 horror film Puppet Master II, Andre Toulon's first puppet is revealed to be a stringless marionette named Mephistopheles (called Mephisto), and can be seen enacting a puppet production of Faust. It is quite appropriate as Toulon soon after learns a forbidden magic with which to create living puppets, after his famous Mephisto is destroyed.
  • In the 2012 film "Dark Shadows" Barnabas Collins cries aloud *Mephistopheles* while seeing a fastfood sign lighten up. Also at the beginning he reads from a book of black magic saying, "... unless he says the true name of Satan [dramatic pause and turns page] Mephistopheles".

Comics[edit]

Television[edit]

  • In Xena: Warrior Princess, Mephastophilis is the original ruler of Hell. He is then replaced by the angel Lucifer after Xena kills him.
  • In the television series South Park, Dr. Mephesto is the name of a mad scientist who lives on an ominous hill outside of town.
  • In the second series of Sky One's Hex, Mephistopheles (played by Ronan Vibert) takes an active part in guiding the son of Azazeal towards his destiny, to bring about the end of days. In the end he turns against evil and helps the 'good side' as he believes the only thing truly worth fighting for is love.
  • As a recurring character of Jon Lovitz on Saturday Night Live.
  • In the Australian ABC TV show Double the Fist as Mephisto.
  • In the Japanese anime, Digimon Tamers, Mephistomon is an Ultimate Level Dark Animal Digimon born from the remains of Apocalymon.
  • In an episode of Family Guy, Brian reads Faust to Stewie, who complains, "You're supposed to do Mephistopheles in a scary voice!"
  • Mephistopheles appears in two episodes of the Adult Swim series Squidbillies. In which, he is depicted as a giant squid w/ a head of fire and talking snakes for tentacles. These snakes appears to whisper temptations in Mephistopheles' ear and are the source of his evil ways.
  • Mephistopheles appears briefly at the end of an episode of Metalocalypse, another Adult Swim series. A Satanic Priest summons the four demons of the Apocalypse. The four demons, Mephistopheles, Belial, Beelzebub and Lucifer, destroy the Church of Satan in which they were summoned after Dethklok leaves to go to a bar. He also appears in an episode where Dethklok wishes to gain blues fame, only to find that the last step to being a famous blues artist is to sell your soul to the devil.
  • A character named Mephisto Pheles appears in the anime Ghost Sweeper Mikami
  • A character named Mephisto Pheles appears in the anime Blue Exorcist
  • A character named Pheles appears in the anime Shakugan no Shana with her lover Johann

Literature[edit]

Video and board games[edit]

  • In Talisman (board game) 4th Edition Mephistopheles can appear and reward evil characters; if a good or neutral character encounters Mephistopheles they are converted to evil.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game, Mephistopheles is an archdevil, one of the nine rulers of the plane of Baator, also called the Nine Hells. His domain is Cania, the eighth level of Baator, a frigid wasteland. In this role, he is the primary villain in the PC game Hordes of the Underdark, an expansion pack to Neverwinter Nights.
  • In the Facebook game Castle Age, Mephistopheles is a major villain and currently the only story-related monster with an Alpha version.
  • Mephisto is one of the three 'Prime Evils' in Blizzard Entertainment's Diablo series. In Diablo II, Mephisto, the Lord of Hatred, is one of the primary bosses.
  • Mephisto is the core villain of a cluster of maps in Heroes of Might and Magic IV.
  • In the Xbox game Phantom Dust, the skill Mephisto's Pact is named after the demon.
  • In the Magic: The Gathering card game, there is a card called 'Chains of Mephistopheles'.
  • In the horror adventure game 7 Days a Skeptic, Mephistopheles is the name of the ship the events of the game take place in.
  • In Animamundi, Mephistopheles is the devil that negotiates with the main character to save his sister's life in exchange for his soul.
  • In Baten Kaitos, Mephistopheles Cloak is a Magnus.
  • In Tides of Blood, a common user-created map for Blizzard's Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, Mephistopheles is a playable hero character.
  • In the video game Devil May Cry 4, there is an enemy called the Mephisto, which as the game's guide suggests, is "A floating demon wrapped in a black cape of special gas that allows it to pass through objects. Mephisto appears to its foes as a demon of death; however, its true physical form is nothing but a tiny coward."
  • Mephistomon and Phelesmon are both ultimate level Digimon in the Digimon Collectible Card Game.
  • In BloodRayne, Mephisto is said to be an angel that falls from heaven, usurping the original devil, Beliar. Mephisto is also said to have ripped Beliar into many pieces, scattering them across the Earth.Also, in the sequel, one of the characters's last names is Mephistopheles.
  • In Demon's Souls, Mephistopheles is an NPC character that tasks the player with killing various other innocent NPCs in the Nexus for rewards. Upon killing the final target, Mephistopheles herself attacks the player and must be killed.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog, a character named Mephiles the Dark is named after Mephistopheles and is Shadow the Hedgehog's primary antagonist. He is one half of Solaris along with Iblis. He is also the only character in the video game series' history so far to kill the main character, Sonic the Hedgehog.

See also[edit]