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Film / Angel Heart (1987)
aka: Angel Heart

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For the manga and anime series of this name, see Angel Heart.

Angel Heart is a 1987 Religious Horror neo-noir film directed by Alan Parker, starring Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro, Charlotte Rampling and Lisa Bonet. The film is based on the 1978 novel Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg.

Set in 1955, Harry Angel (Rourke), a New York private detective, is hired by a mysterious client (De Niro) who seeks to find a man named Johnny Favorite. This search leads him to New Orleans, deep in the heart of its voodoo district. What starts off as a simple missing person's case soon escalates into multiple murders and the supernatural.

Upon release, the movie was controversial due to a sex scene with Lisa Bonet, which resulted in her being kicked off The Cosby Show. The scene had to be edited down for the film to get an R rating for its theatrical release; video releases restored the scene to its full length.

Angel Heart was also the primary inspiration for the 1993 video game Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, and listed as a partial inspiration for the 2003 video game Silent Hill 3's visual design.

This movie depends on a massive Twist Ending, so a lot of the examples are spoiler-tagged. Highlight at your own risk.

This film contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In the book, Harry Angel is described as being slightly overweight with a black mustache and graying hair. Mickey Rourke on the other hand...
  • Affably Evil: The Krusemarks. In fact, you wouldn't guess Margaret was a devil worshiper or evil at first or even second glance.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Johnny Favorite may be an evil S.O.B., but the Harry Angel persona seems like a pretty decent guy. Too bad they're both going to Hell...
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys. Johnny Favorite was a real ladies' man. Subverted with Epiphany's mother however, who according to her daughter eventually realized what a monster Favorite was.
    Epiphany: You know what they say. It's always the badass that make a girl's heart beat faster.
  • Ambiguous Ending: Was Harry Angel ever present in the film? Or was it simply Johnny Favorite believing he was Harry Angel? If he was, then when Johnny's soul is taken (rightfully) to Hell, did Harry's soul go with him?
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Harry discovers that the evil murderer that he was hired to find was himself, and not only that, he also found out that he had had sex with his daughter.
  • Amnesiac Liar: A variant. After Johnny Favorite took over Harry Angel's soul and got Identity Amnesia during the war, Harry's identity took hold of Johnny and convinced him to be Harry rather than Johnny.
  • Anachronistic Clue: Harry Angel spots a document as forged because it had been completed in ballpoint pen, which weren't available in the US until after World War II.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Considering how many of the murder victims were in some way part of Johnny Favorite's Deal with the Devil scheme, it's hard to feel sorry for some of them (especially the Krusemarks, who helped Favorite murder the real Harry Angel to steal his soul). The major exception is Epiphany, whose supernatural rites seem to be pretty harmless and did nothing to deserve getting raped to death with a loaded gun by her own father.
    • Played with in the case of Johnny Favorite. As he's a vicious murderer, his most deserved punishment is being dragged to hell. However this happens when he's still in the Harry Angel persona, who's a much better man than him.
  • Awful Truth: See everything spoiled out.
    Louis Cyphre: Alas, how terrible is wisdom when it brings no profit to the wise.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The bad guy is running around killing off everybody Harry Angel interviews, and each one gets him in further trouble with the police. Harry Angel is desperately trying to clear his name and get the heck out of this madness. Unfortunately that's complicated when it turns out he is Johnny Favorite, the man he's been searching for the whole time. To make things worse, it turns out there was an even bigger bad guy- the Devil- who orchestrated the entire movie. Literally, after Johnny Favorite tried to cheat the Devil of the soul he owed him, he suffered an injury in World War II that gave him amnesia, allowing him to take over the memories of the man he tried to steal his soul from. Then the Devil let him fall into a false sense of security, only for it all to come crashing down around him twelve years later when he literally hired Favorite to find out who he really was, commit a series of sins that included rape and the murder of all the people who helped him in his efforts to get out of his deal- and in the process condemn himself to Hell, thus fulfilling his debt. There's a reason why the tagline was "Harry Angel is searching for the truth. Pray he doesn't find it".
  • Beard of Evil: The sinister Louis Cyphre sports a neat-looking beard.
  • Beat Still, My Heart: Margaret, in a scene that is actually an in-universe Call-Back to what happened to the real Harry Angel. The scene is punctuated by a little girl tap dancing in the rain, mimicking a heartbeat.
  • Becoming the Mask: Johnny Favorite lives on borrowed time by stealing Harry Angel's soul and identity. It works so well that he believes that he is "Harry Angel", and only becomes Johnny again during his memory blackouts when he commits grisly murders.
  • Bigot with a Badge: As would be typical for most police officers in the 1950s South, Detective Sterne isn't shy about expressing his racial views. He seems to despise Harry Angel at least as much for having a black girl in his bed as for being a prime suspect in a murder case.
    Detective Sterne: Around here we don't mess with the jigaboos!
    Harry Angel: Yeah, well, I'm not from around here.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Johnny Favorite's real name is Liebling, which is commonly used in German for "sweetheart" or "darling" (or angel), but its secondary meaning is "favorite".
  • Blackmail: Harry convinces Fowler to talk by threatening to go public about his morphine addiction.
  • Black Jezebel Stereotype: Epiphany Proudfoot (played by Lisa Bonet) whose sex scene is so graphic that the film almost earned an X rating. Her entire plot involvement is having sex with the hero who turned out to be her father and then get raped and killed.
  • Book Safe: Dr. Fowler keeps the bullets for his revolver hidden in a fake bible.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Played with. Johnny/Harry kills several people under Satan's influence, but it's left deliberately vague whether the Devil is directly compelling him to commit the murders or if he's allowing Johnny Favorite's vile personality some freedom to indulge in these acts and Johnny is keeping Harry from finding out the truth about himself.
  • Child of Two Worlds: Epiphany is this, having been born from a love affair between her black mother and her white father. It's worst when her illegitimate father is also suspect Johnny Favorite.
  • Chocolate Baby: After The Reveal, people find it hard to believe that the light-skinned mixed-raced African American Epiphany is the illegitimate daughter of Johnny Favorite, due to her father being white. And nobody believes Angel when he tells them otherwise.
  • Classical Anti-Hero: Mixed with Anti-Hero. Harry is a well-meaning PI who uses methods that skirt the law or even break it. He is a genuine Nice Guy who has one Fatal Flaw. That flaw being having the soul of an evil man trying to escape the Devil.
  • Classy Cane: The mysterious client sports one.
  • Cold Ham:
    • DeNiro is obviously having a wonderful time with the role. At any moment you expect him to giggle. Note that he manages to ham it up without speaking all that loudly; he remains quite soft-spoken and calm throughout the film, but his enjoyment is just streaming from his body language. A prime example is when Harry talks about Toots' messy Groin Attack in blunt terms. Louis chastises him for using such language in a church, but he's obviously enjoying the sacrilege.
    • Many other characters enjoy this, such as Dann Florek (Herman Winesap) and Stocker Fontelieu (Ethan Krusmark):
      Harry: I found a mummified hand in her room.
      Ethan: (reverently) The "Hand of Glory." It was supposed to be able to open any lock. It was the right hand of a convicted murderer, cut off while his neck was still in the noose. It's supposed to open any lock... Or so Margaret believed.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Every. Single. Murder. Dr. Fowler is the only one to receive a quick death, and even then, it's hardly a clean one.
  • Dance of Romance: Harry Angel and Epiphany share one in his hotel room together, set to Lavern Baker's "Soul On Fire".
  • Deal with the Devil: Johnny Favorite selling his soul for stardom and then trying to get out of it by sacrificing an innocent man caused the whole plot.
  • Defective Detective: Harry's office is in a run-down state.
  • Devil, but No God: There's no mention of God or any other deity who could intervene to stop The Devil.
  • Devil in Disguise: The Devil poses as a human businessman named Louis Cypher to lead a man to his doom who previously made a Deal with the Devil before trying to screw him over. At the end, when the man discovers the truth but is still very much in denial, Mephistopheles suggests he could just turn into a Big Red Devil if that's what it takes to convince him. He doesn't, instead settling for some spooky yellow eyes for a few seconds.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Johnny Favorite's plan. In a setting where the only options for an afterlife are Heaven and Hell, what good did he think it would do him to murder the original Harry Angel and use his soul as a disguise? Did he think he would get into Heaven?
  • Disappeared Dad: Johnny Favorite to Epiphany. Her son's father isn't around either, but it's because she doesn't know who he is.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Harry during the climax demands Louis stop calling him "Johnny".
  • Door-Closes Ending: Inverted. The film ends with a door opening, but the situation couldn't be more sinister.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The title refers to the beating heart belonging to the original Harold Angel that Johnny Favorite stole, but the meaning is also more literal in that the movie deals with an actual angel—just not a very good one.
  • The Dreaded: Johnny Favourite. Everyone who knows Favourite is clearly terrified of his hedonistic evil.
  • Esoteric Motif: Pentagrams. Cyphre has a pentagram ring; Margaret has a pentagram necklace; Toots has a pentagram gold tooth.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: It's debatable how much sympathy Louis feels towards Harry, but he calls the original Harry "that poor boy" whose heart was ripped out and eaten by Johnny.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Dogs seem to really not like Harold Angel, because they sense who he really, unknowingly is.
  • Evil Lawyer Joke: After informing Harry that Winesap met an unfortunate end due to a "nasty accident", Louis / Lucifer jokes that "one less attorney" in the world doesn't really matter, even though there has been nothing to suggest that Winesap is corrupt or evil in any way or knew who his client really was. He just wanted to clean up all the loose ends, denying Harry / Johnny anyone who can corroborate his story.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Upon realizing there's no escape from Gruesome Gertie, Harry calmly accepts his eternal damnation.
    Sterne: You're gonna burn for this, Angel.
    Harry: I know. In Hell.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Johnny Favourite. He's frequently described as being quite handsome with a wonderful singing voice. Now, if only people would see the true Favourite...
  • Fall Guy: Harry initially accuses Louis of murdering all of his witnesses to lay the blame on Harry. Louis chuckles that all of the murders were by Harry's hand — guided by him, of course.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • One of the advertised draws of this movie was a naked Lisa Bonet. The actual scene had more to do with invokedsquick than fantasy. About half of the sequence is a pretty straightforward sex scene, it's the second half where things get really creepy as blood starts pouring down the walls and shots of violence are shown intermittently. There's also the revelation later on that Epiphany was really Harold's daughter, further adding to the squickiness.
    • Epiphany at the Voodoo ritual does an erotic dance with her breasts showing, but since she's covered in chicken blood during the dance, it's not meant to be appealing.
  • Fanservice:
    • Lisa has a Sexy Soaked Shirt scene, plus nudity during her sex scenes.
    • Harry's girlfriend/Girl Friday, who appears in one sequence to give him info on Johnny Favorite...which they discuss amid having her undress while sitting in bed with him.
  • Fat and Skinny: The two New Orleans policemen investigating Harry Angel - Detective Sterne is a very large, obese man who does all of the talking, his partner, Detective Deimos, is thin and quiet.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Louis at first appears to simply be Affably Evil, but as his manner barely changes even as he becomes increasingly malevolent, he falls into this.
  • The '50s: The opening title card informs the viewer that the film takes place in 1955.
  • Film Noir: One of the few examples of noir crossing over with horror.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Harry finds Margaret's heart, you hear Epiphany's screams from later in the film.
    • Many of the images in Harry's nightmares are in fact Johnny's memories of the events of Harry's death, or images of Hell.
    • Several of the soon-to-be-dead characters are seen beside ice: Fowler has his icebox; Margaret passes an ice wagon before boarding the tram; Ethan is seen surrounded by ice during his exposition dump.
    • During an initial meeting with Cyphre when being told that Johnny Favorite was posted overseas and seriously injured before he could fulfill his contract, Harry says that he also was drafted and sent to Europe where he was soon seriously injured.
    • Cyphre asking Harry "Haven't we met before?..."
    • The fact that someone very strongly suggested to be Satan in his introduction - the nails, the pentagram on the ring, the beard, the freaking name Lou Cyphre - with all his omnipotency suddenly needs a private eye to track a certain person.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: During the infamous sex scene, there's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot of Winesap getting murdered.
  • Genre Mashup: Religious Horror and neo-noir. One early trailer even characterized it as a blend of The Exorcist and Chinatown. It also throws some erotic thriller and Psychological Horror elements in for good measure.
  • Getting the Boot: In Louisiana, Harry gets thrown from the pub into a pile of trash after pestering Toots Sweet for too long.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Thankfully, we never see the Groin Attack on Toots. Or Epiphany.
  • Groin Attack:
    Harry: How did he die?
    Sterne: Technically? Asphyxiation by his own genitalia.
    Sterne: (angrily) Somebody cut his dick off, stuffed it in his mouth and choked him to death.
    • Epiphany also dies from such an attack, a rare female version that proves equally horrifying. Essentially, she was raped to death using a gun shoved into her vagina and eventually fired. By her own possessed father, no less.
  • The Grunting Orgasm: Harry Angel lets out a few grunts after having sex with Epiphany.
  • Hand of Glory: While searching Madame Krusemark's home, Harry finds one that she kept in a box, a hint of the Dark Magic that she and Johnny practiced. Ethan is in loving awe of her possession of it.
  • Have We Met?: When Harold Angel visits his new client Mr. Cyphre, the latter notes that Angel somehow looks familiar, but Angel doesn't think they've met before. It turns out that Cyphre is actually Satan. He has a contract on Angel's soul, and was just messing with the amnesiac Angel.
  • Heart Beat Soundtrack: A heartbeat plays during the film's background music whenever Harry Angel has nightmares or Johnny Favorite does something bad.
  • The Hedonist: Johnny Favourite. The whole plot was set off by his desire for fame, fortune and a chance to enjoy all the pleasures the world has to offer.
  • Hellevator: At the very end of the film, Harry Angel (aka Johnny Favorite) takes a ride on one of these.
  • Heroic Bastard: Epiphany was conceived from a love affair her mother had with an engaged man, who was Johnny Favorite.
  • Hired to Hunt Yourself: Harry unwittingly is doing this.
  • Hollywood Satanism: Played straight, complete with human sacrifice and cannibalism. The Krusemarks themselves are Affably Evil.
    Ethan: Margaret wasn't evil. (musing) She was a strange kid! She was into Tarot cards before she could read.
    Harry: (already knowing the answer) Who got her started?
    Ethan: (dismissively) Some maid, some governess, who knows.
    Harry: Some maid? Some governess? (Suddenly Shouting) Everything you tell me is a crock of shit! You got her started! You're the devil worshiper!
    Ethan: (proudly) The Prince of Darkness protects the powerful. I can't help if you don't believe it.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Subverted. Epiphany is seen taking part in a voodoo ritual where she douses herself with chicken blood, but her beliefs are shown to be pretty much harmless. While Det. Sterne claims they 86 each other twice a week, Epiphany firmly states they don't murder anyone. The villain himself however is a Hollywood Satanist. Harry sarcastically comments that the chicken will die anyway as food; Epiphany snaps back that worshiping a man brutally murdered and stuck on a cross isn't exactly wholesome imagery either.
  • Humiliation Conga: Harry, the main character, gets the crap kicked out of him in basically every scene. And that's just the beginning of his torture. Subverted in that Harry was killing all of the witnesses while in his Johnny persona.
  • I Am a Humanitarian: Johnny ate Harry's heart while it was still beating. Squick.
  • Identity Denial: "I know who I am!" He doesn't at first. But seconds later he stares into the mirror and repeats the phrase in grief.
  • Insult Backfire: Lucifer's reaction when Harry figures him out and calls him on the obvious pun deriving from his earthly pseudonym.
    Harry: Even your name is a dime store joke!
    Louis: "Mephistopheles" is such a mouthful in Manhattan, Johnny.
  • Ironic Name: Epiphany. Shame she had to be the victim of her father's.
  • It Gets Easier: Inverted. Harry goes from being invoked"Angst? What Angst?" about Fowler's grisly murder (even callously lighting his match with the dead man's shoe!), and gets increasingly paranoid and frightened with each successive murder, til he's full-on (deserved) Wangst at The Reveal.
  • It's Always Mardi Gras in New Orleans: Averted. The film takes place in New Orleans during a festival but it's a voodoo festival.
  • It's the Journey That Counts: A rather dark variation. The Devil could have just claimed Johnny's soul right there and then, but he forced him to recognize he really wasn't Harry, remember when he did to sell his soul, and engineer it so Johnny was good and executed so there was no escape from paying his debt.
  • The Killer in Me: Harry Angel is Johnny Favorite and committed all the murders himself, albeit under Cyphre's influence.
  • Large Ham: Gerald Orange (Paster John).
    "Somebody's been talkin' about me, about I've been riding around in a Cadillac! If you love me, and you wanna give to me, then I should be in a Rolls Royce!"
  • Leitmotif: The tune to "Girl of My Dreams" (In-Universe sung by Johnny Favorite but in reality, Glen Gray) keeps haunting Harry - it's the only notes he knows how to play on a piano. Even Epiphany sings it in the bathtub at one point. That's because it was Johnny Favorite's most popular song. It makes sense Epiphany's mother would sing it to her.
  • Louis Cypher: Played perfectly straight. Satan's appearance is under the pseudonym Louis Cyphre, The Trope Namer.
    • Lampshaded by Harry.
      Harry: "Louis Cyphre". Lucifer. Even your name is a dime store joke.
    • With another lampshade piled on by Louis right after.
      Louis: Mephistopheles is such a mouthful in Manhattan.
  • Male Gaze: Angel watches a nurse's derriere as she walks away.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Aside from the Louis Cyphre pun, Louis' last name is a homonym for cipher, a secret or code.
    • Also, "Harold Angel" puns the song "Hark, the herald angels sing"— as in, "Pay attention, Harry used to be the singer."
    • Johnny Favorite's real name was Jonathan Liebling. Jonathan means "God's gift" and Liebling means "favorite".
    • The law firm Cyphere hires is Winesap and MacIntosh. Considering who Cyphere is, it's pretty appropriate for him to associate with apples.
    • Epiphany is central to Harry discovering the truth.
    • Her mother, Evangeline, is named after the title character in the poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Like her namesake, she died waiting for Johnny to return. This is noted by a few characters in the film.
    • The smaller and quieter detective investigating Harry Angel is named Deimos. In Greek mythology, Deimos was the god of terror. While the detective himself is mild-mannered and less than terrifying, the circumstances under which he and his partner arrest Harry are certainly terrifying.
  • Memory Gambit: Johnny's plan to use Harry Angel's soul was derailed by his shellshock-induced amnesia.
  • Mind Screw: Neither the murders nor Harry Angel's reaction to them make much sense (nor do Harry's fragmented memories and dreams of Time's Square and various Church scenes) until after the reveal that "Harry Angel" is Johnny Favorite living on borrowed time thanks to co-opting the real Harry Angel's soul through Satanic rituals.
  • Moe Greene Special: Dr. Fowler is shot directly through the eye.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In-Universe. Cyphre tells Harry "You were doomed from the moment you slit that young boy in half", which implies that until that point, Johnny could have backed out of his deal and avoided Hell. But once he committed the sin of murder, he was damned regardless.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Epiphany, whose shirts are almost always see-through.
  • My Card: Harry hands out notes with his address to Epiphany and Toots Sweet ... in case they remembered anything.
  • Names To Run Away From: Demons Or Angels:
    • Harold "Harry" Angel, the shady private detective. Only by the end do we know how bad he really is: He's really an evil occultist named Johnny Favorite, the very same man he was looking for. He tried to cheat Satan out of the deal he made with him prior to the start of the film, by stealing the identity of the real Harold Angel.
    • Louis Cyphre, who is in fact the real Devil.
  • Nice Guy: Harry's default mode. It turns out to be a mask, as he's actually the most evil person in the film, being a cannibalistic occultist, incestuous rapist and multiple murderer.
  • Noble Bigot with a Badge: Det. Sterne. While he initially comes off as a vile racist, referring to blacks as "jigaboos" and fully supporting segregation, he does care about Epiphany and her orphaned kid. He gives hints about being a Beleaguered Bureaucrat as well.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: This was a movie that managed to make a man biting into a hard-boiled egg seem terrifying.
  • Obviously Evil: Even when you can't tell who Louis is, the man is delighting in his own evilness.
  • Occult Law Firm: Winesap and MacIntosh. Rule of Symbolism - both names are types of apples, alluding to the biblical story of the devil manipulating Eve to eat the Forbidden Fruit.
  • Oh, Crap!: When viewing the montage of people he killed as Johnny, when he sees, finally, Epiphany, you can see the "Oh, no!" form on his face.
  • Once More, with Clarity: After Harry's true identity is revealed, we get flashbacks to his earlier encounters with the murder victims but this time we see how Harry actually murders them.
  • Parental Incest: Doubling as Surprise Incest. Epiphany has sex with Angel, who is later revealed to be her father.
  • Phallic Weapon: Epiphany is killed by gunshot. The shot in question comes from a gun stuffed into her nether regions. We thankfully don't get to see the murder, only the aftermath.
  • Punny Name: Toots Sweet, as in tout de suite, French for basically "do it fast!"
  • Rage Against the Reflection: After having sex with Epiphany, Harry punches his hotel room mirror, cracking it. Something he'd probably wanted to do all film, since there's tomato in there.
  • Rain of Blood: This literally happens during the surreal, disturbing sex scene between Harry and Epiphany, as the rain leaking through the roof of Harry's fleabag apartment first increases to an unrealistic amount, and then turns to blood.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles: Margaret and her maid have a short conversation in French. Basically, Margaret asks the maid to make some tea, and the maid asks if Margaret wants to use the good China. Margaret says "no".
  • Really Gets Around: Implied with Epiphany's mother Evangeline when questioned by Harry Angel and whether or not she had a favorite boyfriend i.e Johnny Favorite.
    Harry: Your mother ever had a boyfriend? A Favorite?
    Epiphany: She's had many boyfriends. I don't know if she's had what you'd call a favorite.
  • Religious Horror: The film has some really creepy religious elements. It turns out at the end that the entire plot was orchestrated by Satan himself, who hired Johnny Favorite to condemn himself to Hell.
  • Rewatch Bonus: This is a very sad movie from the beginning if you know where it's going.
  • Riddle for the Ages:
    • What were the original terms of the contract that Cyphre signed with Johnny Favorite?
    • How did Louis Cyphre find Harry Angel and did he know who he was from the start or was he waiting to find out once Harry figured out who he was?
  • Satan: Makes an appearance.
  • Scare Chord: The soundtrack literally screams when Ethan's boiled corpse is found in the gumbo kettle.
  • Sexophone: Taking place in the neo-noir 1950s, the film's soundtrack consists of this.
  • Sex Signals Death: When Epiphany has sex with Angel, he starts strangling her. She is later murdered by the possessed Angel, who is revealed to be Johhny Favorite—who is also, by the way, HER FATHER—with a gun to her vagina.
  • Sexy Secretary: Harry's girlfriend Connie. Also the Hospital Hottie/secretary at the asylum.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: It turns out that Harry himself had been hired by the devil to condemn himself to hell.
  • Shout-Out: Several to Oedipus the King. Some more obvious than others. The entire story is basically a replay of the play's plot, particularly the detective who ultimately solves his own crime, and learns that you cannot escape fate. Cyphre's line, "How terrible is wisdom when it brings no profit to the wise," is a line from the play.
  • Significant Reference Date: In the movie, Johnny Favorite's birthday is the same as director Alan Parker's (February 14) which coincidentally is also ValentinesDay. In the book, it's June 2, the same as the birthday of author William Hjortsberg.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Played absolutely straight by Harry Angel. He even lights his matches in a badass way (striking it against a dead man's shoe!) Averted by Margaret, who tells Johnny not to light up in her apartment.
  • Southern Gothic Satan: The Trope Namer for Louis Cypher, who is well-dressed, urbane, polite, and considers self-damning souls to be the most fun to collect.
  • Split Personality: Harry and Johnny, due to a combination of Amnesiac Dissonance and Your Soul Is Mine!.
  • The Stinger: "Harry?" "Johnny?"
  • Suddenly Shouting: Harry tends to do this as he becomes more and more unhinged, such as exploding at Ethan, "THAT'S A CROCK OF SHIT! YOU'RE THE DEVIL WORSHIPPER!"
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: At the end when Cypher/Satan is telling the truth to Harry/Johnny, for a brief shot, his eyes change to yellow, at the point when he says that his soul belongs to him. A scene later, a baby is also seen with the same yellow eyes.
  • Surprise Incest: Harry has sex with Epiphany, who's Johnny's daughter. Turns out, Harry is Johnny.
  • Surreal Horror: Some places in the movie get rather like this, especially the infamous sex scene.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: During the sex scene with Epiphany, La Vern Barker's "Soul on Fire" is on the radio, starting with "Tom, Dick and Harry..." — then starts in with "setting my soul on fire."
  • The Teaser: The opening scene reveals a corpse in an alley. It sets up the tone of the movie but has no relevance for the actual plot.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Epiphany had her son at age 16. Harry comments that it's kind of young to have a kid; she replies it's old enough.
  • That Man Is Dead: Ethan tells Harry about Johnny, "As far as I'm concerned, that dance band scumbag is dead." Margaret tells Harry that Johnny is dead, and if he isn't, he's dead to her. Turns out both were just expressing wishful thinking.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Harold Angel is Johnny Favorite's assumed identity. Literally, since every time he looks in the mirror, he gets strange feelings. He even breaks a mirror at one point after seeing his reflection. This is actually pointed about by Louis.
    That's it Johnny, take a good look! However cleverly you sneak up on the mirror, your reflection always looks you straight in the eye.
  • Too Important to Walk: During a parade, the shady pastor John is being carried around in a sedan chair.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The film's trailer alone cannot go 30 seconds without giving away important plot elements.
  • Trespassing to Talk: Harry is snooping around Dr. Fowler house when the owner arrives. Harry decides to stick around and wait in the dark of the kitchen to surprise Fowler as he reaches for the morphine in the fridge.
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback: Harry's amnesia loosens up which leads to him having multiple flashbacks to the Tickertape Parade on the fateful night in New York.
  • Twist Ending: Harry Angel is Johnny Favorite. Every time Harry becomes the murderous Johnny, it's indicated by a fan stopping and rotating backwards, and the sound of a beating heart.
  • Uncertain Doom: The real Harry Angel's soul is in Hell, but is it stuck there because of Johnny's actions? Will he be liberated when Johnny's soul is captured?
  • Villain Protagonist: Since Harry is Johnny, he turns out to be this. He was an occultist who cut out a young man's heart to escape his Deal with the Devil. When he finally takes the elevator ride down to Hell he seems to fully accept his punishment.
  • Visual Pun: In one scene, Cyphre is eating an egg, and salts it. He spills some salt carelessly; Harry, without thinking, invokedpicks some up and throws it over his left shoulder.
  • Wham Shot:
    • All of the murders performed by Johnny Favorite after Harry interviews them.
    • Louis Cypher finally showing his Game Face after teasing Harry about his identity ("If I had cloven hooves and a tail, would you be more convinced?")
  • What Is Evil?: Ethan invokes the trope during his argument with Harry.
    Harry: Black magic.
    Ethan: (dismissively) Black, white, what difference does it make? (Beat) Margaret was always...
    Harry: Evil.
    Ethan: (Suddenly Shouting) Evil is a dunghill, Mr. Angel! Everyone gets on his own and speaks out about someone else's.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Harry's "thing" with chickens. After knowing the twist ending, it's possible that Harry is afraid of chickens because the blood of a dead chicken was used when Johnny Favorite traded places with him. Also, eggs are the symbol of the soul.
  • Your Costume Needs Work: Harry's first reaction to Louis claiming to be the Devil, saying that it might fool superstitious people like Margaret and Toots, but he wouldn't buy it.
    Louis: If I had cloven hooves and a tail would you be more convinced?
  • Your Soul Is Mine!: Turns out that Johnny Favorite did this rather gruesomely to the completely innocent Harry Angel to try and get out of his Deal with the Devil.

Harry...? Johnny...?

Alternative Title(s): Angel Heart