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Pop culture's top five demon hunters

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Demons are bad news. They're powerful, usually immortal -- or damn close -- and almost invariably pure, undiluted evil. When you've got demon problems, you've got serious problems. And when that happens, who are you going to call? Not the Ghostbusters. Yeah, they did best a demon or two, but they almost leveled New York in the process. Too risky. No, you want someone who deals with demons as a matter of course, someone who can take them down without risking total annihilation via some shoddy backpack nuclear reactors. You need a demon hunter.

This Thursday, September 26, Littleton's Alamo Drafthouse is hosting a one-day showing of Blue Exorcist: The Movie, the big-screen followup to the popular anime series. The film depicts the work of two demon-hunting brothers -- one of them half-demon himself -- working to save their home from an invasion of demonic hordes, a mission we can all get behind (well, all of us except the demons, anyway). To get psyched up for the event, we've compiled this list of pop culture's five most badass demon hunters.

See also: The six best onscreen pairings of robots and the apocalypse

5) Hellboy from the Hellboy comics and films. Hellboy, in his role as the "World's Greatest Paranormal Investigator," has faced all sorts of supernatural beasties, from vampires to weird cosmic monstrosities, demons included. It helps that he's a demon himself, which gives him all sorts of nifty powers and makes him nigh unkillable. Pretty handy traits to have in a demon hunter, right?

4) Buffy Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer Just because Buffy has "vampire slayer" right there in her name/title doesn't mean she can't handle some demons. After all, when you're the "chosen one" in charge of protecting a town that sits atop a Hellmouth, you can't afford to be picky about what kind of monsters you fight, and Buffy never was. While she wasn't unkillable, she was more than a match for most of the demons she met, outsmarting and out-asskicking them as the circumstances dictated. Plus, she always looked great doing it, and style points count double in the realm of demon hunting.

3) Winchester brothers from Supernatural The Winchester brothers have yet to meet a supernatural foe they can't handle, and you bet your ass that includes demons. Sure, it helps that they've been trained since childhood in the ways of monster killing and that they're both chosen by prophecy to save/end the world, but still, their track record against demonic forces is damned impressive. Early on they were limited to exorcising the pesky things, but eventually they came into possession of a knife and a gun capable of dispatching the foul creatures, and man, did they ever dispatch. They also managed to look pretty damn dreamy while doing it, leading to all sorts of disturbing Supernatural slashfic.

2) Jubei from Ninja Scroll Question: What's even better than a demon hunter? Answer: A demon hunter that's also a goddamn ninja, and if you've got demon problems, Jubei Kibagami is definitely your ninja. In the anime classic Ninja Scroll, Jubei manages to make short work of eight demonic ninjas, which has to be some sort of demon-ninja record. Sometimes, all you need is a sword and a plan. As long as you're a ninja, anyway -- the rest of us probably need a lot more than that.

1) Ash from the Evil Dead series Unlike the rest of our demon-hunting crew, Ash is nobody special. He's not a ninja, nor a demon, nor some prophesied savior. Nope, just a guy with a shitty job at a discount superstore and the bad luck to run into demons every goddamned place he goes. He perseveres, however, putting the damned down with whatever is at hand -- a shotgun, a chainsaw, or even ancient incantations, when he can remember them properly (dude, it's "klaatu barada nikto," for fuck's sake). For that, he earns the top spot on the list -- hail to the king, baby.

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