Angel Heart's premise, that of being unknowingly hired to be investigating yourself and discovering your own guilt, had been done before as early as the 1940's. But this particular execution was delightfully grim and chilling in a way that felt more original than most.
Perhaps best remembered at the time for its controversial sex scene, the unrelentingly bleak yet measured tone of this one made it unforgettable to me since I saw it as a kid. It scared me more than a lot of gorier or jump scare filled efforts of the 80's ever did. The underlying threat of damnation felt very real here. And because it doesn't quite feel like a supernatural themed film during much of its run time, I totally didn't see the ending coming.
It was even a little thought provoking. Seeing someone sell their soul to get success in media, getting what they wished for, and not so many years later seeing people barely able to remember their efforts, made me think about the folly of giving up too much of yourself and your decency for a dream of glory, when all glory is fleeting.