The Devil character is an homage to Robert Wiene's character Dr. Caligari, and often mimics motions from Wiene's film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920).
The main character Prokofiev (and subsequently chosen title) is named after the composer Sergei Prokofiev, whose composition "Monatgues and Caplets" was an inspiration for the film and is also performed in the film the first time The Devil is seen.
Sergei Prokofiev, the initial inspiration for the film, was a Russian composer, who is known for writing the original score for Sergei M. Eisenstein's film Alexander Nevsky (1938).
In the first shot of The Dueling Table, if you look closely you can see Prokofiev's game piece fall over. This happened accidentally while shooting, and predicts the inevitable outcome of the game.
A challenging shoot, the film makers had a tough task - to do things wrong. In order to mimic the elementary techniques of early film makers, they used very little camera movement, well placed soft focus, and deliberate changes in exposure.
In another attempt to duplicate early film making techniques, the film makers shot on a hand cranked, spring loaded antique camera using a non-reflex lens. And used 16mm black and white film running at 16 frames per second.
The Devil, when he first appears and seems to be initially friendly, is on the right side of the screen. In all of his following scenes he is almost exclusively on the left side.
A "left" motif is prevalent throughout the film especially in regards to the Devil, who's single glove is on his left hand, and appears typically with objects or shadows heavily placed within the left side of the frame.
The appearances and disappearances of The Devil were written originally as happening by a puff of white smoke. Unfortunately, smoke "powder" which produces the traditional "puff" of rolling white smoke is illegal in California. The subsequent "cape wipe" replaced it.