Friday, March 20, 2009
Satanis: The Devil's Mass Review
Growing up the church I was going to would scare me by telling me that if I ever even opened the book of satan that I would be going to hell and damned forever. For a while I bought it hook line and sinker. However, I'm older now, and have gone through college and now I am a little smarter than my idiot 10 year old counterpart. So I have read the Book of Satan, and know all about Anton Levay and all the other cult leaders that have come and gone. I'm not really scared of them. However, there is a large number of the population that takes these things so serious that they won't even gaze upon the evil that lurks behind Channel X! Today we are going to review and try to understand a little piece of 70's cinema from Anton Levay called Satanis! So go get a hot beverage and sit down for a second and actually read a little about the Church of Satan....ooooh....scary.
Satanis: The Devil's Mass is a documentary film that was made in 1970 about none other than Anton Lavey. The video was part short film and part recruitment video for the Church of Satan and it is poorly done. It features interviews from Lavey, his followers, and intimate interiors of the church and ritual processes.
The film grain is understandable, this is 1970, but the editing is terrible and whoever was working the camera didn't seem to know what he was doing. We had some terrible movements and camera angles that were just intrusive more than documentary and really took you out of the picture, and that's not the intention, I'm sure.
The funniest part of this film, which I'm sure is unintentionally funny, is of Mormon missionaries talking about the Church of Satan. The reason why it is so funny to me is because the Church of Satan and the Church of Mormon have blood rituals that are similar in clothing, symbols and so much more. It's almost a parallel religion, only one influences a lot of culture while the other is comprised of goth kids, rejects and a few loose women.
The movie ends up being really boring and laughable at times, rather than scary or cult like. The people involved in the services don't even look like they want to be there, and outside of Lavey, this whole movie is just sad. The movie really doesn't go into the philosophy of the church or what the meanings of anything are, they just talk about random stuff and you start to feel that the idea for this film probably came after some drug usage or something, because there is no clear linear path being shown in this film.
The music is terrible. The credits for the music go to Anton Lavey, and that brings me to an interesting thought. Those of you that might be aware of "Satan" in regards to Christian doctrine, you might have heard that he was a "worship" leader in heaven. If that is the case, then why in the world does Anton Lavey (who is suppose to be closest to Satan) have the worst taste in music? Seriously, the sounds of the film really are terrible and dated even for 1970, and I'm not sure why anyone would like it. I mean, I've heard goth music, I've heard deicide and all sorts of "satanic" music, but Lavey's score in this film really is the worst thing I've heard in any film, ever.
There is an interview from a Christian priest, and he really puts the nail into the coffin of my review. He basically says that Lavey is only trying to seek attention in turn doing the opposite of Christianity. I argue that if Satanism is the opposite of Christianity, then you have to be an expert on Christian theology, practice, and beliefs or else how are you going to know how to be opposite? Therefore making this film the most unintentionally hilarious film I've ever seen.
Is Satanis Scary?: NO. This film is laughable. This film might have been scary to some Christians that misunderstood the Church of Satan and were afraid to talk to Lavey or even consider what his message truly was. I don't find this movie offensive, I just find it hilarious that so many people to this day are afraid of knowing anything about Satan, Satanis, Lavey and dare I even mention Marilyn Manson? Why can't we as people, believers and non believers stand up and stop being scared?
This film is hilarious, not scary. It is in the horror section of many movie stores, simply on the notion that Lavey was a scary dude, I mean millions are legitimately scared of "Satan". As a believer, I'm not scared. However, this film makes me laugh even more at the thought of someone trying to seek that "do what thou wilt" mentality, when it obviously only segregates you from everyone else, including your own people! Then again, Twilight was a huge hit, so maybe I'm wrong.
Watch Satanis on dvd, just for the fact that it is suppose to be the epitome of evil. It's not scary as much as it is gross, funny, and irrelevant today and probably forever. One thing that Satanis has going for it, is the fact that it is a documentary so the things you see are real. Now compare those to the horror movies we traditionally watch, and you'll see where a lot of directors got their ideas from.
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