Spectacle | 124 South 3rd Street
SATANIS: THE DEVIL’S MASS
Dir. Ray Laurent, 1969
USA, 86 min.
“If you’re going to do something that is naughty, do it, and realize that you’re doing something naughty and enjoy it”
In 1969 Anton LaVey founded the Church of Satan and outlined the ideals of the Satanic church in a book he called “The Satanic Bible”. Anton LaVey borrowed rituals, ideology, and symbols from many religions and groups such as Voodoo, the Knights Templars, Norse mythology etc. He took up the image of the Devil because it signifies the antithesis of the restrictive behaviors imposed on society by various religions. The primary message of the Church of Satan is to live life to the fullest without the fear or guilt imposed by “traditional” religion.
The American public had a mixed reaction to the Church of Satan. To some the idea of a church that rejected the “traditional” moral code was a welcomed change of pace. To others, the very mention of the name Satan caused an instant dismissal of the ideas that LaVey was trying to convey and brought down immediate negative judgement. There were still others who saw the Church of Satan as a joke or a publicity stunt. Throughout the years the Church of Satan has become very well known around the world and has helped push Satanism into the mainstream. Unfortunately, a lot of the publicity that the church received throughout the years was in the form of sensationalist hype which for the sake of ratings avoided broadcasting the actual message of the Church of Satan (ex. Satanic Panic of the 1980s).
SATANIS is a documentary about the Church of Satan and its members. The film is comprised of a series of interviews with people both inside and outside of the Church of Satan. The film demystifies the image of the Church of Satan by portraying the organization as a group of individuals from various backgrounds and phases of life. Anton LaVey is interviewed at his home aka the Black House where he is both conducting rituals for the Church of Satan and trying to raise a family in 60s era San Francisco. One of the highlights of the documentary is that it captures a ritual that is performed by Anton LaVey in the Black House. The ritual scene is shot using absolutely fantastic colored lighting and is accompanied by organ music played by LaVey himself. SATANIS is a wonderful film because of all of the interesting viewpoints that it brings together. The members of the Church of Satan are inspiring and funny. The film is worth watching just to hear their stories.
Sat May 23, 2015 11:59 PM