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Satanis: The Devil's Mass - Something Weird Video - DVD Print E-mail
User Rating: / 2
Written by Jay Creepy   
Saturday, 25 June 2016


A.K.A.: Succubus

Directed by: Ray Laurent
Produced by: Ray Laurent
Cinematography by: Richard Eisman, Carlon Tanner
Editing by: Sean Kirk
Music by: Anton LaVey
Cast: Anton LaVey, Diane LaVey.
Year: 1970
Country: USA
Language: English
Runtime: 1hr 26mins

Distributor: Something Weird Video

You have to love Something Weird Video.They have tirelessly released hundreds of rare and forgotten (a few are justified as forgotten) films and oddball bits over the years. What you find is they will give you a main feature, then slap a couple more movies on afterwards as a side B and side C. Then wet-willy you with some documentaries and trailers to make you beg for more.

So it was with great relish I watched Satanis: The Devil’s Mass, because I've read books on and by Anton Szandor LaVey in my younger years but have never got around to watching anything (can we count brief appearances in other documentaries or a The Devil's Rain cameo?) Author, circus man, and much more. How much can a documentary filmed at the peak of the Church of Satan capture of the bloke and his reasons?

“He has completely sold his soul to the devil!” says one woman upon the opening of this film. This is a colourful (all bright red and green lights) documentary on the Church of Satan which attracted many Hollywood stars and people who sought new wisdom and freedoms. As an organ plays, we witness masks and a nude woman across an altar. This is extremely straight faced and grabs your interest. The master of ceremony gives the names of Lucifer, then the congregation say in unison: “Hail Satan!” Anton steps up to pass a chalice and list many more names. Afterwards he says; “That's it for that part.”

“It occurred to me many years ago there was a large grey area between psychiatry and religion. No religion has ever been based on man's carnal needs.” Anton doesn't like how many religions base their hold on the followers through fear. The C.O.S are more honest and believe man should be true to himself to be true to others.

“I don't know what kind of man he is.” says a neighbour who describes how softly spoken and seemingly decent he is. Another neighbour doesn't like him. He complains about the rundown property and the “undesirable.” Anton sums up, with amusement; “If you're going to do something naughty then do it! And enjoy it!”

Satanis: The Devil’s Mass switches from rituals, interviews and shots of this and that throughout. “There are women without clothes, naked!” says an accented lady. “The men are all covered in black.” We hear from a vicar who waxes lyrical about the history of good versus evil and how the C.O.S is not a church! Anton then explains the freedom upon himself and the church followers. Some people say it's his right so good on him. Others condemn him. Either way, Mr. LaVey isn't dull and attracts attention. He smiles when folks say the C.O.S cannot love, only hate. As far as sexual things, so long as nobody who is unwilling gets hurt, fetishes should be explored. An older member of the congregation states blatantly that no one gets forced to join or forced to do anything. No member makes fun of anyone and they accept everyone if they wish to join regardless of sexual preference or race. Their point is to enjoy life whilst on Earth and not fear the next life, ask questions and explore everything.

The gang are a great bunch actually. They are very intelligent and some are bubbly. They all believe in God but enjoy a freedom not given by other religions based on 'hypocrisy'. More rituals follow, including a man dressed in a Pope's hat having his ass whipped whilst LaVey reads aloud. Then the beaten bloke receives cuddles in a casket. They apparently modernise and vary ancient voodoo and Templar rituals and rites. One particular section which is based around voodoo drags for around six minutes and depresses the viewer. He goes quite in-depth about the situations regarding animal sacrifices. He adores animals and does not feel any such 'Satanist' is a true one if they do that.

Elsewhere we see his collection of circus posters and paintings, plus an awesome tombstone used as a coffee table. Then they all chat about masturbation which raises a lot of giggles.

Satanis: The Devil’s Mass is a great insight into an era set in San Francisco where anything could happen. I suppose it isn't a fair balance -- those against the movement come over as angry sour and prudish shitheads. Well, maybe they all were.

“He is purely for publicity!” The C.O.S is accused of being there for cash. Anton compares this to money spent building cathedrals, and explains how the C.O.S gives to its people. A younger man states that since at that time, the Church of Satan had 6,000 members. That is a small group against millions. How can they be a threat? The final ritual reminded me of the Dennis Wheatley novel, The Satanist, as followers step forward to speak their desires and have them granted.

Ray Laurent worked on such obscure titles as Body Fever and Sappho Darling. This was the only film he directed. It's a rough but commendable effort. It is bouncy subject matter as this doesn't need Hollywood purity, to be honest. The low budget adds to it.

Side B of this affair is called Sinthia: The Devil's Doll. It is perhaps one of the most brilliantly directionless mash-ups we've ever seen -- and I've put my poor Horror Soulmate through some pretty mental flicks. It's all arty, psychedelic, sex, nudity, music, it's all “Daddy! Daddy! Why Daddy?” and dream-like. What story attempts to exist involves Cynthia, a young girl who loves her Dad so much that she stabs him and her Mum when she finds them making the beat with two backs, then burns the family home down. Shula Roan plays the part fairly well but doesn't seem to have been in any other flicks, unlike most of the cast who have a decent CV. Saying that, having a confused script probably didn't help her career.

Coffin Joe Technicolor nightmares invade -- all faces, nudes, echoes, whipping, dances and a guy who looks like Emilio Estevez, these are her dreams. Far out. Mix Jean Rollin with Alejandro Jodorowsky (minus human oddities) and you're not close. Amid red-faced men attacking on beaches, tarot, slow motion dances in forests and much more, this movie seemed to be made for one audience, freaked out hippies hanging out late night on 42nd Street. My Horror Soulmate said; “I like this. It's wacked out and out of it!” Is it a film about overcoming trauma? Or an experiment in psychedelic visions? “The Devil is living in my brain!!” screams Cynthia at one point.

“In England today, there are more than five hundred registered organisations who practice black magic!” narrates George Sanders as a short extra documentary begins about Satanism in the 70s UK. Well, Dunsmore to be specific. It uses obvious actors, but it's all fun. So is the second extra, My Tale is Hot -- what the F is that about???!! Then the standard trailers inspired by the features and a load of crazy as hell stills from sexploitation gems. Yep, SWV are cool.

Satanis: The Devil’s Mass is recommended but as a documentary it doesn't really teach you much, other than the views of a group of people and a few who don't like them. It's okay to view if you go in not hoping for an epic. (Satanis is so named after a DC comic character). As for the second film... blimey!!!!



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 Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
 Region: NTSC R1
 Audio: Dolby Digital Mono

 – Sinthia: The Devil's Doll
 – Satanic Trailers
 – British Black Mass Documentary
 – My Tale Is Hot, Short film
 – Sex Ritual of the Occult featurette
 – Sexploitation Stills

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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

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