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Batman (1989) - dir. Tim Burton

Many comic book characters extol Satanic virtues, but none so much as the Batman. Since Bob Kane created Batman in 1939, the character has become a worldwide icon representing justice, vengeance and order. As we see in his alter-ego of Bruce Wayne, Batman is a master of lesser magic. Who'd think the bumbling playboy Wayne could ever be the spirit of vengeance that haunts Gotham City? The character as he's been portrayed in recent years is also a tribute to self improvement. Batman is one "super" hero with no super powers whatsoever. Everything he's capable of is due to his focus on training in the skills needed to track down and eliminate his enemies. Add to that his dark aesthetics to his costume, weapons and that oh-so-cool car, he is truly the Satanic hero.

Tim Burton's Batman was the first movie in recent years to take Batman as a serious character. The tale revolves around the origin of the Joker, played to the hilt by Jack Nicholson. Batman, in a wonderfully surprising turn by Michael Keaton, is shown as the essential Dark Knight. The movie, while lacking a bit in the story department (city at risk, generic female is kidnapped, villain must be thwarted), is a wonderfully fun ride and an aesthetic pleasure to behold, even after all these years.

Tim Burton took great care in the set designs to create a science fiction noir environment full of beautiful gothic architecture and futuristic gadgets. The score is yet another turn of genius by the inimitable Danny Elfman. Even without the movie, Elfman's score stands on its own as one of the best ever written.

A classic in every sense of the word.

[- Warlock West]

Bell, Book and Candle (1958) - dir. Richard Quine

An underground society of Witches and Warlocks reside in the darkness of the Big Apple, congregating at a secret swank nightclub known as "The Zodiac." Stewart plays an unassuming publisher living in a posh apartment building just above a witch (Kim Novak) who takes a liking to the mortal, and thus casts a love spell on him, to which he is powerless to refuse, to his eventual delight. Bit by bit, to his initial disbelief, he begins to realize that these magical people are a reality, and together with an author (who himself was summoned from Acapulco by enchanted luminous paper, which strongly reminded Me of the immolation of the parchment), they begin to uncover this occult world of witchcraft, seduction, and intrigue.

Enjoyable scenes include the justified mental torture of Stewart's temporary fiancee,' with a combination of blasting horns, strobe lights, and a well-timed shriek by Novak's lokian warlock brother. And he is quite a character himself, primarily using his powers for flipping street lights on and off, changing traffic lights, and sexual conquests. It seems that because of her pretentious nature, she was also terrified by storms conjured by Novak in an art class, for being a critical lying sneak. All justified recourse. An author becomes wise to this secret society of witches and warlocks (yes, the film does make an appropriate distinction), thus, with the surprising cooperation from Novak's brother, decides to publish a book on the subculture, much to the chagrin of Novak, who was planning on marrying the mortal Stewart, even though it is allegedly against "witch policy" to do so. She fears that his knowledge of her true being would frighten him away.

A delightful film overall: the characters are cultured, the accounts about Witches and Warlocks are about 70% correct, which can be overlooked for the fictional plot, which is devoid of the demoralization process. I am sure that this film did in large part inspire the Bewitched series.

[- Draconis Blackthorne]

The Black Cat (1934) - dir. Edgar G. Ulmer [on CoS Video List]

A newlywed couple are on their way to a honeymoon when they meet a mysterious man on a train (Lugosi portrays Vitus Werdegast) who regales them with local tales of intrigue and superstition, weaving them in his spell all the while - who, unbeknownst to the honeymooners, is himself on his way to confront his arch-nemesis, whom once upon a time betrayed him, thus resulting in his unjust imprisonment. Eventually, they find themselves accompanying him to a mansion in the Austrian hillside where they meet with the elegant, though strange, Hjalmar Poelzig (Karloff). Poelzig turns out to be the High Priest of a Satanic group, who were just awaiting a suitable "sacrifice" for the night's rites - and they find her in the betrothed writer's wife.

The mansion itself is situated above a military fortress, and the Ritual Chamber is designed to gothic-modernist standards with sharp angles and shard-like projections which makes for quite an impressive spectacle. Nefarious situations begin manifesting when Lugosi is horrified by a sleek black cat who slinks into the room, at which he tosses a knife. Ironically, Lugosi plays a rather "VanHelsing"-like character who must battle the sinister minister Poelzig (said to have been partly modeled after Aleister Crowley, and that of German Schauerfilm architect, Hans Poelzig) for the life of the girl; Now, the Lugosi character would have probably included these two as part of his revenge, considering they were basically pawns in the overall scheme, though as demonstrated, he caresses her hair as she slept in remembrance of his deceased wife, which is why he rescinded. Eventually, his own dark side is displayed when he initiates a sadistic plan to skin his opponent while tied, crucifix-style.

The Black Cat featured the first-ever production in which horror giants Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff act together, and their rapport is quite engaging - the stage presence is tangible even through the screen. It was filmed in one of Frank Lloyd Wright's houses, which according to director Edgar G. Ulmer, contained an asylum's ambience. This film is more psychological in nature, with an elegant deportment which is most befitting; and according to Dr. LaVey, "The Black Cat and The Seventh Victim are certainly two pre-Church of Satan movies I would consider worthwhile examples of the way true Satanists behave.” I fully concur - for they are indeed exemplary in etiquette and aesthetics.

[- Draconis Blackthorne]

Blade Runner (1982) - dir. Ridley Scott [on CoS Video List]

The year is 2019 and the Tyrell Corporation has made great strides in the manufacturing of androids. The Nexus 6 Replicant is in almost every way identical to a human being but physically superior and having an intelligence level that rivals their human counterparts. They are the most advanced androids with a life-span of only four years and were created as slave labor for the off-world colonies. When a small group of combat Replicants mutiny at one such colony, all androids are declared illegal on Earth. A special unit of human police officers known as Blade Runners are the solution to what the humans perceive is a dangerous threat. Their orders are to shoot to kill -- or ‘retire ’ -- any Replicants found on the planet.

In this ‘future noir’ film, Harrison Ford is Richard Deckard, an ex-Blade Runner forced back into service to hunt down and ‘retire’ six fugitive Nexus 6 Replicants hiding somewhere in 21st century Los Angeles. At the Tyrell Corporation, Deckard meets a beautiful woman named Rachel (Sean Young) whom he discovers is a new type of Replicant. She is an experiment that is implanted with false memories causing her to believe that she is human. The Pygmalion-esque relationship that ensues is that of a classic hard-boiled cop falling for the femme fatale. This only causes complications as Deckard hunts down the fugitive androids one by one, ever being shadowed by a fellow police officer whose motives are shrouded in mystery.

There are obvious Satanic elements and concepts in this dark, sci-fi thriller -- from the trapezoidal ziggurat of the Tyrell Corporation, to the reclusive bioengineer who creates his own robotic friends, to the “more human than human” Replicants, and Deckard’s “forbidden” desire for Rachel. Most outstanding is the charismatic and extremely intelligent leader of the renegade androids, Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), who is nothing less than a biomechanical Lucifer. He has a very inquisitive mind and a strong desire for knowledge. Most important to him is his vital existence. He confronts his human creator Elrond Tyrell in the hopes that the lifespan of himself and his companions could be extended. Intent on being his own master, Batty fights tooth and claw for his cherished life and seeks freedom from slavery. His passion for life is so strong that he truly seems to be more human than the cold-blooded Blade Runner who is intent on denying him the chance to live.

Blade Runner is truly a Satanic gem and a great cinematic masterpiece. The special effects rival any CGI and the musical score by Vangelis is superb. Based on Philip Dick’s great novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” this dark, suspenseful, and thought-provoking film subtly raises questions about the value of our vital existence, what it means to be human, and challenges our perceptions and definitions of what is a living being and what is not. I also saw a reflection of our society’s dependence on technology, and the fears and ethical issues that surround the concept of the manufacturing of androids.

In his "Devil’s Notebook," Dr. LaVey wrote of the benefits and merits of the development and production of Artificial Human Companions. It was a goal he felt that we Satanists should try to achieve. With the advent of the Real Doll and new advancements in robot evolution, the world slowly moves closer to such a goal. Perhaps we will see Satanists at the forefront of such a revolutionary industry. In this movie, we see a Satanic vision realized, even if it’s only on celluloid for the moment.

[- Michael K. Silva]