(1989) - dir. Tim Burton
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
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]
Book and Candle (1958) - dir. Richard Quine
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,
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
[- Draconis Blackthorne]
Black Cat (1934) - dir. Edgar G. Ulmer [on
CoS Video List]
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]
Runner (1982) - dir. Ridley Scott [on CoS
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
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]