(1968) - dir. Ray Laurent
[on CoS Video List]
documentary contains reactions of Magus LaVey’s neighbors
to the formation of The Church of Satan, and some of The Church
of Satan’s first recorded Satanic Rituals performed by Magus
LaVey. Satanis allows the viewer to see
the initial reaction of individuals living in San Francisco during
the time of these historical events, and with only a few complaints
from a Catholic priest and two Mormons, which would be expected,
many accept LaVey’s right to form an above-ground organization
founded on Man’s Carnal nature. Many neighbors talk
about how polite LaVey is in person, yet they do not
fully understand why he has started this organization. A
few of these neighbors only know what they were told about Satanists
from Christian sources -- thinking this group of individuals worship a
deity -- and they have some 'classic' replies.
great part of this film is the chance to see Magus LaVey
speak on his reasons for creating The Church of Satan, and discussing the
philosophy of Satanism. But not only do you get to hear Magus
LaVey speak about this religion, but you also are shown early
performances of Satanic Rituals held in the infamous Black House.
These ritual clips show just how a Satanic Ritual might be performed
in a group setting, and how to set the atmosphere in the ritual
chamber using lights, sounds, and objects to build and release
one’s emotions. Some of my personal favorite parts are during
one of LaVey’s discussions he mentions, “If you’re
gonna sin, be the best sinner on the block...” It offers
great insight on a Satanist’s way of life; if you’re
going to do something, then do it to the best of your abilities. And
I think that is one of many lines that draw the differences between
your average Joe doing the bare minimum to get by and the Satanist
doing it to the best of his/her ability.
favorite is the disgruntled elderly man talking about LaVey’s
‘up-keep’ on the house. He hardly cares that Satanists
gather there and perform rituals -- he’s just pissed off
that he has to pick up shingles from his yard that has blown over
from the Black House.
suggest this video to anyone that has never seen Magus LaVey speak
on video or audio. It is a ‘must-have’ for any
collector of LaVey’s work.
[- Stephen L. Ness Jr.]
(1932) - dir. Howard Hawks
[on CoS Video List]
Scarface begins with a reigning crime-lord about
to meet his demise. Louis Costillo is chatting with his buddies.
He has just thrown a huge party for all of his men, and he’s
comfortable with his status, content with his accomplishments.
His only remaining ambition is to throw a party larger than the
But outside, a broad-shouldered, shadowy figure whistles his way
toward the club. It is Tony Camonte, a ruthless hood who is not
content with the present hierarchy. In a dog-eat-dog world, he
is a much hungrier animal than the satisfied, drunken crime-lord
he has come to kill. He is taking steps to achieve his own daybreak,
and run the bootlegging business according to his own standards.
Scarface, like so many Satanic films, is noteworthy
for its positive portrayal of its villain. Paul Muni plays Camonte
as ruthless and impulsive, yet charming and tragic. You feel warmth
for him when he boyishly attempts to flatter a woman, and you
laugh at him when he is impressed by expensive things.
The film was sold to '30s audiences on the premise that it was
an expose on the depravity of organized crime, and an indictment
of government corruption. It is based on the criminal life of
Al Capone. However, Muni’s performance as Camonte is so
entertaining that we forget to disapprove of his actions. Policemen
and newspaper editors play their predictable parts, reminding
us of the evils of gangsterism. Yet Camonte steals the show with
his irreverence toward authority and abundant enthusiasm for life.
When a policeman threatens to beat him during an interrogation,
he blithely remarks, “This fellow’s got ideas I don’t
like.” When he acquires his first tommy-gun (also known
as a “Chicago Typewriter”), he shouts ecstatically,
“I’m going to write my name all over the town in big
Amidst all his human strengths and flaws, Camonte personifies
several virtues championed by Satanism. He practices self-reliance,
and stresses the importance of taking initiative. He says to his
buddy Guino Rinaldo, “In this business there’s only
one law you gotta follow to keep out of trouble. Do it first.
Do it yourself. And keep on doing it.”
Camonte knows that might determines right. When his boss tries
to order him to stay out of the North Side, Camonte fires back,
“There’s only one thing that gives orders and gets
’em, and that’s this,” pointing to his gun.
He understands there are no rules except for those set by the
strong, for everyone else to follow. Camonte doesn’t cloud
his mind with ideals. Instead, he pragmatically operates within
his milieu. If his city is corrupt, the ambitious entrepreneur
Scriptwriter Ben Hecht was a Chicago reporter in the teens and
early 1920s, and had met several Chicago gangsters during this
time, as well as lawyers, judges and policemen. His familiarity
with rampant corruption no doubt aided him in conceiving the Scarface
script. The film’s violence shocked audiences of its day.
Instead of framing itself within a structure of Judeo-Christian
morality, Hecht’s script borrows its plot points from Greek
tragedy. Camonte’s ambition compels him to defy his boss
Johnny Lovo, to do business on another gang’s territory,
to control his sister’s social life, and to pursue Lovo’s
girlfriend. These actions all come back to haunt him. His sin
is not so much murder or greed, but counterproductive pride. He
lacks self-discipline, and hence burns his bridges.
Camonte’s great indulgence ends in a spray of cops’
bullets. Cowardly attempting to evade the authorities, he falls,
pathetically, into Chicago’s gutter, a victim of his own
unchecked thirst for power.
Fun facts: the opening scene of the film, in which Camonte kills
Louis Costillo, takes place on 22nd street, on the South Side
of Chicago. 22nd street was later renamed Cermak Street, after
Chicago’s mayor Anton Cermak. Cermak had been voted mayor
in 1931, and had gained votes by promising to clean up organized
crime (The previous mayor hadn’t done anything to stop organized
crime). In 1932, Scarface was released, and in
1933, Cermak was assassinated while shaking hands with president-elect
Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Martin Scorcese’s Oscar-winning film The Departed is a testament
to the sustaining significance of Scarface. Scorcese
pays homage to Scarface in two ways. One way
is by placing X’s in the background of many shots. X’s
were placed in the shots of Scarface to signify
an impending death. Also, there’s a scene in The Departed
in which Frank Costello attends the opera. He’s watching
“Lucia Di Lammermoor.” In Scarface,
the melody Camonte whistles before he kills a person is taken
from this opera.
[- Miles Jacobsen]
Faces of Dr. Lao (1964) - dir. George Pal
we have a tale about a sleepy, little town of Abalone, Arizona.
It is a town made up of greedy, small-minded, petty people who
are boring and uncultured. They are faced with the offer to sell
the whole town to a conniving -- and greedier -- rich man named
Charles Stark, who has plans for Abalone that don’t include
them. But, strange things begin to happen when a little, old Chinese
man on a donkey with a fishbowl on its saddle rides into town.
His name is Dr. Lao. His mysterious traveling circus will change
the lives of all who venture beyond the flaps of the circus tent.
Ultimately, this film is a satire that exposes the foibles of
the human animal. Tony Randall plays Dr. Lao and six other characters.
The magical Dr. Lao is a fairly Lokian character. He bears with
him profound lessons, secular wisdom, and many mysteries and secrets
-- all of which are revealed through the various characters he
portrays in his strange circus. He is a master of illusion and
a trickster. He seems to know the dark, hidden truths of the citizenry
and of all humanity. As the fortune teller, Appollonius of Tyana,
Dr. Lao stoically shatters the delusions of Mrs. Cassan -- an
ignorant, flirtatious old woman. He holds up the mirror of truth
to her banality and pettiness -- reflecting back to her what she
refuses to believe and admit to herself. As Pan, Lao lets loose
the dark, lustful desires hidden deep within a beautiful librarian
named Angela Benedict (Barbara Eden). In the guise of a giant
snake, he mockingly exposes Stark’s insecurities. As Medusa,
he teaches a rude fat woman named Kate a deadly lesson, much to
the horror of the townsfolk and Kate’s weak, timid husband
Luther. Dr. Lao also takes on the guise of the Abominable Snowman
and Merlin the Magician.
With much wisdom to impart, Dr. Lao views his mysterious and magical
circus as a mirror that reflects the mysteries and realities of
the world and life. He exposes the vileness, pettiness, ignorance,
and greed of Abalone’s citizens. He manipulates and alters
situations to enlighten the townsfolk or provoke change, often
in funny and/or brutally truthful ways. Above all, life to him
is a circus. Life to him is magical in itself and should be enjoyed,
but with unclouded eyes and a wise mind. I find the little Chinese
magician to be very much like Satan in many ways. For he views
life and the world from a perspective that could be seen as the
“third side.” He sees what lurks in the darkness of
human nature and the human mind and believes in understanding
what lies hidden within.
Replete with stereotypes and politically incorrect humor, I thought
it to be an enjoyable film with subtle Satanic elements that become
a little more obvious as the story unfolds. Though it was based
on Charles Finney’s novel, Circus of Dr. Lao, it is quite
different from the book, yet it still retains much of the wisdom
and profound lessons of that wonderful tome. At first, children
seem to be the targeted audience. But as the film goes on, there
is much that surfaces that only adults can understand. Tony Randall
did a great job at portraying a very likable and humorous character
[- Michael K. Silva]
City (2005) - dir. Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez
In a city of complete and utter corruption, a few low-down characters
fight to maintain their sensitivity, their scarred romanticism,
and some semblance of a sense of true justice. Loyalty is something
bought and sold, love is a tool for manipulating others, greed
is the air you breathe, and power is achieved only through deception.
The only possible form of justice in Sin City is personal justice.
Based directly on the Sin City comic books by Frank Miller, and
directed by Miller and Robert Rodriguez, Sin City
is a comic book film. Although it is not purely film noir, it
borrows many elements from crime films of the Forties and Fifties,
as well as the work of Raymond Chandler and Ross McDonald.
There are several aspects of Sin City that film
noir buffs will cherish. All of the individual stories in Sin
City come straight out of the film noir canon. Marv,
a hardened low-life with a soft spot for dames, dedicates himself
to avenging the death of the only woman who ever showed any kindness
and tenderness toward him, even after he finds out she was a hooker…
Hartigan, one of the few cops in Sin City that possess a conscience,
is on the brink of retirement when he receives a tip that the
Senator’s son has just kidnapped another 12-year-old girl…
A waitress is harassed by an abusive ex-boyfriend, and her new
boyfriend swears to “take care” of the pest for her.
Aesthetically, Sin City both adheres to and deviates
from the film noir tradition. For example, the visual hallmark
of film noir is a stark contrast between the darks and the lights.
Sin City stays true to this dramatic chiaroscuro. There are very
few grays between the blacks and whites, reminiscent of The Cabinet
of Dr. Caligari. However, unlike German expressionism and film
noir, the digitized images in Sin City are so
clear, the resolution so high, that you are constantly reminded
that this is the digital age. It just has a feeling of artifice,
which distracts from the “grittiness” of the genre.
A caveat is hereby given to the aficionados of the Silver Screen.
A major deviation from traditional film noir is the film’s
editing. Sin City’s editing conforms to
the present-day style, which resembles the fast pace seen in music
videos. Sometimes there are several cuts within what could be
a single shot (during a character’s monologue, for example).
Fans of traditional film noir will probably miss the longer takes,
and feel that the rapid cutting is often disorienting and distracts
from the story. You may yearn for the 10-second close ups on the
characters’ faces, introspective and wistful, staring out
at the world, bewildered by its chaos and corruption, perhaps
disturbed by their own role in it.
There are a couple major characteristics of the film that reminds
you that it is, at heart, a comic book. One, it has all the fantastic
action and extreme violence that is the standard of the testosterone-driven
pulp art. When Marv is pursued by cops, he jumps through the windshield,
knocks out the officers, and tosses them out of the vehicle like
they were Sunday morning papers being delivered.
Aside from the over-the-top action, there is a strong, albeit
usually subtle, degree of camp humor saturating the entire film.
This is probably done because the film was made for people who
are uncomfortable watching the movies their grandparents enjoyed.
Today’s audiences feel alienated by the absence of vulgarity
in older films like the original Scarface, or Double Indemnity.
Jokes and innuendos that are comparatively innocent by today’s
standards actually make some people more uncomfortable than do
the generic curse words. Unfortunately, this is also the case
with some of the actors and actresses in Sin City.
They clearly have difficulty saying these archaic epithets (“son-of-a-bitch,”
“bastard,” “dames,” and “broads”)
in a simple, straightforward manner. And there’s also the
obvious fact that pretty boy Josh Hartnett simply can’t
light a woman’s cigarette with the same balance of authority
and tenderness that Bogart could.
It makes sense that when the spirit of film noir reappears in
today’s film industry, it comes to us through the filter
of the comic book aesthetic. Despite the aforementioned “un-noir”
features, the Satanic flames are kept burning in this 21st century
urban jungle tale. Every major character is an anti-hero. The
good guys are bad, and bad guys are good. And there is plenty
of politically incorrect humor to be enjoyed by those who dodge
society’s stifling mores. Oh, and did I mention there are
several great ass shots?
[- Miles Jacobsen]
of the Devil (1993) - dir. Nick Bougas
"Don't be afraid. This is not a recruitment film for Satanism.
You're either a real Satanist, a TRUE Satanist or you're not.
And if you are... you were born that way."
With those opening words begins one of the most interesting and
important documentaries on Satanism to ever hit video. Speak
of the Devil is both Satanic primer for the uninitiated
and, as the title states, canon for those who already think they
know it all. It's a great collection of sit down interviews with
the late Dr. LaVey (conducted by Adam Parfrey of Feral House Publishing)
intertwined with pop-culture references from throughout history
including clips of noir movies, the silent film ‘Haxan’
and an entire episode of a lost television show titled "Brother
Buzz" that shows a pre-CoS LaVey and his then cub Togare.
The flow and layout of Speak of the Devil is
beautiful. It begins with a section titled "What is Satanism?"
that has a roaming cameraman asking random folks on the street
what they think of Satanism. It's amusing and educational at once.
This leads into a collection of talk show clips from the mid-'80s
during the fabled "Satanic Panic" including the inevitable
Geraldo segment and finally leads into a piece on Dr. LaVey refuting
the claims of the misinformed media.
Next, we segue into the aforementioned "Brother Buzz"
episode. This is a fun romp into history as seen through the eyes
and narration of Anton LaVey's pet Nubian lion Togare. It shows
us a glimpse at LaVey and family before the Church of Satan. We
get a brief look inside the Black House including a few great
hidden passages and paintings. This segment is just plain fun
in bits as we get to see Dr. LaVey (with hair, mind you!) on a
hilarious trip to the grocery store with Togare in tow... or vice
versa depending on who you think is leading.
After the fun intro material, we get to the meat of the video.
The next few sections are sit down interviews with the founder
of Satanism as he discusses the history of the philosophy. We
find the importance of humor and the Johnson Smith Catalog in
the "roots of Devilry." We get a deeper look into the
Black House including the legendary 'Den of Iniquity' where LaVey
gives his account of the creation of his Artificial Human Companions
and their relation to Satanism. We get a great segment inside
the music room where we see some nice paintings and get to hear
LaVey playing his long lost style of music. We look inside the
Ritual Chamber and the Library, where LaVey states his inspiration
in literary characters including Batman, The Shadow and the Sea
The video closes with a few brief words on the religion from Satanic
luminaries including Blanche Barton, Magister Diabolus Rex, Boyd
Rice and current High Priest Peter H. Gilmore.
If this video consisted on the interviews alone, it'd be worth
the price of admission. As it stands, it's a priceless addition
to any Satanist's video library.
[- Warlock West]
(1994) - dir. Roland Emmerich
a slave-dominated world it is a rare treat to find a film with
a solid plot, believable characters, realism and good music which
is totally pro-Satanist. Stargate is all of these.
following my viewing this show at a nearby theater, I went into
a music store to try and purchase the CD, which, of course, was
not there. (Earth technology!) I mentioned what I was looking
for to the young clerk and she asked me if Stargate
was something like the "Star Trek" films. "Nothing
like that crap," I spat out, quite astonished at the strength
of my feeling.
next day I read a review of Stargate in the local
newspaper. The reviewer felt it was a banal return to the science
fiction "trash" of the forties, had only stereotyped
characters, and overtones of white imperialist supremacy. I quickly
checked the newspaper banner to be sure it wasn't "Pravda"
I was reading. It wasn't and I tossed it in the garbage. In the
two weeks which followed, the success of the film has been demonstrated
at the box office, not in the reviewers' fantasies.
characters in Stargate are the kind of people
I have personally known and worked with. The hard-bitten military
professionals, the creative, slightly pre-occupied young scholar,
these are real people I have known -- not just stereotypes. In
fact the second time I went to see the film, I took just that
kind of person with me, a police officer friend who, in his spare
time, creates neural networks to pick stocks on his super-Pentium
computer for the fun of it. And, yes, he also identified with
apart from my disgust toward the newspaper idiots who condemn
known reality as fantasy, there is the treatment of life in this
film which is unmistakable and positive. For example, the hero
does not hesitate to use an alien technology to beat death by
restoring his wife to life. In most any other film, that alone
would be condemned as "horrible" or "evil."
The source of this alien technology, the alien himself, addressed
the issue of why he chose to inhabit a human body (to extend his
own life) by saying, "The human body is so easy to repair."
What a breath of fresh air to even consider this idea as a possibility!
What a difference from the anti-life themes of most modern science
fiction swill like Star Trek where anyone desiring physical immortality
is considered criminal or worse.
this is a film about humanity throwing off the slavery of god-worship.
The treatment of religion and the worship of superior beings is,
for once, condemned in favor of the human! The alien, who posed
as Ra, the ancient Egyptian sun god, has kept a group of humans
on this distant world ignorant of their history and heritage by
forbidding reading or writing. When our scholarly hero upset this
balance through discovery and communication, the masses revolted
against the great Ra, throwing down their gods, rising as atheists
who had pride and, for the first time in centuries, hope. I'm
sure the pseudo-Satanists wearing their Laurel and Hardy "Sons
of the Desert" Egyptoid gear will fully identify with the
despot Ra but the real Satanists in the audience will recognize
that the rebels who slay Ra are just like us -- real Satanists
seeking personal freedom over god-worship, death before slavery!
there is my wife who will always find a flaw in the plot of continuity
of any film as a game. Neither she nor I could find such a flaw.
This film is a seamless tale with attention to detail which I
found striking and moving. I wholeheartedly recommend any Satanist
seeing Stargate. What a pleasure to see our values
promoted internationally in such an elegant and powerful medium.
(1931) - dir. Archie Mayo
[on CoS Video List]
1894, Englishman, George Du Maurier, published a novel named Trilby,
which became a bestseller. It was a novel about a hypnotist and
his obsessive love for and eventual enslavement of a girl named
Trilby. But, it wasn’t until this fantastic 1931 cinematic
interpretation of Du Maurier’s compelling tale that the
term "svengali" gained popularity in our lexicon to
mean “evil mentor,” as stated on the back of the DVD
In this very short, but nonetheless captivating, cinematic tale
based on Du Maurier’s successful novel, actor John Barrymore
is Maestro Svengali, a virtuoso and piano teacher who barely makes
enough to survive in late 19th century Paris. With features that
resemble Rasputin’s, he is a tall, unwashed and lanky figure
with deep-set, piercing eyes; long, black, disheveled hair; pointed
Luciferian beard, and dark, filthy clothes. We find him in the
opening scene playing a piano very passionately in his squalid
apartment. Here is where we first get a glimpse of his mysterious,
hypnotic power as Madam Honori, a student of his, comes to visit
to tell the maestro that she has left her husband to be with him
instead. Discovering that she has left with no money for herself,
Maestro Svengali cruelly turns on her, enthralling her with his
hypnotic gaze and causing her to flee into the night, horrified
and screaming. She is found dead the next morning, drowned in
the river, and considered a suicide.
During a visit with a pair painter friends who play a joke on
him and leave him alone in their apartment, the poor virtuoso
meets a beautiful, young, blonde milkmaid named Trilby O’Farrell.
She has come to visit the painters to offer herself as a model,
only to find Svengali instead. During their brief encounter, Svengali
discovers that she has a lovely singing voice and becomes enamored
by her beauty and talent. After he departs, Trilby then meets
a handsome, young English painter named Billee who also comes
to visit the painters. She eventually falls in love with Billee
and later promises to marry him.
Svengali later returns to visit Trilby, and the three painters.
He wishes to speak to Trilby about her singing voice, and the
beautiful model complains of a headache. Using the power of hypnosis,
Svengali cures her. But, he also wickedly seizes this opportunity
to impose his will upon her. Up until this point, Svengali appeared
to be nothing more than a poor, struggling piano teacher, almost
pauper-like with only one previous instance that alluded to his
diabolical power and nature. Satanists will delight in the scene
that follows as it is one which finds Svengali standing sinisterly
at his open window, his dark eyes wicked and opaque. He sends
his will out into the night, across the sleeping city, and into
Trilby’s subconscious. She responds by coming to him in
the early morning hours, resulting in her leaving Billee.
What later unfolds is Maestro Svengali suddenly reaching the height
of fame as a brilliant composer, with Trilby as his cherished
songbird. She is now under his hypnotic spell, which he hopes
will make her love him. Unfortunately, the only time that his
lovely student -- now his wife -- can sing is while she is under
this same hypnotic trance.
Satanists will find this movie to be entertaining on many levels.
The most prominent aspect of the film that is immediately noticeable
is the “command to look,” mentioned in The Satanic
Bible on pg. 111. The other is the aforementioned scene of Svengali
sending his will out into the ethers. Both are fine examples of
Lesser Magic. Also of interest is the employment of Caligarian
angles akin to the German expressionistic films of the 1920s,
which many Satanists find aesthetically pleasing and powerful.
And there are others, such as the relationship between master
What makes this film entertaining is its use of humor, subtle
elements of horror, and a sense of romantic tragedy, well blended
to forge a finely crafted tale. Overall, this is a dark and tragic
tale of a self-centered man who yearns for a love that he cannot
have, but will employ almost any means necessary to capture that
love. Svengali is driven by ambition and his passionate lust for
young Trilby. While his hypnotic possession of her is very sinister,
he is not really an overtly cruel man. Though, many people who’ve
seen the film equate his intentions and employment of very unconventional
means to achieve his goals with acts of evil. In the character
of Svengali, we see his “satanic sadness” -- a term
Dr. LaVey used when he spoke of actor, Erich Von Stroheim, in
The Secret Life of a Satanist, pg. 151. We also see Svengali’s
very real human nature, which he never tries to hide. He pursues
his love the way an animal might pursue its prey: with a single
desire and purpose. The maestro is first viewed by his so-called
friends as an object of ridicule. Later, he is considered a dangerous
man because his hypnotic powers are viewed with condemnation and
mistrust. Though his diabolical, abrasive nature may infuriate
those around him, he makes no apologies for who he is. Nor does
he deceive himself into believing that Trilby really loves him.
There have been other versions (remakes) of this film, but research
has shown that this is the best, and probably the most Satanic,
version to watch. Despite its length, 64 min., Svengali is a great
film for any Satanist to have in his or her video collection.
[- Michael K. Silva]