Devil Worship: The Rise of Satanism (1989)

EDITOR’S NOTE: You can read another article about this movie here.

I grew up in the middle of the Satanic Panic, a time in which I would be sent to guidance counselors who worked with local priests and police to ensure that Satan would not take over our town and one assumes that Satan would come in through horror movies, heavy metal and role playing games. Five thousand bodies of unidentified kids were showing up every year, or so they said, and every police officer knew an occult expert they could call on. Most of them came to my church to meet us one on one.

My wife can’t always comprehend the contempt I have for the police, but between being a chubby skateboarder nerd and also being obsessed with gore, speed metal and religion, I grew up constantlyfeeling under surveillance in a small minded small town, a place where people still battle over the seperation of church and state and a mobile Nativity drives past the municpal building, a place where it can no longer be but parks long enough that everyone feels that God is pleased.

There are four types of Satantists or so we are led to believe: the dabblers who spray paint walls and knock over tombstones; the religious ones that are seldom in trouble; the dangerous non-trad ones and then there are the generational ones, like something out of Hammer movies that have worshipped the left hand path since they came to America.

Interestingly, black metal gets called out here — mainly they name Venom — while three years later the really scary moments of black metal itself would play out, the kind of murder and arson that this documentary can only dream of.

This comes from the world where He-Man was teaching children to embrace the dark arts — man, they should have watched Thundercats instead because that show is packed with occult themes — and Richard Ramirez loved AC/DC, so therefore anyone who listens to Back In Black could be a killing machine with a pentagram carved into their hand.

If you ever wondered, “How did we as a society get to the outlandish world of QAnon?” I am here to inform you that we have been there at least as long as I have been alive. This is a place where just because the Church of Satan — bonus points for the glance at the Temple of Set, started by U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Michael Aquino, a psychological warfare specialist — just so happened to exist. Man, did these guys pay royalties for just grabbing all that footage from Satanis? Isn’t stealing a sin?

In my hometown there were whispers of the pentagrams on the walls of the closed elementary school. It’s why we never got MTV — as a substiute we were given Hit Video USA, a Christian channel that edited the videos before they were played — until the early 90s. I’d say look how I turned out, but a quick glance at the stuff that I watch points to me still being headed to an eternity in Hades, huh?

You can watch this on YouTube.

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