SATANIS: THE DEVIL’S MASS
WORLD RESTORATION PREMIERE This 1970 American documentary takes us inside the infamous “Black House” in San Francisco, where the Church of Satan was established. We also get a glimpse of the neighborhood around it, more and more specifically of the none-too-pleased neighbors, who have quite a few things to say about that damned house. But the heart of the film is a study of Anton Szandor LaVey, former lion tamer and the leader of this cult of devil worshippers, and their ideology that centers around the rejection of guilt, sexual freedom, and self-indulgence.
SATANIS: THE DEVIL’S MASS contrasts the “ordinary” world outside with trippy footage that captures what happens inside of the Black House. Equally revealing are the thoughts and actions of LaVey and his followers. Not only do we witness a black mass, where a nude woman serves as an altar, or meet a naked, chain-smoking witch in her 70s who gives insights about growing up in a conservative community, but the film also highlights how progressive the group’s mindset was for 60s America. More than just an introduction to the origins of contemporary Satanism and a portrait of the legendary High Priest of Church of Satan, SATANIS is also a time capsule of a society being shocked out of conformity.
– Maria Reinup
SATANIS: THE DEVIL’S MASS is part of WTF 2019’s special focus “Satan Is Your Friend,” a look at contemporary satanism. Other programs in this sidebar include HAIL SATAN?, Penny Lane’s acclaimed Sundance documentary about the Satanic Temple (no relation to the Church of Satan) and its mission to save the soul of America, and WE SOLD OUR SOULS, a live presentation by best-selling American horror author and beloved loved journalist Grady Hendrix that explores the Satanic Panic of the 1980s.
Director: Ray Laurent
Running Time: 86 min