I’ve written about Christian films in recent days due to the surge in religious films. Some of the films are great redemptive stories for the general market, while others are preachy and intended for the like minded. In both cases, the genre has been difficult to define by production companies and distributors.
Another type of film is also getting attention and it too is hard to capture within a defined genre. Some refer to the films as satanic, while others suggest it is atheistic. In reality, it’s a genre that is more based in “I-theism.” In other words, pictures about a main character that is his own “god” – A person that establishes his own subjective hierarchy with himself as the most valued.
The films might also reflect the strong satanic beliefs followed like:
- All forms of emotions from love to hate are healthy.
- Ritual is for self-psychotherapy to purge any sense of conscience or emotion that hinders intelligently moderated pursuit of pleasures.
- The prime dictate in lifestyle indulgence, over compulsion.
- Animalistic tendencies and concern for the ecosystem.
- All forms of sexuality between consenting adults.
- Societal laws that regulate behavior so that a maximum of freedom might be obtained.
- Justice where the punishment fits the crime when working to maintain an equitable society.
While some of this content sounds fine, like justice fitting the crime, it’s the intent and overarching goal that is self-centered. The purpose of the philosophy is to help individuals take their place, as god in their own lives, which is what Satanism is all about. That’s right, for most followers, it’s not about worshiping the devil, but self.
The list of films is one that Magus Anton Szandor LaVey felt best guided a viewer toward Satanism. While most of the filmmakers didn’t know they were leading their audience down a religious path, some were purposeful in their intent.
There was no surprise reading some films from the list like Rosemary’s Baby, Bedazzled and Svengali. Each of those films had overt satanic elements. However, some films were more of a surprise including classics like Citizen Kane, Metroplois, and Fantasia. Even more shocking was the family friendly film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
When it comes to films like All the King’s Men, Bladerunner, The Comic, Pennies From Heaven, The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover, Scarface (the original), The Stepford Wives, and Westworld, I can understand how the elements appreciated by the cult can be gleaned from the films, but that doesn’t make the film itself a satanic film.
Depicting a characteristic or a human flaw doesn’t make a film satanic, for it’s how the element is demonstrated that determines how it is received. For instance, a film about a wretched sinner that is later redeemed doesn’t make a film satanic, yet it might get the title onto the list.
Intent and performance determines if the content is redeemable or not. A selfish character may make the list, but if the film depicts a realistic cause and effect of his life, followed by a redemptive outcome, the film does more for the soul than a story steeped in teachings that convince audiences to put themselves above others – Looking out for number one.
The bottom line is that the list of 97 films is not to be feared or avoided, as some would conclude, but can bring an awareness of perspective.
A film like Les Misérables depicted a character that may have made a more recent list. But the story’s realistically portrayed redemptive qualities were far more powerful, putting the character’s original life choices in perspective with love, humility and gracious generosity that overcomes all. There has never been a better movie depicting the redemptive qualities of grace and mercy. Yet, some avoided the film for fear that their character would be negatively affected.
Redemptive stories will always overcome self-centered stories. Call it good versus evil, or God versus Satan, if you will. But, most of the highest grossing films of all time are stories of redemption. And, most satanic films do poorly at the box office.
What’s your view? Can a filmmaker unknowingly make a Satanic film?
Copyright © 2914 by CJ Powers
“Can a filmmaker unknowingly make a Satanic film?” I’d say, yes. Especially if you believe in a deity that fulfills your every wish and builds a world around you the way you envision it. But any way that you look at it, it’s a very troubling question every Christian storyteller should consider before they bring their content to the public. Would my film/story fit on this list?
I like your perspective – Using the concept of the list to filter story choices.