This 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.
Another 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.
Another 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.
I 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.]