Speak of the Devil (1993)
“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 Wolf.
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]