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Film Editorial

hailsatan19.jpg Hail Satan?

Director: Penny Lane

Director Penny Lane’s irreverent & thought-provoking film profiles the burgeoning Satanist Temple movement in the USA. Headed by the sinister-looking but wry and erudite Lucien Greaves (not real name), they first garner media attention with their campaign to have a replica of the Ten Commandments removed from the State Capital in Oklahoma - the replica it is revealed was erected, amusingly, as part of a publicity campaign for Cecile B. DeMille’s 1956 film ‘The Ten Commandments’. The Temple’s ingenious idea is to submit an application for the erection of a statue of goat-headed occult deity Baphomet to be placed alongside the Commandments, reasonably arguing that if God is allowed into secular life then Satan should be too. Lane goes on to chart the rapid rise of these champions of secularism who, following the Baphomet stunt, found their numbers swelling from single figures to a globe-spanning 50,000, as they embark on more religion-baiting imaginative stunts, taking in their triumphs and the inevitable schisms. The clips of cheesy horror films scattered throughout illustrate the media hysteria, which contrasts with the actual activities of the group who, while they may look a bit gothy (Greives resembles a member of Depeche Mode circa 1988), are a canny group of provocateurs raising important questions about the incursion of religion into public life.