If there’s one thing you can count on in horror movies about Satan, it’s a scene in which a character is thrust into a Satanic ritual, or at the very least some people sit in a circle and talk about power. Even at its most subdued, Satanic ritual in film is a tad exploitative. No one goes to the cinema to see a bunch of devil worshippers sitting around drinking tea or discussing the liberating power of the Prince of Darkness and his rejection of God as a metaphor for personal liberation. Moviegoers want blood, guts, and a goat if at all possible. So which Satanic movies hit the nine inch nail on the head as far as accurately portraying a Satanic ritual or black mass? Take a look at some of the spookiest movies starring your pal Satan to find out.
Hella *spoilers* ahead, fyi.
Depending on who you ask, Satan can take many forms. Sometimes he’s a satyr trying to get laid, but more often than not, the devil is a concept more than a being, a philosophical precept rooted in challenging accepted wisdom and questioning reality. How a director represents that on film comes down to the beliefs and aesthetics of each project's director and screenwriter. This list exists to help decide which films are able to show their love of Satan while grounding Satanic practices in a semblance of reality.
Which film do you think most accurately depicts Satanic rituals? Do you think they’re all being dramatic? Do you have a better way of contacting the one with the cloven hooves? If so, tell us about it in the comments.
Rosemary's Baby is obviously the first film you think of when it comes to depictions of Satanic rituals, but how realistic is it? The film paints Satanists as elderly swingers with a spooky vibe, which kind of feels like the modern Church of Satan, and that traumatizing rape scene feels straight out of a Satanic Ritual Abuse scandal. Rosemary's Baby is at least half on point (turns out Satanic Ritual Abuse never actually existed).
If you know much about the many detailed theories on the work of Stanely Kubrick, you probably know the ritual in Eyes Wide Shut is less about Satan than it is about the consecration of dominion by an illuminati-like group that probably has more in common with the papacy than it does the Dark Lord. That said, the flowing robes, naked women, masks, and ritualistic solemnity of it all does bring to mind some practices of the Church of Satan. You can watch the full NSFW ritual here.
#16 on The Best Movies of 1999
All you needs to do to come to Satan in The Witch is ask for his help, and admit you want to "live deliciously." While the scene of Thomasin giving herself up to Black Philip is really fun, it also sounds like how you'd get into an after hours BDSM club.
The Craft is probably responsible for getting more young women into Wicca, magick, magic, and Satanic spooky stuff than any other film of the 20th century. But were the rituals as accurate as they seemed? According to Pat Devin, the film's technical supervisor and High Priestess and Public Information Officer of Covenant of the Goddess and an elder Priestess of the Dianic Feminist Sparatist Traditon - good luck with those business cards - sort of.
"[The Craft is] a motion picture; it's not a documentary, and I did what I could from my end, keeping in mind that the movie deals with four young women who begin to play with magic, and essentially create their own deity. They are not practicing the religion of Wicca. It's sort of 'Girls just want to fave fun' - girls just want to play with magic."
#32 on The Best Movies of 1996