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The Anti-Christ
Hunt out the uncut version of The Antichrist for the full hellish experience, that version is so Satanic we’re surprised the devil didn’t dictate the scriptvia cineblog.it

How Satanic are these cult horror films?

On a scale from that one Looney Tunes episode where Daffy Duck dressed up as the devil to MY EYES. MY EYES

It’s Friday the 13th, so what better time to chalk a pentagram onto my garage floor, pull my blackest cloak from the closet, grab some animal bones from the KFC bucket in the garbage, and inscribe the following list of obscure hell-flicks onto a wall in my own blood (which I then typed out on my laptop, as wall-blood doesn’t really translate to the internet) for your pleasure.

The question is, how successful was my ritual? How Satanic are the demonic documentaries, cult creature-features and freaky films I’ve conjured for you in Lucifer’s name?

SATANIS: THE DEVIL'S MASS (1968)

This entertaining documentary was sold as a gasp-inducing glimpse behind the black curtain of Anton LaVey’s Church Of Satan, but the reality is a lot sillier than that. Offering a first look at the infamous Satantic Rituals held at LaVey’s Black House, you can’t help but wonder if the whole thing’s just a big excuse to see naked ladies. With talking head interviews by neighbours who all seem to think LaVey’s just a nice, polite boy further shattering the illusion, this ends up feeling like a fun film about a bunch of cosplayers who are just really into the colour red. 

On a scale from fluffy kittens wearing those cute devil horns to magus of evil: 2/10

Too cute to be truly Satanic, despite the fact it stars arguably the most iconic Magus of the movement. 

LIVING HELL (2000)

Billed by the creators as a Japanese Chainsaw Massacre, Living Hell mixes high-concept sadism and graphic realism to great effect. Following an alienated young man as he encounters a hellish family of psychos (including the grimmest gran this side of your last family reunion) it’s basically Lost In Translation meets Leatherface. Though technically not a Satan movie, we imagine this is the sort of film the Antichrist watches on his days off. Creepy, cruel and crammed with corpse-chic, Living Hell certainly leaves a mark on whoever watches it.

On a scale from spending Christmas with grandparents whilst wearing a red jumper to spending your birthday trapped in a coffin with a decomposing body: 8/10

Dark, disturbing and full of terror – this is basically the closest you’ll get to spending an afternoon with the devil without leaving your living room.

JIGOKU (1960) 

Putting the ‘fucking hell, what did I just watch’ into Hell movies, Japanese horror classic Jigoku is all kinds of messed up. Essentially a inter-connected portmanteau featuring flashbacks from inhabitants of a terrifyingly realised afterlife, which explain how they got to the Gates Of Hell – this is basically Lost if it was made by serial killers. Featuring searing images that instantly scorch onto your subconscious, Jigoku has lost none of its power to shock in the 45 years since it screamed into cinemas. 

On a scale from that one Looney Tunes episode where Daffy Duck dressed up as the devil to MY EYES. MY EYES. 10/10

It’s horrible, basically. And amazing.

THE ANTICHRIST (1974) 

No, not Lars Von Trier’s griefpocalypse, but a very different film with (almost) the same name. This 70s Italian horror flick is essentially an unofficial Exorcist remake; it also follows an innocent women possessed by a demon who makes her vomit up green goo and swear like a sailor. But, perhaps because our heroine is an adult and not a pre-pubescent girl, The Antichrist goes, much, much, much (to be honest, I could keep typing ‘much’ for eternity and it still wouldn’t be enough) much further than that film. 

This harder edge is perhaps best exemplified by an orgy in Hell scene that features our female lead burying her face – and there’s no delicate way to put this – in a goat’s asshole. 

On a scale from The Exorcist to ‘yes, I did just write the phrase ‘in a goat’s asshole’: 10/10

Hunt out the uncut version for the full hellish experience, that version of The Antichrist is so Satanic we’re surprised the devil didn’t dictate the script. 

SHE-DEVILS ON WHEELS (1968)

Herschell Gordon Lewis’ bikesploitation flick has a terrible reputation amongst horror fans, mainly because it took the god of gore away from the blood-squibs that made his name. For everyone else, it’s a fun – and feminist – film, following an all-female gang of bikers as they terrorise the men around them. Despite the title, which is more of a play on ‘Hell’s Angels’ than a supernatural signifier, She-Devils On Wheels contains basically no Satanic elements. Sorry about that. It’s still fun though!

On a scale from scraping your knee after falling off your bike and shouting ‘Oh, bloody hell’ to being forced to take part in a blood sacrifice in order to join a biker gang: 3/10

The closest this one comes to horror is the fact The Cramps covered the theme tune. I’ve basically only included it here because it has devil in the title and more people should know about it. 

ASYLUM OF SATAN (1972)

A drive-in film frequently double-billed with Satan’s Children (more of that in a moment – unfortunately) Asylum Of Satan takes two exploitation staples (someone’s trapped in an asylum! Someone’s a prisoner of devil worshippers!) and combines them to entertainingly terrible effect. Featuring a doctor who looks like Anton LaVey, special effects that may have inspired elements of Evil Dead II and a plot so confusing it might be genius, Asylum Of Satan is a fun fear flick with some memorable set-pieces. 

On a scale from Monday morning at the dentist to Sunday night having sex in a church: 4/10

More of a kitsch zombie movie than Satan-fest, it still has devilish elements. 

SATAN'S CHILDREN (1975) 

Following a teen runaway’s encounters with a gang of Satanists after they rescue him from a gang of gay rapists, this is a very, very conflicted film. On the surface, it’s homophobic trash - with a despicable plot suggesting that being gay is worse than being a murderer. 

But watch it with the sound off, and it becomes intensely homoerotic – as though the filmmakers were overcompensating for feelings they couldn’t help but express visually; there’s more male nudity than female (watch the trailer below for bare bums and S&M thrills), and our closeted hero spends most of the runtime running around in tiny pants. I’d say it was intentionally ironic, but that would require an intelligence it doesn’t demonstrate for even a mili-second of its runtime. So ineptly made it borders on magic realism / surrealist cinema, the only thing Satan’s Children is good for is the laughs you get from mercilessly mocking it. 

On a scale from a gang of idiots in some woods to a Satanic satire of a gang of idiots in some woods: 1/10

It’s definitely Satanic, but it’s tough to recommend unless you absolutely promise to make fun of it. 

HOWL OF THE DEVIL (1987)

This Spanish thriller following the misadventures of Hector Doriani, an ex-actor who likes to pick up prostitutes to play roleplay-heavy sex games – he appears as Frankenstein, Mr Hyde, Rasputin and more – before they’re murdered by a mysterious black-gloved killer, is actually surprisingly a lot more moving than that high concept suggests. A mediation on writer/director/star Paul Naschy’s career in horror, Hector’s antics are paralleled with his young nephew’s daydreams, a boy lost in his own fantasy world.

On a scale from ‘Hang on a minute, this doesn’t sound like a Satan movie at all’ ‘Does he even dress up as the devil?’: 2/10

Yep, anyone looking for a shortcut to Hell might want to give this one a miss, despite the title. But if a sadness-tinged sex film packed with weird costumes and nostalgic emotions is your bag, then track this Devil down immediately.

THE KILLING OF SATAN (1983)

Now you’re talking. The Killing Of Satan is a camp masterpiece in which Satan is the end boss. It’s the sort of film that should have made its country of origin – the Philippines – a moviemaking mecca. Sadly, it’s actually pretty hard to track down, but drop me a line and you can come round and watch it if you like. It’ll be well worth the trip, as The Killing Of Satan is packed with so many batshit mental moments you probably won’t stop laughing after the opening credits have rolled. 

Whether it’s the Christian super-powers our hero inherits from his dead uncle that allows him to create a weird energy shield from his elbow, or the snake-weapons that turn into dwarves in Halloween costumes after they’re punched in the face, I’m super surprised this isn’t meant to be a comedy. Just look at this clip, featuring the worst way to save anyone’s life in the history of cinema.

On a scale of ‘did he really just lie down in front of a rock?’ to ‘this film rocks!’: 10/10

Satan takes a while to actually show up – the film’s at least two-thirds of the way through before he does, but it’s well worth the wait. Gloriously entertaining, and dripping with accidentally hilarious evil.

A LONG RIDE FROM HELL (1968)

This is another one of those movies where the ‘Hell’ in the title isn’t literal, but merely a metaphor for the circumstances our heroes find themselves in, but give this spaghetti western a chance. It might not feature our old pal the Prince Of Lies, but it is a ruddy good watch – featuring Hercules himself, bodybuilder Steve Reeves, as a cowboy hell-bent on revenge. Sadly, it was Reeves’ final film, but what a way to go out – A Long Ride From Hell is up there with The Great Silence and Django in the pantheon of all-time great Italian westerns. 

On a scale from ‘what do you mean it doesn’t have the devil in it?’ to ‘there are enough sins committed in this film to justify its inclusion on this list’: 10/10 

Sure, there’s no Satan, but there’s plenty of killings/cool topless shots of the muscular Reeves. If this is hell, fetch me the suncream!