Friday, September 30, 2011

SUMMER OF SATAN: post-retrospective analysis

Friends, readers and fellow countrymen of the blogosphere, the Summer of Satan has reached its end. Now comes the autumn of all things pumpkin-shaped and ghoulish, as a large swathe of next month is given over to 13 for Halloween, and after that it won’t be long till the second annual Winter of Discontent.

In other words, no need to mourn the passing of our Satanic summer: plenty more reels of cinematic depravity will be flickering through the projection booth window here at The Agitation of the Mind before 2011 draws to its close.

After the next Giallo Sunday offering (I’ve got a true one-off lined up), I’ll be taking a week away from the blog to work on some other projects. In the meantime, though, here’s a quick look back at the eighteen Faustian films considered in this most reprehensible of retrospectives.

I didn’t quite cover all of the films I wanted – Bryce recommended ‘Petey Wheatstraw: The Devil’s Son-in-Law’, but my usual go-to resources failed me and the budget, after the recent death of my oven and microwave and a repair job on the car, didn’t stretch to ordering the DVD as an import. Still, I sat through a melange of dark and nasty productions, the quality control of which varied to an almost schizophrenic degree.

Here’s a complete list of the films and the lessons I learned from them:

‘The Brotherhood of Satan’ – do not mock Ernest Borgnine’s jumpsuit. Just don’t.

‘The Devil’s Rain’ – even William Shatner’s unorthodox diction cannot defeat the powers of darkness.

‘Race with the Devil’ – for God’s sake, holidaymakers, use a travel-guide-approved RV park. Setting up shop down that dirt track near the creek where the Satanists are conducting their human sacrifice is a real quiet-getaway deal-breaker.

‘Asylum of Satan’ – great title, shame about the movie.

‘Hard Ride to Hell’ – see ‘Race with the Devil’. Fuck’s sake, RV-ers, do you like the pain this much?

‘The Devil Rides Out’ – Hammer + Dennis Wheatley = goooooood.

‘Evilspeak’ – in which a computer in the nineteen-motherfucking-eighties manages, without modem, internet dongle, software downloads or advanced programming, to translate Latin texts, compute the requirements for a Satanic ritual, and conjure the devil. Seriously, Windows 98, what the fuck?

‘The House of the Devil’ – the 70s redux. Horror how it used to be. Somebody give Ti West a few million dollars and final cut. Right freakin’ now.

‘Lady Death’ – in which the devil’s daughter gets kitted out in a revealing little number that makes Vampirella’s costume look demure, avails herself of a bloody big sword, gets an army together and gives her old man what for. I’m down with this.

‘Messiah of Evil’ – the best ‘Twilight Zone’ episode never made.

‘Satan’s Children’ – in which the homophobic minions of the devil get their collective asses whupped by a nerd in white y-fronts. This is not a good advert for the Evil One.

‘Exorcismus: The Possession of Emma Evans’ – your priest uncle sucks cocks in hell. Oh shit, I think I might have given something away.

‘Damned in Venice’ – not the Dirk Bogarde one. Sooooo not the Dirk Bogarde one.

‘To the Devil – a Daughter’ – Hammer + Dennis Wheatley = baaaaaaad.

‘Antichrist’ – don’t fear the Reaper … fear Lars von Trier instead!

‘Alucarda’ – nuns, flagellation, vampirism, demonic possession, girl-girl shenanigans. ’Nuff said.

‘Drive Angry’ – in which the devil remains pretty much on the sidelines … but when the muscles cars are this cool, the chicks this tough and Ol’ Nick sends William fuckin’ Fichtner to do the job for him, who’s counting?

‘The Day of the Beast’ – El Bestia vs. a jumpy priest, a cerebrally-challenged heavy metal fan and an egomaniac TV presenter. Ladies and gentlemen, place your bets.


Bryce Wilson said...

It was a great series Neil. With or without Wheatstraw. However, I will note that he'd probably fit right into Winter Of Our Discontent, should you feel so inclined.

Neil Fulwood said...

After I've taxed the car in November, I should have a certain amount of disposable income again, so hopefully Petey to the W will be ordered on import and play a starring role in the Winter of Discontent. I'm shortlisting already, based on what I can beg, streamline or borrow and there's a nicely sleazy playlist shaping up already.