Satanic Panic initially had me believing it and We Summon the Darkness were one and the same. I must have heard about the latter being in production and then saw the former’s poster because it looked like Alexandra Daddario on it, but is in fact newcomer Hayley Griffith. Satanic Panic opens up with an innocent enough but low-tier atmosphere. However, after getting over the initial hump, this flick picks up the pace.
Griffith’s turn at lead, Sam, is helped through a hellish night by newfound friend Judi played by Ruby Modine (Shameless, Happy Death Day). They are being hunted through a rich neighborhood by a devilish cult headed by Rebecca Romijn (X-Men, Femme Fatale). There are plenty of horror veteran cameos planted throughout like AJ Bowen, Jordan Ladd, and Jeff Daniel Phillips. Jerry O’Connell (Kangaroo Jack, Sliders) also makes an appearance.
Satanic Panic makes use of what must have been a meager budget by taking chances with practical effects gags. The props don’t look phenomenal, but they don’t need to when they are already thinking outside the box. Sometimes even the small details and ideas hinted at between the lines pay of effectively, which helps a B-movie out a lot. The flavor is mostly comedic, but the tone can swing to tragic at a snap of the devil’s tail and it is earned.
The crew behind this movie set realistic goals and achieved them. Not bad for a film made by Jason Blum’s assistant Chelsea Stardust. If I somehow managed to make my own film and it was the only one I ever got to make, I would be proud if it held a candle to Satanic Panic. As Ali G would say, “Much respect, big ups.”
4 Manster mix-ups out of 5
BONUS REVIEW (MM 2018)
The Saw franchise was supposed to end with the abysmal Saw: The Final Chapter, hence the title, but we all knew they wouldn’t let the Halloween season money making machine rest for long. Jigsaw is the latest (but no where near greatest) sequel in the John Kramer Universe, aka the JKU. Still, it finds ways to make the most gnarly, believable kill traps. Too bad some of the acting and plotlines aren’t. Who am I kidding? Nowadays you either watch Saw films for creative death machines or you don’t watch them at all.
3 convoluted captive capers out of 5
BONUS REVIEW (MM 2019)
LORDS OF CHAOS
This is the part of the MASSACRE MARATHON where I accidentally watch a movie out of the spooky genre. I wasn’t totally sure how Lords of Chaos would pan out but I was very interested so I said, “Fuck it.” This film has a quite unique vibe, both in the way it was made and the aesthetic. It’s a biographical drama set in early 90’s Norway about the controversial band Mayhem and their conception of black metal music. The cast, lead by Rory Culkin (Scream 4, Signs) and Emory Cohen (The Place Beyond the Pines), all speak English despite the backdrop. It is a captivating story with loud bands, death, and of course lots of chaos! You should watch it for yourself, though maybe not during a horror marathon.
4 corpse painted faces out of 5
P.S. Way better than The Lords of Salem!