Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SATAN HATES YOU... And Angus Scrimm Wants to Save Your Soul

I’m gonna be honest with you. I adore the name and poster of the James Felix McKenney’s film, Satan Hates You. It has all the earmarks of a classic, redux exploitation film of late 70’s ilk. Great title. Great poster. Great movie? I’m afraid that Satan truly does hate me, or at least he wanted me to watch a film that didn’t quite get my blood boiling.

We follow Marc (Don Wood) a homicidal maniac driven by demons buried deep within his soul, and Wendy (Christine Spencer) Marc's polar opposite who lives life fast and hard without a second's thought to the consequences. Their separate paths will eventually cross, but will it be on the road to salvation or the highway to hell?

Reggie Bannister, Angus Scrimm, Debbie Rochon… this had better be good right? Well it’s only as good as the script they’ve been given. The dialogue comes off flat. It doesn’t just play at retro melodrama. It embodies everything I despise from youth culture of the past twenty years. Not that our star studded cast has all that much face time as you might expect. They are not the lead protagonists. Bannister as a bartender makes absolute sense. It feels honest and perhaps his acting feels the most natural. Poor Angus Scrimm. I actually feel bad for him being cast in this role. It feels disrespectful. I guess he chooses the roles he plays, but I get that Ed Wood/Bela Lugosi feeling just thinking about him in this picture. Rochon holds her own. She always does. This film isn’t nearly as fun as your typical Troma film, but they’re probably related by marriage. Michael Berryman... might you still lose your teaching job for this part?

Satan Hates You is full of some pretty shotty cinematography and some underwhelming effects. They’re not the worst I’ve seen. You might even call the effects laughable in a pleasant way, but when you combine that with horror royalty as your main draw you realize that the old bait and switch has got you again. There are a couple of Mephisto/henchmen that run around throughout the picture with horns glued to their heads. There is an all powerful “boss devil” that looks like something you might find at Party City during Halloween. This will amuse you. This will not scare you. This may in fact enrage you.

Satan Hates has an amazing credit sequence. I’m pretty sure that I almost had a seizure looking at it. I hope that was the point. I’m not going to call it bad because I watched it over and over again (the credit sequence, not the rest of the movie). Hell, even my newborn daughter watched the credits with me. I think she found the flashing imagery calming. Maybe its because it was the only thing she was able to see beyond several feet (baby’s have limited visual sight distance).

The reasons to watch this: Abortion has never been so fun. Or messy (maybe messy… not sure). Also, for you Jersey/PA fans, there are quite a few Yeungling bottles splayed throughout the picture. This might make for an entertaining drinking game. For those of you who are not in the know, Yeungling was for years a Jersey/PA/Florida delicacy not unlike pork roll. Couldn’t get it anywhere out of our borders and it has only recently gained a wider audience. Something to think about if you’re looking for a reason to watch an otherwise mediocre film in the good vs. evil genre.

Possible Spoiler: I’m not going to give away the ending to Satan Hates You, but I’ll be god fuckin’ damned if I’m going to leave this review without saying this: The whole god damn thing feels like a PSA for the Evangelical church. You’re so bad. You can be born again if you just accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior… and Angus Scrimm… HOW DARE YOU!? (you’ll see why). If the Director’s intent was to have any sense of irony at the end of the film, well… try again next time? I still can’t tell if this film had an agenda or if I grossly misread the ending. I’m ok not knowing. I’m also ok telling you that you may get a good laugh from this movie. I’m just being a snobbish and then ending burned my hot cross buns.

-Dr. Terror Loves You


  1. Being the son of a preacher man & raised in a family of Jesus Gypsies (traveling evangelists), I found this flick hilarious. It's a parody of Christian scare films/plays/books etc, which if you grew up religious, you're painfully familiar with. As a Chick Track or Hell House come to life on screen it's spot on. I can't imagine people not familiar with the material it's satirizing enjoying it nearly as much.

  2. I know exactly what you mean. I actually meant to include that in my review. Totally missed it in my notes. I really wish we had Hell Houses up here. Nothing like people afraid of the devil to entertain you on a Friday night.