Just how Satanic is Satanic Panic?
A pizza girl’s first night on the job takes a severe turn for the worst when she makes one final delivery to a group of Satan worshipers. Unluckily for her, she delivered much more than pizza, for they’re also in need of a last minute sacrificial virgin to beckon Baphomet.
I’ll tell you what, I felt some serious girl pride watching this. Although the lead character Sam (Hayley Griffith) was young and virginal, she didn’t take any shit. She didn’t fit into that beaten and weathered woman schtick to incite a sense of survival. She was simply strong from the start and that’s refreshing to see. She’s surrounded by toxic people the whole film, yet still manages to come out with a sense of hope and inspiration to continue on. Her sarcastic counterpart Judi (Ruby Modine) was a character that exemplified what it’s like playing with the cards that life’s dealt you and having a hard exterior because of that. Danica Ross (Rebecca Romijn) was a collected and precise villain and stepped over (or on) anyone that got in her way, especially her yippity co-sacrificer Gypsy (Arden Myrin). Supporting actors Jerry O’Connell and the scandalously under-utilized AJ Bowen played the type of males that make modern society a literal hellhole to-a-tee. With Chelsea Stardust gracing the director’s chair, it was a definite girl’s club made up of women strong enough to either summon the devil or ruin his fun before it began.
The premise was straightforward; the wealthy stay wealthy because they give themselves to Satan. The group in Satan Panic could fit in with other studious cinema cults with supernatural pacts but man, they’re so store bought and bumbling that you can’t help but laugh at their bickering and red-capery. The team built up these layers of fantasy and magic so naturally to make this world ever-so-slightly surreal. The inclusion of “haxan cloaks” and spells involving figurines brewed a unique form of Satan worship/witchcraft singular to Satanic Panic. The focus seemed directed on the comedy aspect but the kitchen scene with Hayley Griffith and Ruby Modine was pure movie magic and it left me wanting more of that intensity.
Admittedly, I wasn’t a huge fan of the soundtrack. We are hailing Satan after all, right? Let’s keep it fast and metal. It was lighthearted to match the cheeky and at times bonkers screenplay, written by Grady Hendrix, (My Best Friend’s Exorcism, We Sold Our Souls). It had a barrel full of hilarious pseudonyms for female genitalia and gross insults being flung back and forth constantly. This complemented the soupy red SFX provided by Tate Steinsiek and Chris A. Wilks, which was dripped in considerable amounts of run time.
Satanic Panic is a horror-comedy and not a comedy with horror elements. Albeit, the balance between the two leans just a smidge more towards comedy, but it’s got mighty heart. The supporting elements of drama, action, fright, and gore sum up to an all around fun pizza night movie for Satan enthusiasts, cinema fans who love a trippy orgy, and those who want to see Romijin rule as one cold, devil-loving woman.