Friday, August 20, 2021

Legacy of Satan

Legacy of Satan
Gerard Damiano

When Anton LaVey founded the Church of Satan in 1966, he created a counter-cultural phenomenon. LaVey encouraged humanist values rather than any actual worship of Satan but that didn’t stop the public from assuming that the actual Satan worshiping happened as well. As we spun into the 1970s, a decade known for more hedonistic trends and a rise in interest in the occult, we got a perfect recipe for lush horny horror. Legacy of Satan is great example of this even if it isn’t what I would call a great film.

George (Paul Barry) and Maya (Lisa Christian) are a couple heading for estrangement. One of their friends convinces them to come to a party in a strange mansion which always goes well. This gathering  turns out to be a Satanic cult who have their sights set on Maya whom they begin to work their magic on and draw into their clutches.

"Begin the Satanic VAG STEAMING!"

In theory, Legacy of Satan has got everything you want from a Satanic cult film, there are dark rituals, blood, nudity, chanting, poor unsuspecting dopes on the receiving end of ultimate evil. What we get in actuality is more of a muddled mess that seems to forget what it’s about by the end of the film. As a cohesive story there isn’t much to grasp onto here but as a work of aesthetics it is very effective. 

Legacy of Satan began its life as a sex film and those origins are definitely present. Not because it features a lot of explicit sex (just a lot of the non-explicit kind) but because there isn’t much to film at all. It only runs 69 (nice) minutes, and the plot is minimal to say the least. There are large spaces in the film that probably would have been the various sex scenes. Whatever the reason that Legacy of Satan wasn’t filmed as an adult feature it has a curious effect on the end product. The sparse story creates a strange ethereal atmosphere as events just drift along with seeming little importance and inevitability as the Satanic cult takes this couple apart.

"I am not good at eating pizza."

Far and away the most intriguing thing about Legacy of Satan is its score. The music of Legacy of Satan is a shrieking and rumbling mix of analog synthesizer sounds that sits seemingly at odds with the lush ultra-1970s interiors and costumes. These two elements create a frisson of strangeness that mixes with the dreamy story to enhance the doom laden feeling already present. If there is one element to really enjoy in this barely coherent work, it’s the amazing sounds that come from it.

When you get down it, the story is the least interesting element of the film, but as a tonal piece and neat little snapshot of what was going on in the counter-culture of the 1970s it carries a weird fascination. Worth a watch for all of its dreamy campy strangeness. 

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