Written by Grady Hendrix; Story by Ted Geoghegan
Directed by Chelsea Stardust
Comedy/horror SATANIC PANIC is like being hit in the face by a beautiful, strawberry-scented baseball bat. It hurts your eyes, but the smell is so good you want to go back and experience more. In this case it isn’t the smell, of course, but the absurdly funny – but by no means tame – violence you repeatedly witness.
Innocent pizza-delivery driver (Hayley Griffith) is sent to a rich neighbourhood, but somehow becomes the target of a high society, satanic cult. What follows shouldn’t be described, but just experienced; its absurdity will shine brighter the less you know beforehand. To be honest, alarm bells should have rung for our lead when she sees a young girl in a white dress, waving and playing hopscotch. Do children play outside alone in the age of smart phones and technology without something being amiss?
There are undeniable moments of genuine discomfort and horror. A prime example is the ‘killdo’ scene, but there are many others, where SATANIC PANIC swings between moments of the grotesque and macabre through to absurdity. Despite the incessant, graphic violence and horrifying gore, the humour ensures the film doesn’t take itself too seriously. Phrases like “millennial muppet” are diametrically opposed – in the funniest of ways – to the brutal killings that come and go. A stand out line that epitomises the film’s sensibility is: “Was I just attacked by a sheet?”
SATANIC PANIC is violent. It’s darkly funny when it shouldn’t be. Ultimately, it’s admirable that filmmakers could conceive such hilarious depravity.
Review by Callum Shepherd