Book Review: SATANIC PANIC: POP CULTURAL PARANOIA IN THE 1980’S


Satanic Panic. There was a time when Satan was actually feared in America and at the same time, was revered as the hot celebrity club to be a part of. This was ongoing from the late 60’s through the 1970’s. Then something happened. America got super paranoid and saw the evil of Satan in everything from movies and music to games and more. If people liked it, it was Satanic! This is the subject of the new book SATANIC PANIC: POP CULTURAL PARANOIA IN THE 1980’S by Kier-La Janisse and Paul Corupe.

In this time capsule of pop culture history, so much is looked at. It begins with Michelle Smith’s incredible hoax that she was Satanically abused and the wild stories and assumptions that followed. The problem was that it was all a hoax. The bigger problem is that it took over a decade to figure out.

That opening chapter is terrifying on many levels but it is only the surface of the paranoia. Many of us have been exposed to Dungeons and Dragons, the fantasy role-playing game that is viewed today as one of the most nerd-centric activities you can do. However, in the 1980’s, it was viewed as a doorway to hell and seriously crusaded against!

These are just some of the chapters in this engrossing read with essays by Adam Parfrey (Apocalypse Culture), Gavin Baddeley (Lucifer Rising: Sin, Devil Worship and Rock n’ Roll), Liisa Ladouceur (Encyclopedia Gothica), David Flint (Sheer Filth!), Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (Rape Revenge Films: A Critical Study), Adrian Mack (The Georgia Straight), Forrest Jackson (Cosmic Suicide: The Tragedy and Transcendence of Heaven’s Gate), Alison Nastasi (Flavorwire), Leslie Hatton (Popshifter), David Canfield (Twitch), David Bertrand (Fangoria; Spectacular Optical) and Alison Lang (Rue Morgue, Broken Pencil) to name a few.

Other topics covered include MTV, heavy metal and the devil in 80’s horror films, the evil of 80’s cartoons and so much more. At over 350 pages, this book is loaded with goodness (or should I say badness?) B&W and color photos, vintage ads and more. Everything you need capture that era in time.

SATANIC PANIC: POP CULTURAL PARANOIA IN THE 1980’S is available now from Spectacular Optical and is in stock. If you are a  fan of horror, history, music, gaming or hell, even Satan, this is a must own.

Into 60’s hotrod cool, 70’s horror and 80’s punk. comics, video games.
Favorite Movies:Return of the Living Dead, Re-Animator, Evil Dead, Texas Chain-saw Massacre, Murder Mansion, etc.

Favorite Music:The Misfits (Danzig era), White/Rob Zombie, X, Marilyn Manson