REALM OF SATAN
Filmmaker Scott Cummings brings Sundance 2024 audiences into the everyday lives of Satanists. The Church of Satan boasts innumerable followers around the world. REALM OF SATAN introduces us to members from all backgrounds in this part experimental, part cinema verité documentary that both challenges and pokes fun at any preconceived notions we may have had in the past.
As a forced Catholic from birth to age sixteen, my parents exposed me to some of the wackiest ideological notions simply because their parents had done the same to them. Anyone who knows me well has heard the story of my 8th-grade religion class epiphany. My teacher, in trying to explain that sin has levels of severity, touched upon homosexuality. I could not believe what I was hearing. I could not possibly be correct. In a class of 18 students, I stood upon my chair and asked, “So you’re telling me that if I told my mother that I was gay, it would be the equivalent of me telling her I had murdered someone?! That’s it. I’m out.” A quote from the Satanist text says all you need to know; “I favor the just and curse the rotten.” With a focus on individualism, it all sounds good to me.
REALM OF SATAN features strategically placed, in-your-face scenes but also mundane ones. It does not give a shit what you think. The tongue-in-cheek approach to some of the moments feels like curated bait for Christofascist audiences, which, as a liberal who embraces witchcraft, these choices are simply delicious fodder. You have to laugh.
Aside from some stereotypical wardrobe choices and a pentagram here and there, the subjects in the film could believe in anything or nothing at all. Their text is no more shocking than that of every other sect of religion. Have you read The Bible? The glorious theatricality of some rituals and eclectic decor create beautifully gothic tableaus that mesmerize, particularly for a self-proclaimed “Spooky Girl” like me. The visual trickery is fun as hell. The final camera sweep will look familiar to fans of Tales From The Crypt, right down to the gate squeak. It’s a clever touch. In all, REALM OF SATAN isn’t trying to convert anyone. It’s simply giving audiences a peek behind the curtain to dispel misinformation but with dramatic flair.
CAITLIN MAE BURKE
- EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS
- PRINCIPAL CAST
JACK A. LIECHTUNG
ENGLISH, SPANISH, GERMAN, SWEDISH
- RUN TIME