There have been multiple films, books, documentaries, and more that dive into the cultural phenomenon known as Satanic Panic that swept across America for nearly 30 years. Some of those works have been quite good, but that’s not what Chelsea Stardust’s latest is all about. This Satanic Panic is quite literally about Satanists, and they give our young protagonist, Samantha, every reason to panic.
After being stiffed for tips at her new gig as a pizza delivery driver, Samantha volunteers for a drop-off in one of the nicest areas of town in hopes of greener pastures. Unfortunately for Sam, these homeowners are more into sacrificing virgins and summoning ancient evils than leaving fat tips. What ensues is a glorious and gory game of cat and mouse that never lets up thanks to a fun and fast-paced story from genre favorites Grady Hendrix and Ted Geoghegan.
Further enhancing Hendrix and Geoghegan’s story are the gleefully practical SFX provided by Tate Steinsiek and Chris A. Wilks—both of whom provided SFX support on Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, if that tells you anything. You won’t want to miss these sequences, I promise you that much. But beyond the buckets of blood and body parts lie genuinely funny interactions spread throughout an absurdly capable and noteworthy cast. Names like Rebecca Romijn, Ruby Modine, Jerry O’Connell, Arden Myrin, Jeff Daniel Phillips, and AJ Bowen ensure that Satanic Panic’s campy heart plays out the best that it possibly can.
Director Chelsea Stardust put the horror community on notice when she contributed All That We Destroy to Hulu/Blumhouse’s Into the Dark series earlier this year, but with Satanic Panic, she cements herself as a name to watch and remember. I can’t wait to see where she goes next, and I have a feeling it’s going to be big. For now, enjoy Satanic Panic and all of the magical violence and comedy that it has to offer. You won’t regret it. Catch it in a theater or at home with friends if possible. This is one best enjoyed in a group environment with pizza and beer—just don’t forget to tip your delivery person!
Satanic Panic screened at the 2019 Fantasia International Film Festival. It hits limited theaters and digital platforms on September 6th.
Fantasia 2019: ‘Satanic Panic’ is a Gory and Hilarious Slice of Horror [Review]