SATANIC PANIC: POP-CULTURAL PARANOIA IN THE 1980’S
Edited by Kier-La Janisse & Paul Corupe (FAB Press & Spectacular Optical)
Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980’s is probably my favorite book that I have read this year. A collection of essays from various authors, the book seeks to explore the phenomena of the 1980’s satanic panic in its various facets, forms, and reactions. Each essay serves to shine a light on one aspect of the satanic panic. Be it Dungeons and Dragons, Michelle Remembers, The Acid King Ricky Kasso, Geraldo Rivera’s crusade against Satan, or the proliferation of satanic themes and imagery from heavy metal music of the era; each piece dives deep into the murky waters of urban legend, sociology, pop-culture history, and public-outcry journalism for a greater understanding of the satanic panic as a whole.
Clocking in at around 370 pages and beautifully designed and laid out, Satanic Panic is full of photos, art, newspaper clippings, and movie and TV stills. This book is fucking amazing. Without getting too autobiographical, I was a kid who was into horror movies, D&D, weird cartoons, heavy metal, and so on. I also had parents who owned several of the Christian VHS tapes and books – about the encroaching rise of Satanism in popular culture and how to protect your children from it – which are discussed in this book. Satanic Panic speaks to a broader piece of modern history that for me had real world impacts. That’s possibly why it struck such a chord with me.
If you are at all interested in the history of the Satanic Panic and its aftershocks, or, you’re just curious why there was such a strong cultural stigma attached to some of the things you may enjoy, from horror to heavy metal, role playing games to 80’s cartoons, this book will server to shed some light on the groups and people who demonized them. In another way, this book also serves as a companion piece for anyone curious about the history of the rise and tactics of the Evangelical Christian Right. On top of all that, it’s also just a great case study in regards to quite a peculiar time in pop-culture history.
I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s beautiful, insightful, funny, and consistently interesting. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy – you won’t regret it. I swear, it probably won’t make you kill yourself or others. And don’t forget to Hail Satan. (Sam Richard)