The Satanic Screen

An Illustrated Guide to the Devil in Cinema


The Satanic Screen: An Illustrated Guide to the Devil in Cinema 1st edition


Creative Screenwriting review by Paul Armentano

”Nikolas Schreck insists that movies have long been the devil’s domain, and a perusal of The Satanic Screen: An Illustrated Guide to the Devil in Cinema suggests he may be right. Schreck’s treatise is an exhaustively researched exploration of film’s longstanding association with and portrayal of all things Satanic …

Schreck’s work provides an authoritative account of the changing face of the Devil in film. … ‘Charming rogue with impeccable manners, slavering monster of bestial aspect; seemingly innocent child; seductive woman; unseen metaphysical force: these are only some of the contradictory depictions of the Devil offered by Satanic cinema,” writes Schreck. ”Tracing the evolution of the Satanic archetype on film, one quickly discovers that no character has inspired such wildly different interpretations.” …

Schreck diligently examines these cinematic portrayals … and his reflections prove both entertaining and insightful. Perhaps most perceptive is the author’s assertion that the Devil’s distinctive filmic faces are an artistic reflection of ‘the rapidly changing pendulum of the 20th century’s societal back and forth between transgressive impulse and safe conservatism.’ … Consequently, Schreck’s examination of the Devil’s evolution on screen is ultimately a depiction of Satan’s cinematic regression.”

Uncut review by Simon Goddard

”Schreck’s The Satanic Screen provides the ideal, heavily illustrated guide to the Devil’s numerous incarnations throughout the past century of film-making, referencing not just the obvious Hollywood mainstream … but Kenneth Anger, Twenties German expressionists and even hardcore Seventies porn … The scope of Schreck’s cinematic research aside, his broader knowledge of the occult and the significant influence of Aleister Crowley makes for a highly informed study.”

Creative Screenwriting review by Paul Armentano

”This is the perfect evil film buff’s companion. A bit like a black dog in book form.”

 Loaded review

”Written with complete authority, the volume displays an impressive understanding of the Black Arts throughout. Although the text is studious, it is never less than approachable, whilst the well-chosen stills provide plenty to fascinate the eye. All told, a devilishly good read.”

Foreword review by Karen A. Wyckoff

”The Satanic Screen represents a pioneering effort to document the manifestation of the devil in cinema. Schreck, a widely accepted occultist authority, lends credibility and a palpable enthusiasm to the release, boasting both sound scholarly approach and aficiandos’s flair … Dancing in the shafts of light thrown from seventeenth century ‘magic lanterns,’ Schreck asserts, were the seeds of Satanic cinema. … Schreck commands an admirably discerning focus upon these obscure and masterful origins of the genre which include the nascent German film industry, nourished by its rich heritage of gothic and romantic influence, and wastes few words on ready-to-eat modern efforts … ”As I’m convinced that the homogenized sterility of the 1980’s and 1990’s culture marked a dismal nadir.” …

As much a study of the synergy of art and life, The Satanic Screen plays close attention to the omnipresence of occultists and the Black Arts as the book is driven to sociological as well as aesthetic ends. Schreck notes, for example, that ”Rosemary’s Baby became a blue print for the occult renaissance of the late 1960s” Brutally honest appraisals invite both levity and critical thinking …

Ample production stills, posters and illustrations garnish the text which is most readily aimed at film students or those with occultist interest, though the appeal to audiences expands with solid sociological shadings. Straying beyond the safety of mainstream features, The Satanic Screen deftly walks the cloven path of the devil in film…”

Review by Michael A. Aquino

”The definitive study of Satan and Satanic themes in film is Nikolas Schreck’s The Satanic Screen: An Illustrated Guide to the Devil in Cinema. The book also pays careful attention to the subliminal Devil-themes of the war years, the 1950s’ ‘atomic age’, etc. … elegant writing style carries the reader pleasantly through even discussion of less-than-memorable films … depth & breadth of research, particularly into the early/obscure works.”

SFX review by Ian Berriman

”The Satanic Screen is a wide-ranging work, covering Lucifer’s incarnations across all genres, from silent cinema to harcore porn. It enters into intelligent debate without cloaking its arguments in an obfuscatory fog of critical jargon, shrewdly analyzing how Satan’s mercurial image … reflects the changing mood of the times … Nikolas Schreck is impressively well-read, with a knowledge of the occult to match his knowledge of cinema. He’s unearthed plenty of enlightening anectodes about the making of the films, and influences on the film-makers are skillfully mapped out. But it’s the way the author’s prejudices leak onto the page that really bring this book alive. He doesn’t make any attempt at impartiality, which lends your reading experience the flavour of a one-to-one conversation.” Four Stars.

American Movie Classics review by Pamela Castellano

”I have your wonderfully informative book, The Satanic Screen here at the office and have used it often when we’re airing and promoting movies where the Devil gets star billling.”

Hotdog review by Tom Parker Bowles

”Meticulously researched and lavishly illustrated, The Satanic Screen is a detailed exploration of Beelzebub’s celluloid century. … Schreck’s views on benchmark films are contentious – The Exorcist is little more than a laughable ”bible-thumper” and The Omen is ”concealed Christian propaganda masquerading as a mainsteam movie.” A cut above the usual dessicated genre studies. Rated Four Stars.

Juxtapoz review

”Nikolas Schreck conjured up an amazing collection of stills and posters from these movies, essentially bringing them all back to life … An elegant text full of useful information traces the evolution of the character, his victims, and his associates. Essential reading for school shooters.”

The Sunday Times (UK) review

”Schreck is good on the 1960s and 1970s, a time when, he says Satanism was as much a part of the scene as Eastern mysticism and Edwardian clothes … Wonderful stuff.”

The Scroll of Set review by Walter Gallo

”In this unique and exceptional overview of his satanic majesty’s many film appearances, two things struck me immediately: first, the level of sophistication … and second, the research. … Interspersed throughout are poignant comments on the nature of the Left Hand Path that will no doubt sail over the heads of the general public reader. I was impressed in particular with the analysis (a la Paine’s Hierarchy of Hell without the shallow atheism) of how each era’s ‘take’ on Satan is a mirror and definition of the age … Even those who claim not to be a movie person will be amused. Schreck’s comments on the many Rosemary Baby knock-offs are more entertaining than the films themselves. … Run … do not walk … to your independently owned and operated bookstore and pick up the book. Essential reading.”

Bite Me review by Phil Gomm

”The Beast and the silver screen have been partners since ecclesiastics condemned the magic lantern as an infernal device. Taking this first alarmist combination of fact and fiction as its starting point, The Satanic Screen examines the devil on film from the incarnations of Mepisto-Melies to the millennial hysteria of Schwarzenegger’s End of Days … Schreck details the larger than life and times (and rumored film set visits) of real life celebrity satanists Aleister Crowley and Anton LaVey … The Satanic Screen is encompassing, its critiques refreshingly irreverent.”