Satanic Panic Attack: 5 Unholy and Unappreciated Gems To Mess You Up

Satanic Panic

I have a special appreciation for occult cinema. I’m not a particularly religious man these days. But growing up in the church, the mere mention of The Devil would strike fear into my young heart. And for that reason, I grew up viewing cinematic offerings depicting The Dark Lord as terrifying and enticing. And to some extent, I still find Satanic cinematic efforts to be rather frightening. Not so much because I believe in Heaven and Hell. But because I find the unwavering devotion of the cultists depicted in said films to be properly scary. Moreover, the heightened levels of paranoia common to satanic cinema often make for an intense viewing experience, in and of itself.  

So, come along with me while I shine the spotlight on a handful of overlooked satanic horror-thrillers that should definitely be on your radar. 

1. Satan’s School for Girls

I wouldn’t go so far as to call Satan’s School for Girls a great film in the conventional sense. It’s dated and relatively tame. But there is a certain camp appeal to the picture. And it absolutely serves up some solid scares and an impressive cast that features two future Charlie’s Angels in Kate Jackson and Cheryl Ladd. This flick also delivers a hefty helping of paranoia It keeps the audience in the dark for as long as possible, in regards to which of the film’s characters are acting in service of The Dark Lord and which are genuinely trying to aid Elizabeth (Pamela Franklin) in her search for answers regarding her sister’s apparent suicide.  

If you go into this made-for-television offering with the understanding that it’s not perfect, you may just find that it is a groovy and nostalgic export of the early ‘70s with a couple of solid twists and turns and a few decent scares.  

Satan’s School for Girls

2. Daughters of Satan

Like Satan’s School for GirlsDaughters of Satan is another unmistakable product of its time. But that is about as far as the similarities go. Daughters of Satan was made with the intent of playing grindhouse theaters. Therefore it serves up nudity, ritualistic sacrifice, torture, and various other forms of disreputable behavior.  

The film follows James (Tom Selleck), an antique dealer who buys a picture depicting a coven of witches being burned at the stake. His interest in the piece stems from the uncanny resemblance one of the women in the artwork bears to his wife, Chris (Barra Grant). But when Chris begins to behave rather strangely, James starts to wonder if the painting is influencing her behavior.  

This flick is on the campy side and definitely focuses more on atmosphere and chills than it does on making sense or explaining itself. But if you can forgive those transgressions, Daughters of Satan delivers a viewing experience that is quite surreal, and surprisingly dark.     

Daughters of Satan

3. The Devil’s Rain

This is another example of a film that doesn’t waste much time explaining itself. But I would argue that approach works just well enough here. The Devil’s Rain is visually striking, surreal, and boasts some really impressive effects work. So, even if it doesn’t always make complete sense, it still makes for a fun watch.

Like several of the other titles on this list, The Devil’s Rain benefits from the creation of a heightened sense of paranoia. The picture follows the Preston family as they attempt to protect a tome containing the names of those that have sold their souls to The Dark Lord. 

Ultimately, this flick is plenty entertaining. The pace is often breakneck and the cast of characters is pretty impressive. The picture features appearances by Ernest Borgnine, William Shatner, Eddie Albert, and even delivers a (very) brief drop-in by young John Travolta. 

4. Race with the Devil 

I think of myself as a seasoned horror fan but Race with the Devil still manages to rattle me. It is fast-paced and atmospheric, which goes a long way. But what really gets me is the horrifying sequence in which the vacationing couples at the center of the film must fend off a pair of rattlesnakes planted in their RV by members of a murderous satanic cult. That scene really haunts me because of the manner in which the vacationers are held captive by their uninvited guests. It’s a harrowing battle to the death that is as icky as it is terrifying. Given my general distaste for serpents, I have to watch through my fingers. But even for those not averse to legless creatures, it’s a lot to take in. 

PG Horror Films - Race with the devil

5. Botched 

Botched is a little bit like what one might expect if the characters in From Dusk till Dawn tangled with cult members instead of blood-thirsty vampires. The flick starts out very much like a proper heist film. It follows a group of criminals in pursuit of a valuable artifact. But before the job is done, the thieves find themselves trapped in a high-rise building where they lock horns with the members of a satanic cult. This darkly comedic horror flick is filled to the brim with over-the-top carnage, while also serving up quite a few laughs along the way to a thrilling denouement.

Botched - Satanic horror films

If you’d like to chat more about under-seen films, you are welcome to hit me up on Twitter @FunWithHorror.


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