"Say You Love Satan! The Devil on Film"
A perfect antidote to the mindless angelphilia and Virgin Mary-mania that have gripped the nation is Center for the Arts' new "Hell on Friday" series celebrating a less savory but always more entertaining Christian deity, Satan. This movie and video mix includes Hollywood features, censored videos, underground classics, and an assortment of fringe productions hailing the cloven-hoofed cutup. The first show, on Jan. 16, is the must-see. For tormented teens, there's Marilyn Manson's 1994 "Lunchbox" video (directed by Richard Kern), which MTV banned because it urges little kids to -- gasp! -- cut their own hair. The ever-welcome Mike Kuchar weighs in with 1997's Splatter Movie, a typical disco-drenched melodrama set in a dungeon and featuring assorted S/M and mock-satanic goings-on. Kenneth Anger mingles classic queer imagery with devilish doings in Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969) and Lucifer Rising (1990). The standout this night, though, is Edgar G. Ulmer's 1934 horror film The Black Cat. This amazing feature pushed the limits of audience tolerance with scenes of a Black Mass, seeming necrophilia, and the methodical removal of a man's skin. Boris Karloff is sleekly sinister as the head Satanist in this dark drama set in a gorgeous Bauhaus-inspired mansion. Moving on in the series, Tommy Turner's Where Evil Dwells is a highlight of the Jan. 23 show. This 1985 featurette is narrated by a vicious ventriloquist's dummy and shows a variety of hellish tableaux -- or is that just the New York subway? Of course, no satanic series would be complete without that modern-day devil, Charlie Manson. On Jan. 30, Mansonites can enjoy Jim VanBebber's work in progress (for 10 years!), Charlie's Family. This is probably the most trashily accurate re-creation ever of what the film's newsman-narrator (who's murdered by these unpredictable scamps) calls "the evil few that forever poisoned the love generation!"
-- Gary Morris
"Say You Love Satan!" screens at 8 p.m. (Black Cat screens separately at 10 p.m.) on Friday, Jan. 16, at Center for the Arts, 701 Mission (at Third Street, in Yerba Buena Gardens). See Reps Etc., Page 66, for a complete schedule. Tickets are $6; call 978-2787.