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Look Out! Satan Wants You: The Cult of Devil Worship in America



Uncle Sam wanted you, and so did Satan!, circa 1988, when a grimacing, bald, goatee'd-human-gargoyle named Anton Szandor Lavey, stared straight into my eyes out of the pitch black background of the chilling cover of the book - the grotto-ish shadows of his eyes on me - me - seemingly calling all rebellious dweebs like me to buy it, the book, Satan Wants You, by Arthur Lyons. Foolishly, perhaps under the subliminal influence of LaVey's sinister satanic spell, I bought it.


Very disappointing read, I remember, spell or no spell. Who cares if Sammy Davis, Jr. spent some time as a converted satanist after he was a converted Jew? - or vice versa? I forget. Not me! Where were the disemboweled black cats, I wanted to know? The human sacrifices? The blood? The lighted candles at each point of the pentagram? The gore?

Instead, we get mediocre, sensationalized history of mostly the rather dull Church of Satan, rather than those, admittedly, less formally flamboyant, but far more wacky and, ergo, interesting, in my opinion, self-styled weirdo-gruesome-satanists so infamous throughout the 1980s.

Perhaps in 1988, the book was mildly compelling, so-so shocking (it gets a C- on my personal Shock Value Scale) but even then it reeked of the type of conspiratorial, spurious reportage spewed like untreated sewage by the National Enquirer. Today it's completely trivial, except as a novelty item or collectible for occultists. I review it only because Hallowe'en draws nigh. [Insert sound effect of mad, increasing in volume, Vincent Price type cackling].

And sorry, grainy black-and-white photos of the Black Mass just weren't very evocative to my lurid imagination wanting a good fright (simply wasn't scary! - not just the lame photos but the whole dang book - which was a huge bummer since my friends and I were hoping to get creeped out by it). Even Anton LaVey's (what feels like), eminently evil, omnipresent, iconic portraiture throughout the pages of this pulp, just didn't do anything for me either after awhile, as perhaps his features and me-me-me, faux, plagiarized philosophy might have done for me had I been around gettin' my groovy satanic groove on back in those Easy Rider days.

Back in the days when Charles Manson, mentioned as a satanic sidekick in the book ("sur-prize sur-prize sur-prize!" as Gomer Pyle might say), and an occult dabbler, abruptly extinguished the idea that the hippie-era, which spawned these satanic shysters, led by the former, alleged lion tamer himself, the evil incarnate carny, Anton LaVey, would go on free loving and tuning-in and turning-on and dropping-out (or wait, that's Timothy Leary's psychedelic spiel, not LaVeys, though LaVey's worldview, in essence, was similar) and casting their silly satanic spells forever. Didn't happen. And let's just pretend this "review" or opinion piece didn't happen either, and that I didn't read this stupid book a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away . . .

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