Teenage Satanism In The 1980s: VHS-Era Christian Hysteria

More moral panic and slanderous claims from the religious fundamentalist grifters of the Satanic Panic era.

It’s that time again when we unearth 1980s Satanic Panic video productions from fundamentalist Christians, gullible news broadcasters and thick-as-mince police forces for your viewing displeasure.

First up is Satan Exposed, which trots out all the classic tropes about heavy metal, witchcraft, porn, Dungeons and Dragons, New Age beliefs, Ouija boards, astrology and just about anything else that the fundies disapprove of as it digs out the same old cases of Satanic murder (that are remarkable because they are so rare, unlike crimes committed by the members of more mainstream religions that are so all-pervasive that they have become clichés). Guiding us through all this is Ben Alexander, “former spiritual medium” who immediately spells out just why this video might have been made, referencing the infamous Geraldo Rivera TV special about Satanism – never let it be said that evangelicals don’t know how to cash in on a trend.

Unfortunately, this video is little more than a lecture from the personality vacuum Alexander, though it’s worth sticking with for his guide to parents on how to spot signs of Satan worship amongst your teens – which of course is standard teenage rebellion stuff that actually has no occult connection

As a livelier bonus feature, here’s the ever-reliable Bob Larson popping up in 1990 with his documentary In the Name of Satan, which opens with shocking claims and shocking images (seriously: animal lovers approach with caution) about ritual sacrifice and the explosion in Satanic abuse, before he then trots out all the usual Satanic Panic tropes including the somewhat dubious claim that the McMartin preschool case – where, as he is forced to concede, no one was found guilty after a long and hysterical trial – was “botched by the authorities.” And indeed it was, but not in the way he thinks. Cases like this remain a stain on the criminal justice system, where literal witch hunts took place based on the flimsiest of evidence. The documentary is a classic example of false and twisted memories, implanted by religious extremist therapists into the minds of disturbed individuals. You rather hope that somewhere along the lines, the people interviewed here got some real therapy and were able to patch up shattered relationships – but we know that this rarely happened. Of course, hucksters like Larson and other fundamentalists knew all along that this was all bullshit, but the stories served the purposes.

Anyway, strap yourself in – this is quite the experience.

Remember, the Satanic Panic is back in full force with the QAnon and anti-vax movements. This is not, as many suggest, ancient history…

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