Spectacular Optical Launches Pre-Orders for Satanic Panic: Pop Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s


Spectacular Optical’s Kier-La Janisse & Paul Corupe have launched an IndieGoGo pre-order campaign for the second book in the Spectacular Optical Publications series, Satantic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s. In addition to the book of likely essential essays on the odd phenomenon and its pop culture waves, the pre-orders include special editions that come complete with a Rick Trembles-crafted fake Christian comic tract, a back patch, a fake Evangelical t-shirt and more. 

Headed up by film writer and programmer Kier-La Janisse (the essential House of Psychotic Women) and managing editor Paul Corupe (Canuxploitation), indie press Spectacular Optical launched its book arm last year with Kid Power!, a series of essays on rad tykes in cult film and TV (including Italian horror mainstay Nicoletta Elmi and more). This Summer, they unleash Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s

Featuring a stellar roster of writers including Janisse, Corupe, Flavorwire and Shock Till You Drop contributor Alison Nastasi, Twitch’s Dave Canfield, Rape Revenge Films: A Critical Study author Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and more, “Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s features 20 new essays and interviews addressing the ways the widespread fear of a Satanic conspiracy was both illuminated and propagated through almost every pop culture pathway in the 1980s, from heavy metal music to Dungeons & Dragons role playing games, Christian comics, direct-to-VHS scare films, pulp paperbacks, Saturday morning cartoons, TV talk shows and even home computers. The book also features case studies on McMartin, Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth and Long Island “acid king” killer Ricky Kasso. From con artists to pranksters and moralists to martyrs, the book aims to capture the untold story of the how the Satanic Panic was fought on the pop culture frontlines and the serious consequences it had for many involved.”

Janisse and Corupe wrtie, “In the 1980s, it seemed impossible to escape Satan’s supposed influence. Everywhere you turned, there were warnings about a widespread evil conspiracy to indoctrinate the vulnerable through the media they consumed. This percolating cultural hysteria, now known as the “Satanic Panic,” not only sought to convince us of devils lurking behind the dials of our TVs and radios and the hellfire that awaited on book and video store shelves, it also created its own fascinating cultural legacy of Satan-battling VHS tapes, audio cassettes and literature. The second book by Canadian micro-publisher Spectacular Optical, Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s, offers an unprecedented and in-depth exploration of how a controversial culture war played out during the decade, from the publication of the memoir Michelle Remembers in 1980 to the end of the McMartin “Satanic Ritual Abuse” Trial in 1990. 

As with Kid Power!, Satanic Panic will launch (this summer) with a series of accompanying screenings and panels in multiple cities. For instance, Kid Power!’sBugsy Malone event at Fantastic Fest saw a fucking post-film pie fight. Who knows what’s in store for Satanic Panic?

Below, find the full roster of contributors and cover art. If you’d like to pre-order and learn more about Satanic Panic, visit IndieGoGo.

Satanic Panic’s roster of contributing authors and media critics includes Gavin Baddeley (Lucifer Rising: Sin, Devil Worship and Rock n’ Roll), Liisa Ladouceur (Encyclopedia Gothica), David Flint (Sheer Filth), Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (Rape Revenge Films: A Critical Study), Adrian Mack (The Georgia Straight), Forrest Jackson (Cosmic Suicide: The Tragedy and Transcendence of Heaven’s Gate), Alison Nastasi (Flavorwire), Leslie Hatton (Popshifter), David Canfield (Twitch), David Bertrand (Fangoria; Spectacular Optical), Alison Lang (Rue Morgue)Kevin L. Ferguson (Queens College/CUNY), Wm Conley (Deathwound), Kurt Halfyard (Twitch), Samm Deighan (Satanic Pandemonium), Stacey Rusnak (The Postnational Fantasy: Essays on Postcolonialism, Cosmopolitics and Science Fiction), Ralph Elawani (C’est complet au royaume des morts), Gil Nault (Liturgie apocryphe) and Joshua Graham, alongside co-editors Kier-La Janisse (House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films) and Paul Corupe (Canuxploitation). The book will also feature comic art by Rick Trembles (Motion Picture Purgatory) and original illustrations by Toronto artist Mike McDonnell.

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