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Here's to My Sweet Satan: How the Occult Haunted Music, Movies and Pop Culture, 1966-1980

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A sweeping and masterful cultural history, “Here’s to My Sweet Satan” tells how the Occult conquered the American imagination, weaving together topics as diverse as the birth of heavy metal, 1970s horror films, the New Age movement, Count Chocula cereal, the serial killer Son of Sam, and more. Cultural critic George Case explores how the Occult craze permanently changed Am A sweeping and masterful cultural history, “Here’s to My Sweet Satan” tells how the Occult conquered the American imagination, weaving together topics as diverse as the birth of heavy metal, 1970s horror films, the New Age movement, Count Chocula cereal, the serial killer Son of Sam, and more. Cultural critic George Case explores how the Occult craze permanently changed American society, creating the cultural framework for the political power of the religious right, false accusations of Satanic child abuse, and today’s widespread rejection of science and rationality. An insightful blend of pop culture and social history, “Here’s to My Sweet Satan” lucidly explains how the most technological society on earth became enthralled by the supernatural.


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A sweeping and masterful cultural history, “Here’s to My Sweet Satan” tells how the Occult conquered the American imagination, weaving together topics as diverse as the birth of heavy metal, 1970s horror films, the New Age movement, Count Chocula cereal, the serial killer Son of Sam, and more. Cultural critic George Case explores how the Occult craze permanently changed Am A sweeping and masterful cultural history, “Here’s to My Sweet Satan” tells how the Occult conquered the American imagination, weaving together topics as diverse as the birth of heavy metal, 1970s horror films, the New Age movement, Count Chocula cereal, the serial killer Son of Sam, and more. Cultural critic George Case explores how the Occult craze permanently changed American society, creating the cultural framework for the political power of the religious right, false accusations of Satanic child abuse, and today’s widespread rejection of science and rationality. An insightful blend of pop culture and social history, “Here’s to My Sweet Satan” lucidly explains how the most technological society on earth became enthralled by the supernatural.

30 review for Here's to My Sweet Satan: How the Occult Haunted Music, Movies and Pop Culture, 1966-1980

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kassy Nicholson

    Despite the sensational title, this was a really interesting look at the 60's and 70's obsession with the occult. This being a little bit before my time, I had never really noticed this cultural trend before. Having previously read about the Victorians' obsession with spiritualism, this was kind of another instance of "everything old is new again" for me. I really enjoy learning about these types of historical trends. Despite the sensational title, this was a really interesting look at the 60's and 70's obsession with the occult. This being a little bit before my time, I had never really noticed this cultural trend before. Having previously read about the Victorians' obsession with spiritualism, this was kind of another instance of "everything old is new again" for me. I really enjoy learning about these types of historical trends.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    An interesting pop culture history that's evocative without being very explanatory. I like how this put Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist in their proper contexts, as two very different books filmed by two very different directors. The story peters out just when it gets to the part of the phenomenon that I'm most familiar with, the late 80s & early 90s. An interesting pop culture history that's evocative without being very explanatory. I like how this put Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist in their proper contexts, as two very different books filmed by two very different directors. The story peters out just when it gets to the part of the phenomenon that I'm most familiar with, the late 80s & early 90s.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Angie and the Daily Book Dose

    Here's to My Sweet Satan is a sweet little book. The author traces the rise of the occult in popular culture from the 1960's to the early 80's. The book read to me as more an essay but a well written one. The book divided music, film, and the written word to follow the course of the inclusion of Crowley, Lovecraft, Tolkien and the like into the common discourse of culture. The book hits all the high points; Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, the books and movies of The Exorcist and Rosemary's Baby. Ad Here's to My Sweet Satan is a sweet little book. The author traces the rise of the occult in popular culture from the 1960's to the early 80's. The book read to me as more an essay but a well written one. The book divided music, film, and the written word to follow the course of the inclusion of Crowley, Lovecraft, Tolkien and the like into the common discourse of culture. The book hits all the high points; Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, the books and movies of The Exorcist and Rosemary's Baby. Additionally throwing in the antics of self styled practitioners Anton Le Vey and modern day gurus and witches. From a personal standpoint the author mentioned some lesser known gems of fiction in the horror genre I'm excited to check out. The only drawback was the book was too short. I would have preferred more in depth analysis, but that shouldn't detract the casual reader.

  4. 4 out of 5

    George K. Ilsley

    A very strange book, and in places, very poorly written. The chosen time frame (1966 to 1980) is artificial and Case argues against its relevance right from the start, when he talks about Crowley being a media sensation. He also mentions the golden age of monster movie and pulp fiction, which were decades before the 1960's. The point is the themes of this book come and go in waves and this book's focus on 1966-1980 is not the least bit convincing. It does not help to take pages just listing book A very strange book, and in places, very poorly written. The chosen time frame (1966 to 1980) is artificial and Case argues against its relevance right from the start, when he talks about Crowley being a media sensation. He also mentions the golden age of monster movie and pulp fiction, which were decades before the 1960's. The point is the themes of this book come and go in waves and this book's focus on 1966-1980 is not the least bit convincing. It does not help to take pages just listing book titles and movie titles in an attempt to overwhelm the reader with "evidence". One could just as easily list dozens of titles from another era. Case's bucket of "occult" accepts everything (that is, everything that is not Christian), including eastern religions and meditation. He downplays the influence of marketing and the desire for profit as a motive (even though this book title is also guilty of sensational marketing). For example, even though Alice Cooper admits the show is just an act, Case seems to discount that possibility. However, the last section of the book (post 1980) seems to have been written by someone else. The new writer does not see the occult anywhere! Teenagers kill another in Long Island -- they are just bored. The Manson family? No, they were just druggies acting out. It is extraordinary how this book evolves from one that sees the occult in every crystal to one that does not see occult influence anywhere. As I said, it is one strange book. Only 158 pages of text, and even that is padded by repetition and lists. Despite the brevity, there are such gems as this sentence which follows a discussion of TM: "Even today, the word 'mantra' has become synonymous with any word repeatedly invoked for near-holy purposes." This is like watching a 1970's TV western and then declaring "Even today, the word horse has become synonymous with a large mammal with hooves used for transportation." One requires a framework entirely free from a sense of history in order to make such observations.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Shaffer

    Not enough Satan.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Aurora Dimitre

    So this was really interesting. It took a look at the occult movements during the late 20th century, and it was super super interesting. I feel like I learned a lot, even though I was aware of most of the things that it was talking about, and there were definitely chapters that I liked more than others, but overall, it was just fascinating. I'm really glad that I got my hands on it, and more than that, I'm really glad that it's a book I own rather than just borrowed from the library, because So this was really interesting. It took a look at the occult movements during the late 20th century, and it was super super interesting. I feel like I learned a lot, even though I was aware of most of the things that it was talking about, and there were definitely chapters that I liked more than others, but overall, it was just fascinating. I'm really glad that I got my hands on it, and more than that, I'm really glad that it's a book I own rather than just borrowed from the library, because it was interesting. One thing that I think would've been an interesting thin to mention though, a big event that took place during this time that wasn't exactly occult, but a cult and also deals a little bit with the hyper-religion thing, is Jonestown and that whole deal. But Case mentioned a lot of other stuff, and it's a short book. But it would've been interesting to see if he thought that fit in with anything, because I do think it fits in with some of the stuff he talked about here.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    "Here's to My Sweet Satan" was a spooky romp through the rise of the occult from the late 60s to the early 1980s. Touching on a range of topics pertaining to the occult's infiltration of popular culture - film, literature, television, comics, childrens' toys and breakfast cereals, mainstream media - this book was a delight to read. While no stone was left unturned - the author covered film (The Exorcist, The Omen, The Amityville Horror, countless B-grade flicks), television (The Twilight Zone, N "Here's to My Sweet Satan" was a spooky romp through the rise of the occult from the late 60s to the early 1980s. Touching on a range of topics pertaining to the occult's infiltration of popular culture - film, literature, television, comics, childrens' toys and breakfast cereals, mainstream media - this book was a delight to read. While no stone was left unturned - the author covered film (The Exorcist, The Omen, The Amityville Horror, countless B-grade flicks), television (The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, Dark Shadows, even Scooby Doo), literature (the rise of Stephen King), mass culture (the Satanic Panic of the early 1980s, the increased popularity of "alternative" religions like Wicca, D&D) - at only 155 pages I would have liked to seen each topic gone into a bit deeper. Recommended for those who enjoy learning about the occult through the lens of popular culture. 3.75 stars.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Matt Musselman

    I was interested in this book for more background on the "Satanomania" that struck my hometown and much of the US in the late 80s and early 90s. Some passages were informative and well written (particularly the parts about the history of Anton LaVey's Church of Satan), but even those felt very rushed, and much of the rest of the book seemed to consist mostly of lists of song titles, book titles, and movie titles, with little context or explanation. It's not surprise that the index is half as long I was interested in this book for more background on the "Satanomania" that struck my hometown and much of the US in the late 80s and early 90s. Some passages were informative and well written (particularly the parts about the history of Anton LaVey's Church of Satan), but even those felt very rushed, and much of the rest of the book seemed to consist mostly of lists of song titles, book titles, and movie titles, with little context or explanation. It's not surprise that the index is half as long as the main content of the book, because the book itself reads more like an index than prose. At any rate, I learned a bit about the subject matter. Perhaps the author will get a future chance to take another run at the material, with more time and room to flesh it out and develop more of a documentary-like narrative to guide the information. I would enjoy that.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    This book wasn’t quite how I expected it to be. It was rather boring if I’m honest, and doesn’t actually explain the backlash of most of these occult happenings, which I thought the entire book was supposed about. Instead it just gives a bunch of lists, repeats itself at some points, then at the very end describes a liiiiiiiittle bit of the backlash the occult caused. I’m very eh about this read. Didn’t hate it, didn’t love it. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it but I wouldn’t completely discre This book wasn’t quite how I expected it to be. It was rather boring if I’m honest, and doesn’t actually explain the backlash of most of these occult happenings, which I thought the entire book was supposed about. Instead it just gives a bunch of lists, repeats itself at some points, then at the very end describes a liiiiiiiittle bit of the backlash the occult caused. I’m very eh about this read. Didn’t hate it, didn’t love it. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it but I wouldn’t completely discredit it either.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Victor Castillo Rodriguez

    Un ameno recorrido por el origen de los elementos ocultistas en la cultura pop contemporánea, ya sea en libros (La semilla del diablo, El exorcista) ,películas (La profecía), música (Black Sabbath) o simplemente en la vida real (las dudosas aventuras de gente como Anton LaVey o Charles Manson). Su visión transversal es de agradecer pero a veces mete tantos datos que parece que el autor esté solamente enumerando para cumplir un cupo. No obstante, es una muy buena lectura y la recomiendo si os int Un ameno recorrido por el origen de los elementos ocultistas en la cultura pop contemporánea, ya sea en libros (La semilla del diablo, El exorcista) ,películas (La profecía), música (Black Sabbath) o simplemente en la vida real (las dudosas aventuras de gente como Anton LaVey o Charles Manson). Su visión transversal es de agradecer pero a veces mete tantos datos que parece que el autor esté solamente enumerando para cumplir un cupo. No obstante, es una muy buena lectura y la recomiendo si os interesa el tema y la época.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Pia

    Good overview / introduction of the various bands, movies, children's entertainment and other ways that fascination with the occult manifested itself in US society between 1966-80, with a metric ton of further reading options for anyone who wants to know more about a particular topic. Anyone already extensively familiar with any of the areas the book covers probably won't find any new insights or information, though. Good overview / introduction of the various bands, movies, children's entertainment and other ways that fascination with the occult manifested itself in US society between 1966-80, with a metric ton of further reading options for anyone who wants to know more about a particular topic. Anyone already extensively familiar with any of the areas the book covers probably won't find any new insights or information, though.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Akira Watts

    Basically, less a book advancing much of an argument than it is one containing long lists of things, mostly American things, that were somehow related to the 'occult.' Somewhere around the discussion of occult themed Hot Wheels I began to lose patience. By the time I got to the last chapter, featuring some rather poorly researched statements about music, I'd had about enough. Badly written. Badly researched. Not much point to this one. Basically, less a book advancing much of an argument than it is one containing long lists of things, mostly American things, that were somehow related to the 'occult.' Somewhere around the discussion of occult themed Hot Wheels I began to lose patience. By the time I got to the last chapter, featuring some rather poorly researched statements about music, I'd had about enough. Badly written. Badly researched. Not much point to this one.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Patterson

    Basically a hard-bound pamphlet.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Appoline Piotrowski

    I would have given it 4 stars had I not immediately started reading Van Luijk's Childen of Lucifer, which deals on a similar subject, but with much more depth and research. This one, on comparison, appears somewhat lightweight and lacking in coherence. Although it is a good reference point to occult movies/books/etc. Of the era, and some titles given are really tantalising (To the devil - a daughter, Satan's school for girls...who wouldn't want to check out movies with titles like these?) Also, I would have given it 4 stars had I not immediately started reading Van Luijk's Childen of Lucifer, which deals on a similar subject, but with much more depth and research. This one, on comparison, appears somewhat lightweight and lacking in coherence. Although it is a good reference point to occult movies/books/etc. Of the era, and some titles given are really tantalising (To the devil - a daughter, Satan's school for girls...who wouldn't want to check out movies with titles like these?) Also, the author kept referencing my favourite bands in the chapter about music, and it made me very happy. All in all, an interesting look on the era, but not deep enough to be ground-breaking.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Hayley

    Confusingly written, more than anything. Disjointed paragraphs that speak of seemingly unrelated things. Some good information regarding the rise of occult in pop culture, but overall I came out of the book just... confused.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Adelaide Blair

    2.5

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michael Mahalchick

  18. 5 out of 5

    isa

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cinabru Hoffmann

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

  22. 5 out of 5

    Aj Michel

  23. 5 out of 5

    Yuri

  24. 5 out of 5

    Damien

  25. 5 out of 5

    Fernando Fernandes

  26. 5 out of 5

    Antonia

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gemma Moolman

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tammie Jean Ledoux-Moody

  30. 4 out of 5

    SheRa McGyver

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