I don’t even know how to categorize Satan Hates You. It’s sort of grindhouse, sort of exploitation, sort of campy and funny. It’s kind of gross with horrible situations, but not really horror. It has even been accused of being a religious propaganda film!
Basically, it’s two stories. There’s a slutty, druggy, party chick who gets pregnant and has an abortion. Then there’s a clean cut, reserved, self-loathing gay dude who kills anyone with gaydar. The film could have been called The Whore and the Homo.
Serving as their consciences, we have two wisecracking devils wearing their best Party City costumes. They stand on the sidelines relishing the sins they tempt the whore and the homo to commit. In contrast, every television is tuned to an evangelistic voice of God: Angus “The Tall Man” Scrimm!
Satan Hates You is very cartoonish in its presentation, so there’s not much in the way of shocking here. However, when the whore goes for her back alley abortion, it’s a gruesome PSA. There are terrifying tools, incessant screaming, a “waste” jar, the doctor instructing his assistant to throw “it” in the garbage…and then a tiny hand moving in the jar. It’s like moral messaging through exploitative cinema.
The homo is so fucked up and self-loathing because religion taught him hate. The devils love his murderous hatred, not his gayness. Reggie Bannister (who never reunites with The Tall Man on screen) tells him it’s okay to be gay. A nice young Christian man comforts him and tells him that Jesus loves him no matter what. The only one who has a problem with him is Michael “The Hills Have Eyes” Berryman, who plays a satirical Bible-thumping caricature.
Despite the seemingly heavy moral and religious themes that are tackled, the film is very tongue-in-cheek (especially the homo’s storyline). There are random Dungeons & Dragons geeks, the homo beats one of his tricks to death with a Bible, a cheesy demon visits when the whore plays with a Ouija board, and there are cameos by scream queens Debbie Rochon and Alan Row Kelly. There’s even an animated narration of the story of the crucifixion.
In the end, the whore challenges Angus Scrimm about why God allows so much evil in the world and the homo learns that if you accept Christ, even at the last minute of your life, all is forgiven. There’s nothing pro-religion about it. And the last few minutes of the film demonstrate God’s wicked sense of humor….
Interestingly, for as whacked as Satan Hates You is, director James Felix McKenney has moved on—and directed the fairly cheesy creature feature Hypothermia, which will most likely find its way to the SyFy Network any day now….