Though the premise of the film is intriguing, the film itself is deeply flawed. In the opening scenes, Professor Howard Birack (Wong) looks into the daytime sky to watch the moon and the sun come together for an eclipse. That night, student Brian Marsh (Jameson Parker), looks up at the full moon. This scene is actually repeated during the film. Not astronomically possible.
We are supposed to believe that Jameson Parker’s character as well as his love interest are college students even though both were 30 years old at the time and show their age.
Donald Pleasance, playing a Roman Catholic priest, types out a letter and his hands are clearly not on the keyboard.
When Pleasance's Father Loomis (he is named only in the script) and Professor Birack enter the crypt under the church, there are candles burning…hundreds of them and yet the church has been deserted for days if not weeks. The film is full of these fun little flaws.
|Donald Pleasance brings a presence that without him would just be a silly little movie|
- The premise of the film solidly embraces the sheer materialism of H.P. Lovecraft in that all metaphysical and supernatural phenomenons are nothing more than science taking place on a quantum level where it can be analyzed and understood. Satan has a physical reality. Jesus was nothing more than a physical being from another planet or dimension who tried to warn Earth about Satan.
- Satan's father was "a god who once walked the earth before Man that was somehow banished to the dark side," a description very similar to the gods of Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos.
- The Brotherhood of Sleep, a secret Roman Catholic order that has the job of overlooking the incarnation of Satan (a large eerie crystal tube of swirling green liquid).
- The Brotherhood has a big weird book written in Latin, Coptic, Greek, and “numbers” reminiscent of Lovecraft’s famous Necronomicon.
- The universe is not a safe place for humans or logic. From a lecture by Professor Birack: "Say goodbye to classical reality because our logic collapses on the subatomic level into ghosts and shadows... While order does exist in the universe, it is not at all what we had in mind."
- Dreams are a gateway to other realities. When asleep, characters receive messages from the year 1999 via “tachyon transmissions” warning them of the impending global disaster coming from within the church itself.
- And the atmosphere of the film with its increasing dread where a team of professionals (like Lovecraft's professors at his Miskatonic University) fight a malignant force.
|This is Satan. Really.|
All in all, I cannot recommend the film, but for some people like me, spotting the rare gem amongst the gravel makes the movie an interesting momentary diversion.
|Out of 13 characters, guess which four live to see the end of the film.|