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Spectacular Optical Announces Upcoming Second Book:

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. This new anthology, expected to be released in summer 2015, follows on the success of KID POWER!, Spectacular Optical’s inaugural book about cool, tough and sassy kids in cult film and television.

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.

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.

The book’s launch in summer 2015 will be accompanied by screenings and panel events in multiple cities. Stay tuned for more developments on that front, as well as a full table of contents list to be announced later this spring. Please see attached for cover art, which will be printed with metallic silver ink on black matte.


About Spectacular Optical:
Headed up by film writer and programmer Kier-La Janisse (House of Psychotic Women) with managing editor Paul Corupe (, Spectacular Optical is a new Canadian indie press that specializes in film and pop culture books, in addition to commissioning articles, essays and interviews for the Spectacular Optical website on a year-round basis.

For more information or to sign up for review copies, please contact Kier-La Janisse at






About the author:

Kier-La Janisse

Kier-La Janisse is a film writer and programmer, Owner/Artistic Director of Spectacular Optical Publications and founder of The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies. She has been a programmer for the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, co-founded Montreal microcinema Blue Sunshine, founded the CineMuerte Horror Film Festival (1999-2005) in Vancouver, was the Festival Director of Monster Fest in Melbourne, Australia and was the subject of the documentary Celluloid Horror (2005). She is the author of A Violent Professional: The Films of Luciano Rossi (FAB Press, 2007) and House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films (FAB Press, 2012) and contributed to Destroy All Movies!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film (Fantagraphics, 2011), Recovering 1940s Horror: Traces of a Lost Decade (Lexington, 2014) The Canadian Horror Film: Terror of the Soul (University of Toronto Press, 2015) and We Are the Martians: The Legacy of Nigel Kneale (PS Press, 2017). She co-edited and published the anthology books KID POWER! (Spectacular Optical, 2014), Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s (Spectacular Optical, 2015) and Lost Girls: The Phantasmagorical Cinema of Jean Rollin (2017), and is co-editing Yuletide Terror: Christmas Horror on Film and Television for release in late 2017. She is currently writing A Song From the Heart Beats the Devil Every Time: Children’s Programming and the Counterculture, 1965-1985, monographs about Monte Hellman’s Cockfighter and Patricia Birch’s Grease 2, and is in development on a TV series based on her book House of Psychotic Women with Rook Films.



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