Christian televangelist Larson’s 1989 interview with Zeena and Nikolas Schreck in Denver, Colorado was his first face-to-face encounter with genuine Satanists.
The film debuted in the presence of President George Herbert Walker Bush at the Religious Broadcasters Convention.
By the time the film was released on video in 1990 the Schrecks had already broken with LaVey and the Church of Satan. Nonetheless, having the ice broken by the Schrecks, the remaining Church of Satan representatives leaped at the opportunity to follow in their footsteps, pitching Larson for revolving guest spots on his radio show. Sadly none managed the Schrecks' decorum and diplomacy.
Disclaimer: Shortly after the taping, the Schrecks renounced the egocentric, social Darwinian LaVeyan party line expressed in The First Family of Satanism. Many uninformed viewers have wrongly assumed that this 1989 interview reflects the Schrecks' current philosophy, which it does not.
The following excerpt is from an interview with Nikolas Schreck for the Book Charles Manson: Le Gourou du rock. Interview with Christophe Lorentz, © 2008 Camion Noir.
Christophe Lorentz: It seems that you also appeared, along with Zeena, in a TV show called The First Family of Satan, hosted by Bob Larson. What can you tell me about that? When was it?
Nikolas Schreck: That was filmed in 1989 and released in 1990, the peak of the religious right-wing regime led by Reagan and Bush Sr., and the high point of the so-called ”Satanic Panic” that found Christian-controlled media and law enforcement whipping up mass hysteria directed against practitioners of all non-Christian religions in America. I think it would be hard for the French, who, in the 18th century, had already rejected the kind of fundamentalist Christian fanaticism that still holds such sway in the United States, to even imagine what the atmosphere was like in America for people like Zeena and myself during the time of that government sanctioned witch burning panic.
Before the neo-conservative factions of the US government invented the so-called War on Islamic Terror, it fought the War on Imaginary Satanic Crime, which was really just a part of the same paranoid crusade mentality. The USA hadn’t made it to the 18th century yet, it was still in the Middle Ages. At the time, Zeena was one of very few practicing magicians who actually had the guts to go out in public and debate the religious right face to face, rather than passively accept the insane accusations of child sacrifice and Satanic crime they were selling to the public. Bob Larson was one of the leading televangelists back then, and his specialty was educating his flock about the dangers of Satanism. The only problem was he had never actually met a real live Satanist. He invited Zeena, who was then the highly visible High Priestess of the Church of Satan, to debate him in a special video that would be given to his parishioners in return for their ”love gifts” or donations to his ministry. She agreed to represent the Church of Satan on the program, if Larson would agree to show that there was more than just the CoS fighting as a unified front against the Christian dictatorship. She asked me if I’d be willing to appear with her as representative of the Werewolf Order, which, of course, she also led, but it would have been too complicated for her to represent two organizations at once. As a matter of fact, that was Zeena’s last public appearance before she resigned from her family and the family business. We were the first magicians to actually go head to head with Bob Larson, and in a way, I think our appearance on that particular show had a lot to do with defanging the Satanic Panic, since the nonsense the right-wing Christians were spreading suddenly seemed very weak when they were forced to present their accusations to real live human beings who would talk back to them and disprove their lies and fantasies.
We agreed to appear on Larson’s program not only because it was necessary that that time to defend ourselves against the groundless charges of murder and ritual abuse we were bombarded with back then, but because we thought it was ironic and amusing that Bob Larson, who made a career out of fighting Devil Worship, was cynical enough to pay us, the alleged epitome of evil, a large sum of money to appear in his film. A deal with the Devil if ever there was one! We actually got to know Bob pretty well over the years, and I have to say of all the Christian crusaders we dealt with in those years, as a human being, off the camera and behind the scenes, he was a decent and intelligent person. To give you some idea of the deeply political nature of the religious right in the USA in 1990, I should mention that then-President George Bush (Sr.) was in the audience for The First Family of Satanism’s premiere at the National Association of Religious Broadcasters!
By the way, just to demystify anyone who thinks there’s anything glamorous about all this, every penny of our fee from that appearance, which was several thousand dollars, went towards paying the tuition for the expensive and elite private school to which Zeena sent her ungrateful juvenile delinquent son. However, despite all of Zeena’s never ending attempts and sacrifices to provide the best possible education for him, he was already well on his way to the violent psychotic break that would eventually lead to him frequently threatening his mother’s life, lying about her, and being reduced to robbing old men at gun point. So that was the disastrous and futile end result of the tainted money Bob Larson paid us in our Faustian bargain. The moral is: don’t take money from your ideological opponents and hand it over to unworthy lost causes.