"That's the duality of rock and roll."
The modern day rock band The Relentless, helmed by 23-year-old Johnny Faust and comprised of members half from the US and half from England, are thrust into the seedy underbelly of rock-and-roll as their mysterious benefactor, Mr. Capricorn, elevates them into icons. The only catch?
He's the Devil, and he's got some plans with The Relentless.
American Satan is the directorial debut of the indie-metal record label Sumerian Records's CEO, Ash Avildsen, and stars Black Veil Brides frontman Andy Biersack, Ben Bruce of Asking Alexandria, Booboo Stewart, John Bradley, and Malcolm McDowell. It premiered in theaters in October 2017 with a limited release.
American Satan also serves as a Pilot Movie to the series Paradise City, which follows the aftermath of the events of the film. The series began streaming on Amazon Prime in March 2021.
American Satan includes the following tropes:
- Actor Allusion: A lot of the cast members that play musicians are, in fact, musicians.
- All Women Are Lustful: As with any retelling of Faust, almost all the women in the film are shown to be heavily attracted to Johnny, to the point to where a mother straight up offers her daughter's virginity to him.
- An Aesop: Be Careful What You Wish For with a dose of Celebrity Is Overrated.
- Anti-Hero: Johnny.
- Asshole Victim: Damien.
- Awesome McCoolname: The Devil himself. He's eschewed all other titles, like Lucifer and Satan, in favor of Mr. Capricorn.
- Johnny Faust.
- Break the Cutie: Poor Johnny.
- The Cast Showoff: Averted with Andy Biersack. While he himself is a singer in a rock band in real life, he doesn't sing in the film due to restrictions placed by his record label. Remington Leith of Palaye Royale does all of Johnny's vocals, and their song "Mr. Doctor Man" is featured in the film. Palaye Royale is signed to Sumerian Records.
- Chewing the Scenery: Malcom McDowell isn't just chewing the scenery, he is voraciously devouring it.
- Deal with the Devil: This is the entire plot.
- Expy: Johnny Faust is both one for Johann Faust and for the actor that plays him. Johnny dropped out of college and moved from Ohio to Los Angeles to start a band with the hopes of big success. Andy Biersack was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, and dropped out of high school to move to Los Angeles to achieve fame with Black Veil Brides.
- Faustian Rebellion: Natch, this happens during the climax.
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: Gabriel and Mr. Capricorn, respectively.
- Kill the Cutie: Poor, poor Ricky...
- Magical Negro: Gabriel (yes, that Gabriel) is an elderly black man that only shows up to guide Johnny through his journey.
- Moral Event Horizon: For the whole band, it's the ritualistic killing of Damien. For Johnny, he just keeps crossing it.
- The New Rock & Roll: The Devil takes credit for all the rock and roll legends, including Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones.
- New Technology is Evil: According to Mr. Capricorn, the reason the first Mac computer was released for $666.66 and featured the logo of a bitten apple was because Steve Jobs made a deal with the devil.
- Playing Against Type: Damien, the foul mouthed alleged rapist and possibly the son of the Devil, is played by none other than...Nickelodeon heartthrob Drake fucking Bell?
- Shout-Out: So many.
- Johnny Faust and his girlfriend Gretchen. Given that the film is a Whole Plot Reference of Goethe's version of Faust, this makes sense.
- Mr. Capricorn. The symbol for Capricorn is a stag or ibex, which is heavily associated with Satanic symbols and devil worship (most prominently Baphomet).
- The reveal that Damien is Mr. Capricorn's son is not even slightly surprising to anyone that's seen The Omen.
- Lily is very obviously a shoutout to Lilith.
- The Satanic Brothel orgy is a shoutout to Eyes Wide Shut
- Twice-Told Tale: If Johnny's name wasn't enough of a dead giveaway, it's a modern retelling of Goethe's "Faust".
- Wham Line: There are several, and fittingly, they're all delivered by The Devil.
- "Johnny, you might as well go and phone your mother."