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"Ave Satani" is the theme song to the film The Omen (1976) composed by Jerry Goldsmith. The Omen won the Academy Award for Best Original Score, with Ave Satani nominated for Best Original Song, one of the few foreign language (Latin) songs ever to be nominated.
The Latin title of Ave Satani (correct: Ave Satana) translates to "Hail Satan" in English. In an interview, Goldsmith says that his idea was to create a kind of Satanic version of a Gregorian chant and came up with ideas while talking with the London choir-master of the orchestra who was helping him. He decided to create something like a Black Mass, inverting Latin phrases from the Latin Mass. The choir-master, according to Goldsmith, was an expert in Latin and helped him come up with phrases; instead of saying "Hail Mary", they decided on "Hail Satan", and so on. The song contains various Latin phrases inverting Christ and the Mass, such as "Ave Versus Christi", meaning "Hail Anti-Christ", and "Corpus Satani", an inversion of "Corpus Christi", the body of Christ. The resulting lyrics are an inversion of the Roman Catholic rite of the consecration and elevation of the body and blood of Christ during the Mass (see Eucharist in the Catholic Church).
A version of the song has been produced by the band Fantômas, who altered some of the lyrics so that they mean "smallest blood, body spirit" rather than "we drink the blood, we eat the flesh," and added the word "Rotted". Other versions of the original song have been performed by the Italian vocalist Survio Tulio, and by Gregorian. It has been used in mixes of sinister music and such a concept was made into an album by Van Helsing's Curse involving Dee Snider and other musicians, entitled Oculus Infernum.
Latin lyrics and English meaning
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The choir master's Latin contains a number of errors. Below are the Latin phrases which are repeated throughout the music, with their intended meaning, and a more correct Latin version:
|Latin (as in the soundtrack)||Correct Latin||English translation|
|sanguis bebimus||sanguinem bibimus||We drink the blood|
|corpus edimus||corpus edimus||We eat the body|
|tolle corpus Satani||tolle corpus Satanae||Raise the body of Satan|
|ave, ave Versus Christus!||avē, avē Antichriste!||Hail, Hail Antichrist!|
|ave Satani!||avē Satana!||Hail Satan!|
- Jerry Goldsmith
- New Movies | Upcoming Movies | Ratings - New York Post Archived October 4, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- Interview with Goldsmith in the documentary The Omen Revealed, 20th Century Fox, 2000.
- Commentary: Album Reviews: Holiday albums. | Journal Record (Oklahoma City, OK) (, 2007)