Satan Wants You delves deeply into the fallout of Michelle Remembers, the memoir of Michelle Smith as written by her therapist, Larry Pazder. Through their sessions together, Smith unraveled the terrifying story of her upbringing, sharing recovered memories of childhood abduction and baby-stealing Satanists. An instant best-seller, the book sparked a wildfire of Satanic dread around the world, leading to panic-stricken communities and wrongful arrests.
Directed by Steve J. Adams and Sean Horlor, Satan Wants You is a harrowing and horrifying journey into the origins of the Satanic Panic of the 1980s. This was a time where the Devil was believed to be behind every rock, ranging from heavy metal music to Anton LeVeigh. (What’s more, the most bone-chilling revelations within Satan may be the ways that this wave of panic is escalated—and even celebrated—by the church itself.)
By exploring the terror that gripped the world, Adams and Horlor open the Pandora’s Box of how easily we, as a culture, accept what we have been told from media outlets. As people latched onto the spiritual fear, few were asking questions about Smith and Pazder’s relationship or the stories that stemmed from their sessions. Instead of asking about truth, they threw themselves willingly into panic. (What’s more, Adams and Horlor also point out that, although one might hope that we had learned our lesson, in actuality, very little has changed over the last 40 years.) In this way, Satan is more than just the story of a moment in time. It is also a reflection on humanity’s ability to trust its media sources freely, rather than really look for the truth behind it.
Satan Wants You is now playing at Fantasia Fest ’23. For more information, click here.