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Satan Wants You – Fantasia 2023

Satan Wants You Fantasia
Combines horror and true crime in a chilling and darkly humorous account of the book that helped kick off the Satanic Panic.

Satan Wants You – Fantasia 2023

Runtime: 01:28
Synopsis:
It tells the story of how the Satanic Panic of the 1980s was ignited by “Michelle Remembers”, a memoir by psychiatrist and his patient. The book relied on recovered-memory therapy to uncover Michelle’s abduction by baby-stealing Satanists.

This review was originally published as part of my coverage of the 2023 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival

The story of a woman and a psychiatrist whose book helped kick off the 1980s Satanic Panic is told in . In 1976, Michelle Smith visited Dr. Laurence Pazder in Victoria, British Columbia. During their sessions, Dr. Pazder supposedly uncovers repressed memories from Michelle's childhood in the 1950s. She believes that she was kidnapped by a Satanic cult and forced to participate in horrific rituals. Michelle's recollections were documented in Dr. Pazder's 1980 book β€œMichelle Remembers,” the release of which helped to contribute to the period of Satanic hysteria in the 1980s and 1990s, now known as the Satanic Panic.

Satan Wants You Synopsis

Satan Wants You is a documentary directed by Sean Horlor and Steve J. Adams about Michelle Smith and her psychiatrist Dr. Laurence Pazder and how their book β€œMichelle Remembers” contributed to the 1980s Satanic Panic, to the point where the book was used as a checklist for other supposed cases of Satanic Ritual Abuse. The film utilizes reenactments to bring the audio recordings of Michelle Smith's horrific stories to life, with the Satanic Cult supposedly involved in the ritualistic sacrifice of babies. However, the film proceeds to dissect the legitimacy of this story and the harm the subsequent Satanic Panic caused.

My Thoughts on Satan Wants You

Satan Wants You begins by heavily emphasizing the horror of Michelle Smith's ordeal before evolving into more of a true crime documentary. While β€œMichelle Remembers” is probably not the sole cause of the Satanic Panic, it did end up providing a template for the other cases of supposed Satanic Cult activity, which not only resulted in innocent people going to prison but also insulted Anton LaVey's Church of Satan for spreading misinformation about Satanic worship. Satan Wants You is ultimately a chilling, yet somewhat darkly humourous, account of how one story can balloon into mass hysteria.

Trailer for Satan Wants You – Fantasia 2023

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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