News News TV | Written by Laura Potier 08/08/2022

Satanic Panic Thriller HYSTERIA! Gets Series Order

Peacock has handed a straight-to-series order to Hysteria!, a coming-of-age drama-thriller about the '80s Satanic Panic. The series hails from writer Matthew Scott Kane and Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves filmmakers John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein.

Hysteria! will explore the U.S.'s strange and often dark history of mass hysteria through the shocking story of the teenage Satanic Panic. Per the official logline, when a beloved varsity quarterback disappears, a struggling high school heavy metal band of outcasts realise they can capitalise on the town’s sudden interest in the occult by building a reputation as a Satanic metal band, until a bizarre series of murders, kidnappings, and reported “supernatural activity” triggers a leather-studded witch hunt that leads directly back to them.

“Our upcoming thriller series Hysteria! will explore the complex world of the Satanic Panic, set amidst ‘80s nostalgia, mystery, heavy metal, and an all-American setting,” said Lisa Katz of NBCUniversal Television and Streaming.

As recently touched on by Stranger Things' fourth season, the Satanic Panic began in the U.S. in the early '80s with thousands of unfounded cases of Satanic ritualistic abuse and would, within just a few years, spread worldwide. The moral panic is thought to have originated with the publication of Michelle Remembers, a book co-written by Canadian psychiatrist Lawrence Pazder and his patient (and future wife, ethics be damned!) Michelle Smith, which used the discredited practice of recovered-memory therapy to make claims about satanic ritual abuse involving Smith.

At its most extreme, the Satanic Panic has manifested via the belief in a global conspiracy of a Satanic cult that includes the wealthy and powerful elite, in which (for example) children are abducted or bred for human sacrifices, pornography, and prostitution. Experts often view QAnon as the latest iteration of this unfounded and paranoid conspiracy.