Ahead of its world premiere at South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW), the very first teaser trailer for Satan Wants You has been released, the much-anticipated documentary from directors Sean Horlor and Steve J. Adams exploring the infamous Satanic Panic that swept through 1980s America.

Satan Wants You tells the story of how the Satanic Panic began with “Michelle Remembers,” a lurid memoir by psychiatrist Larry Pazder and his patient (and future wife, ’cause that’s ethics for ya) Michelle Smith. Supported by the Catholic Church, the bestselling book relied on the discredited practice of recovered-memory therapy to uncover Michelle’s alleged childhood abduction by baby-stealing Satanists.

Despite the fact that all contemporary investigations into the book failed to corroborate any of its claims, “amplified by law enforcement and America’s Daytime TV boom, satanic rumours spread through panic-stricken communities across the world, leaving a wave of destruction and wrongful convictions in their wake. This film digs deep into the roots of moral panics and cult conspiracies, showing how these events still affect and distort our reality today.”

The 1980 book chronicles therapy sessions between Pazder and Smith and alleged recovered memories of satanic rituals she was forced to attend as a young child. Pazder claimed that his patient was abused by the “Church of Satan,” a worldwide cult that predated the Christian church. The first ritual attended by Smith was said to have occurred in 1954 when she was five years old, culminating in an 81-day ritual the next year that summoned Satan himself and required the intervention of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and the Archangel Michael – the latter of whom removed the scars inflicted upon Smith and blocked her memories of the events. Smith claimed she was tortured, locked in cages, sexually assaulted, forced to participate in various rituals, and that she witnessed several human sacrifices, including the dismemberment of fetuses.

“What surprised us most when we started the film was the number of experts—police officers, journalists, sociologists, podcasters—who believed the Pazders and their book were responsible for igniting the Satanic Panic of the ‘80s and ‘90s, yet no one had ever explored this story in a documentary format,” Horlor and Adams write in a joint statement. “This is the very first time that Michelle’s sister, Larry’s ex-wife, and Larry’s daughter have gone on the record to tell their side of this story. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to combine all these stories together to reveal the true origins of the Satanic Panic, and show how they connect to the Pizzagate and QAnon conspiracies of today.”

The directors also reveal something exciting: “This film is also ground-breaking for another reason. In our final month of production, an anonymous source sent us one of Michelle and Larry’s original therapy tapes from 1976. This is one-of-a-kind archive material that has never been heard by anyone but Michelle and Larry and the transcribers who worked on their book. It has eluded countless investigators across the past four decades and SXSW audiences will be the very first people to listen to Michelle’s first-hand rememberings in Satan Wants You.”

Besides its SXSW premiere on March 11th, Satan Wants You does not yet have a release date. Watch the trailer below:

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