SXSW2023: World Premiere of Documentary Feature ‘Satan Wants You’

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
Average: 4.8 (4 votes)

AUSTIN, TX – Finding a way to my first film at the 2023 SXSW Film/TV Fest is a specific challenge, but after being shuttled to the famed Alamo Drafthouse, I found myself at the World Premiere of “Satan Wants You,” an amazing documentary about the “Satanic Panic” of the 1980s and ‘90s, directed by Sean Horlor and Steve J. Adams.

“Satan Wants You” tells the untold story of how the Satanic Panic of the 1980s was ignited by “Michelle Remembers,” a lurid memoir by psychiatrist Larry Pazder and his patient Michelle Smith. Supported by the Catholic Church, the bestselling book relied on recovered-memory therapy to uncover Michelle’s childhood abduction by baby-stealing Satanists. Amplified by law enforcement and America’s Daytime TV boom, satanic rumors 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.

CAPSULE REVIEW: Having lived through the said “Satanic Panic” back in the day, I was stunned essentially when everything old is new again (QAnon and the ilk). It’s seems like American society is desperate for a explanation for evil, or an embodiment beyond their own human nature. We cover ourselves with lies, like the lies that perpetuated the 1980s panic, even when the truth is much less painful. “Satan Wants You” is a retro warning for the ills of today, ardently presented and amazingly researched. The devil is in the details.

Satan Wants You
Photo credit:

In a post-World Premiere chat, directors Sean Horlor (speaking first) and Steve J. Adams provide commentary on their new documentary …

The 2023 South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festivals took place on March 10th through March 19th. For all information click on senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Critic/Writer

© 2023 Patrick McDonald,

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing


  • YippieFest 2023

    CHICAGOYIPPIE! It’s back, in the neighborhood of its roots. YippieFest 2023 will be August 4th-6th in the Lakeview/Buena Park venue of PRIDE ARTS, 4139 North Broadway in Chicago. The space is less than a half mile from the former Mary-Arrchie Theatre, whose “Abbie Hoffman Festival” was the template for the three-day performance celebration. YippieFest currently has slots for theater acts, including one-act plays, monologue, sketch, improv, vaudeville and other stage performance arts. Artists get free admission to the rest of the festival, so click YiPPIE FEST 2023 to sign up.

  • Trade Federation, Otherworld Theatre

    CHICAGO – Theatrical satires of the Star Wars Universe are like the number of TV series the universe has wrought … too many to figure out if anything is worthwhile. But “Trade Federation” (subtitled “Or Let’s Explore Globalization Through the Star Wars Prequels”), presented by Otherworld Theatre in Wrigleyville Chicago, gets it right on.

Advertisement on Twitter

archive Top Ten Discussions