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Don't miss this audience favourite from this year's Hot Docs Festival.

A young woman and her Catholic psychiatrist—based in Victoria, BC—ignited the global Satanic Panic of the 1980s. Now, the behind-the-scenes ethical mess of fame and religious fervour can be exposed.

The hysteria that fueled the satanic panic of the 1980s and 90s was spurred on by the lurid memoir, Michelle Remembers. Authored by psychiatrist Larry Pazder, it recounted the trauma his patient Michelle Smith disclosed to him as a victim of a devil-worshipping and baby-sacrificing cult. Using ethically questionable recovered-memory therapy, Pazder and Smith were determined that their collective work was a public service and the book became a best-seller. Backed by the Catholic Church and legitimized by law enforcement, they hit the emerging daytime talk-show circuit, becoming experts at peddling paranoia. In the wake of their growing fame was a trail of wrongful convictions and devastated lives. Sharing never-before-heard audio recordings of the pair’s therapy sessions, and interviews with a Wiccan police detective and Smith and Pazder’s family members, co-directors Steve J. Adams and Sean Horlor uncover the roots of how conspiracy theories and disinformation feed fear and distrust. Alexander Rogalski

Tickets: $15 (Members from $10)

Promotional Partner: Blood in the Snow Film Festival

Want more? Check out our Satanic Panic watch list. Building on the themes of Satan Wants You, explore the depths of paranoia, scapegoating and media influence of the Satanic Panic in this series.

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  • Director(s)

    • Steve J. Adams
    • Sean Horlor

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