‘Satan Wants You’ Trailer: Upcoming Documentary Examines the Dubious Origins of the Satanic Panic

Satan Wants You explores the lasting effects of the discredited 1980 memoir Michelle Remembers, and how the book led to a moral panic.

Satan Wants You (2023) will premiere at the 2023 SXSW Film Festival. (pictured: Michelle Smith)

In November of 1980, a book titled Michelle Remembers was published. The book told the “true” story of Michelle Smith and her childhood abuse at the hands of Satanists. People were outraged, and the “Satanic Panic” was sparked in the United States. The trouble is, none of the accusations made in Michelle Remembers could be verified. Regardless, the moral panic spread, leading to thousands more unsubstantiated accusations of ritualistic Satanic child abuse.

An image from a television show with Michelle Smith and Larry razder as seen in the documentary Satan Wants You (2023).
Mainstream television was a huge factor in the spread of the Satanic Panic. (pictured center: Larry Pazder and Michelle Smith)

Satan Wants You is an upcoming documentary that chronicles the rise of the Satanic Panic in the United States sparked by Michelle Remembers. Written and directed by Sean Horlor and Steve J. Adams, Satan Wants You will premiere at the SXSW Film Festival on March 11, 2023. Leading up to its festival debut, a teaser trailer has also been released. Take a look:

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.

SXSW Film Festival synopsis
An image of the book Michelle Remembers from the documentary Satan Wants You (2023).
The book that started a panic.

As reported by Deadline, Satan Wants You contains previously unreleased audio recordings from Michelle Smith’s (real name: Michelle Proby) recovered-memory therapy sessions that were used as the basis of her book. Additionally, the documentary features interviews from Michelle’s sister, as well as interviews from Larry Pazder’s (Michelle’s psychiatrist and cowriter of Michelle Remembers) ex-wife and his daughter.

Satan Wants You seems as if it is going to be creepy on multiple levels. Mostly though, it looks like it will be a chilling reminder of how terrifyingly destructive moral panics and conspiracy theories can be. There is no date yet for when we can expect a wide release of Satan Wants You, but you’ll be able to find that date on our New/Upcoming Horror Movies tracker as soon as we find out.

Meet The Author

Chris has a degree in film studies at Temple University’s campus in Tokyo, Japan. He is a renowned expert on horror cinema.