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Stranger Things: All-Encompassing Season 4 Review



Warning: Stranger Things 4 Spoilers ahead.

With record-length episode runtimes, 13 Emmy nominations, and at least five records broken at Netflix, the success of the fourth season of Stranger Things is undeniable.

Picking up less than a year after season three left off, season four starts with the group separated. Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and the Byers family now live in California, Jim Hopper (David Harbour) is being held prisoner in Russia, and the rest remain in Hawkins.

While the show would eventually see forces coming together, this would not be until after Eleven is subjected to more lab experimentation, and the Hawkins group goes head-to-head with the series’ most formidable bad guy yet, Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower). In a race to stop Max (Sadie Sink) from becoming Vecna’s next victim, the Stranger Things friends find that the situation is much more harrowing than they ever anticipated.

With the expert implementation of memorable sounds, compelling characters, and gut-wrenching presentations of love and horror, Stranger Things may be one of the best seasons yet. ’86 baby.


Sounds of the Season

Stranger Things did not hold back when it came to creating earworms for season four. From the return of classic hits to character quotes and unusual captions, ST4 is packed with auditory stimulation.

Reviving Classics

Max’s song that protected her from Vecna, Kate Bush’s “Running Up that Hill”, is the undisputed anthem of the season.

Its impact on viewers can be measured by the chart-topping status it has held ever since the fourth season premiered on Netflix. Kate Bush is not the only artist to enjoy their songs being introduced to the upcoming generations, as Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” is gracing charts as well.

Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) playing a Metallica song for “the most metal concert in the history of the world” is especially fitting, seeing as how the real person he is based upon is a notorious Metallica fan.

“Separate Worlds (Worlds Apart)” by Journey has also seen rejuvenation from the show, as it was not only played in the first trailer release but also played as the core group readied themselves for the final battle.


While not as much of a successful stand-out as the other songs in this list, Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong’s “Dream a Little Dream of Me” served as a haunting theme for the Creel house.


Outside of the memorable music played in the season, many quotes from the characters have become instant favorites. Quotes from Eddie Munson tend to be the most popular, so much so that the dialogue between Eddie and Chrissy Cunningham (Grace Van Dien) was remixed into a viral music beat titled “Chrissy Wake Up”.

But it’s not just the Hellfire Club leader that had instantly classic lines this season.

Steve Harrington’s (Joe Keery) explanation about who pauses Fast Times at Ridgemont High at 53 minutes and 5 seconds or series newcomer Argyle’s (Eduardo Franco) motto for pineapple on pizza: “Try before you deny” are immediately identifiable, along with countless others from the spectacularly written season.

Stranger Captions

As anyone who has watched the season with captions on will attest, sounds that aren’t physically heard can still be memorable. The sounds of Vecna’s “ichorous” tentacles were never left to the imagination, as they could be found slithering, constricting, “squelching wetly” or, my personal favorite, “undulating moistly.”


There is also a variety of “stingers” ranging from ominous, to dramatic, discomforting, and horrific. Don’t worry though, as some “hokey muzak” plays, breaking up some of the tension.

Stranger Things Characters

While the cinematography and storyline are fantastic, the characters truly make the show.

Introducing New Faces

This season had its share of brand-new characters to root for or against.

New Friends

Jonathan’s (Charlie Heaton) stoner friend Argyle was instantly a fan favorite, and the adoration of Eddie Munson is already legendary. So much so that fans have started a petition to bring him back to the show, which as of this writing has over 73,000 signatures.

These two were not the only new companions that were instant favorites. Fans quickly loved Hopper’s Soviet comrade Dmitri (Tom Wlaschiha), who helped Hopper plan his jailbreak.


Then, the introduction of “The Peanut Butter Smuggler” Yuri (Nikola Djuricko) brought about comedic moments in an otherwise tense season. Who could forget the scene with his untouched helicopter named after Katinka?

Though given his traitorous self-interest, Yuri played more of a pseudo-villain than a friend this season, and he was far from the only one.

Pseudo Villains

Although she only appeared in 3 episodes, Angela (Elodie Grace Orkin) did an excellent job at making everyone simultaneously hate her character. Orkin’s portrayal of the popular mean girl was so phenomenal that it was all the more satisfying when Angela finally got her comeuppance by way of a roller skate to the forehead.

Mason Dye, who played Jason, also put on an excellent portrayal of a hated character, as his downward spiral and popular boy attitude were executed gracefully. While being ripped in half by an emerging gate to the Upside Down was his fate, frankly, it didn’t feel good enough.

After beating Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) to a pulp, smashing the headset that could’ve saved Max, single-handedly preventing Lucas from saving her from Vecna, stirring up a Satanic Panic in Hawkins, and not to mention allowing Vecna his fourth kill that ripped Hawkins, Indiana in half in the first place…it would’ve been nice if he had been smacked in the forehead with a roller skate too, and then ripped in half.


(Violence isn’t the answer kids. It just makes for satisfying bad guy conclusions on television shows.)

Of course, mini villains Angela and Jason pale starkly in comparison when it comes to the real villain of the season.


Jamie Campbell Bower’s transformation from the caring orderly to the ruthless villain was flawless. While Horror Press readers may have known that Vecna was going to have a human origin even before the season aired, few viewers saw it coming that the helpful orderly who cared for Eleven was the main antagonist all along. The Vecna identity reveal was one of the best moments of the season, which says a lot for a season so gripping and powerful.

Furthermore, Stranger Things’ resolve to have a villain created with practical effects rather than CGI was an excellent call, as Vecna’s face is already solidified amongst the haunting faces in horror. Although, Vecna’s body shots are taken a little less seriously as viewers have likened him to a skinned Grinch. Whether he has ever truly lived at the top of Mount Crumpit aside, no one can deny the terrifying nature of his presence, nor the shocking, eye-popping way in which he kills.

After all, his body count is staggering. Not only did he murder his mother and sister, not only did he decimate an entire lab full of psychic children, not only did he cause the brutal deaths of Chrissy Cunningham, Patrick (Myles Truitt), and Fred Benson (Logan Riley Bruner), and the probable brain death of Max, but season four brought about the startling revelation that One created the Mind Flayer.


That means all the Hawkins residents who got turned into Mind Flayer mush in season 3, Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery), and all of those that got killed at the demodog coup at Hawkins Lab in season 2, including Bob Newby (Sean Astin), are all dead because of Vecna.

This of course does not even consider how many died from the ripping of Hawkins, nor how many will die before season five ends the series.

Honorable Mention

Although brief, one would be remiss not to include the appearance of horror legend Robert Englund as the wrongfully imprisoned, father of Henry/Vecna/One: Victor Creel. It is especially fitting that Englund would appear this season as the similarities to Nightmare on Elm Street are enormous.

Old Characters do New Tricks

ST4 saw dynamic characters as old favorites and demonstrated that there is more to them than we’ve seen.

Whether it was finding out that Murray (Brett Gelman) is a karate fighting badass, seeing Erica Sinclair in all of her nerd glory playing D&D, a Hopper that got ripped, a pothead Jonathan (although his character was more or less the same), Eleven trying to assimilate into school life with no powers, Max struggling with depression, Lucas as a popular kid, or Will subtly professing his love for Mike, season four presented these familiar characters in fresh ways.


Old Characters do Old Tricks

While some characters trod new territory, others followed their typical character paths. For example, Steve Harrington is still the honorary den mother, who is desperately seeking love, and Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard) is still oblivious when it comes to matters of the heart.

Suzie (Gabriella Pizzolo) is a genius who unwittingly helps to save the day, and Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) will still stop at nothing to save the person she loves (we can say at this point that she loves Hop, can’t we?).

While fresh takes are welcome and most times necessary, most of these characters’ greatness is ingrained by these familiar characteristics.

Love & Fear

If anyone remembers the presentation given by Beth Grant and Patrick Swayze in Donnie Darko, they’ll remember that “fear and love are the deepest of human emotions.”

If that’s the case, ST4 played on our deepest emotions as the presentations of love and fear were extraordinarily powerful and sometimes simultaneous.


Horror Comes to Hawkins

While the prior seasons had their share of haunting imagery (e.g., Will Byers’ autopsy, the imposing size of the smoke Mind Flayer, or people seizing into piles of human goo), the seasons of Stranger Things as a whole never felt truly scary…until now. The fourth season of the hit show wasted no time letting viewers know this season would be no walk in the park, as it opened with a mass genocide of psychic children.

If viewers had any doubts about what they were in for, Stranger Things then ended the first episode with the most horrific murder yet. Viewers were left shocked as Chrissy Cunningham floated off the ground and had her limbs snapped one by one. We don’t like this either, Eddie.

Just kidding, we loved it. Although Chrissy Cunningham would have made a compelling character for the series, and she had natural chemistry with Eddie Munson, her gruesome death served as a road sign for the season. This is the moment that told us all to buckle up, we’re in for a bumpy ride through Hawkins.

Of course, the horror didn’t stop there, as gruesome hallucinations from spiders to cradles on fire ensure nightmares for everyone. Perhaps the most chilling of all the hallucinations brought about by Vecna, lie within the first few moments of his trance, as characters do not realize at first that they are hallucinating.

This act is most terrifying, as it suggests that the world in which they think they are existing in is not the world they think it is at all. This kind of reality-bending, mind-twisting horror is by far the scariest.


Though gore had its place in this season too. Steve’s bloody bat wounds, Victor Creel’s gouged-out eyes, One being ripped apart by lightning, and a ripped-in-half basketball player are some of the visual depictions of horror brought about by this jaw-dropping season.

Stranger Things: Love and Ships

Fear’s antithesis played a driving force in much of the season.


Since Max played a large role, it makes sense to see her involvement with love manifested in all different ways.

Lucas & Max

In its most obvious form exists the love that Lucas and Max have for each other. Lucas realized before anyone that something was wrong with Max when her Vecna-induced headaches first began.

It was Lucas’ words that rang the loudest when Max was able to escape from Vecna for the first time: “I don’t need a letter […] I’m right here.”


It is together that they awaited Vecna to fall into Max’s trap, it was Lucas that Max seemingly spoke her last words to, and it is by her bedside that Lucas waits patiently for her to return.

Easter Egg Alert: Lucas read The Talisman to Max as she lay in her post-Vecna coma. This story by Stephen King has been picked up by the Duffer Bros and is poised to become a future Netflix series.

Love Between Friends

When in the throes of a Vecna attack, it wasn’t just memories of Lucas that saved her from the negative thoughts that Vecna would prey upon. Max flashed back to many good times with her group of friends, and Eleven especially.

This love between friends is reciprocated as Eleven goes to great lengths to stay by Max’s side and try to save her from the Upside Down’s five-star general.

These powerful displays of friendship in the face of an evil that feeds upon trauma serve as a fantastic metaphor for the overwhelming benefit of having friends on your side when going through hard times.


Mileven and Byler

The relationship between Mike and Eleven has been a subject of the series from the very beginning. In the final moments of Eleven’s battle with Vecna, when all hope seemed lost, Mike opened his heart to Eleven, and hearing confirmation of his love for her helped her to grow strong enough to save the day.

While it would be more enjoyable to see Eleven empower herself, the scene was powerful, nonetheless.

It was doubly powerful because Will was the one who encouraged Mike to inspire Eleven with his love. He urged Mike on, calling back to the previous conversation that the two had.

In that conversation, it was heavily implied that Will has strong feelings for Mike. Mike, who is historically oblivious to nuanced matters of the heart, remained oblivious.

The scene, along with Noah Schnapp confirming that Will is indeed gay and in love with Mike, has a preponderance of fans rooting for the two to end up together.


This all calls into question what end can become of this triangle and if this doesn’t mean a tragic finale for at least one involved.

Steve, Nancy, Jonathan, Robin, and… Vecna?

Love was on the minds and motivations of many of the characters. As Eddie Munson had explained to Steve, the way that Nancy had rushed to save him with no hesitation “was as unambiguous a sign of true love as these cynical eyes have ever seen.”

Steve is always looking for love and has kept his interest in Nancy no secret from day one. This is complicated as Nancy and Jonathan are still together, and even more complicated given that their relationship seems to be on the rocks. Undoubtedly this love triangle will be a plot point in Stranger Things season five.

However, if left up to the cast members to decide, Nancy would end up with someone else entirely, as the three cast members who act the roles of this love triangle reportedly have a text thread with Maya Hawke where they share memes that ship Ronance (Robin and Nancy).

If that coupling was unexpected, allow me to introduce you to the section of the internet that wants to see Nancy end up with Vecna (Vecnancy).


Before mental images start to form, back to Robin, who, like Steve, is also pining for love this season, though not for Nancy. While she appears to have chemistry with Vickie (Amybeth McNulty), Robin is understandably concerned about expressing her feelings to the wrong girl in this close-minded, Satanic Panic-fueled town. Here’s hoping she and Steve can finally find love in the future.

Eddie and Dustin

While Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and Steve (Joe Keery) share fantastic on and off-screen chemistry, making their friendship one of the treasured aspects of the show, there was a new man in Dustin’s life this season as he found a close friendship with Eddie Munson.

From Eddie’s first appearance, it was clear that Dustin admired the D&D club leader, and it was fitting that they would traverse the Upside Down together.

No one can deny the pure elation that filled Dustin’s face as Eddie played his guitar. Their closeness was touching to witness and heartbreaking to watch end in tragedy. The bond they shared helped to deliver one of the more emotionally powerful moments of the season, as Dustin explained to Eddie’s uncle that his nephew died a hero.

That moment emanated love in its purest form.


The Culmination of Love and Fear

The series does not shy away from complex emotions, and the relationship between Eleven and Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine) is one of the most complicated.

On one hand, he is her “Papa”: the only father she has known for a long time in her life. At the same time, he stole her from her mother at birth and had her mother subjected to mind-frying shock treatment when she came to retrieve her daughter from the lab, his encouraging words and fatherly nature resonated with Eleven.

Even though he medicated her against her will to stop her from running off to save her friends, he did so out of the desire to protect her, although whether this was for her or his benefit is muddled.

Given that Dr. Brenner is neither inherently good nor evil, it causes Eleven’s feelings towards him to be complicated. This is why although Eleven was willing to kill him herself, his death happening in front of her amounted to a jumble of emotions, though forgiveness did not seem to be one of them.

This brand of complex emotions appeared to extend to Vecna as well, as Eleven tried to appeal to the man within the monster during their big battle scene.


She tried to make excuses for him, blaming Dr. Brenner’s exploitation and control over Henry for the villain that he became. After all, they are both Brenner’s children, exploited and tattooed, forever bonded in history and powers. She can imagine what One must’ve felt because she had undoubtedly felt it herself.

Vecna’s ensuing response created one of my top three favorite moments of the season.

He explains to the young hero that people like him and Eleven are special and are wholly incapable of being affected by a “mediocre man” such as Brenner. He tells Eleven that he became this monster because of her. This follows a personal favorite superhero trope that heroes often are the creators of their biggest opponents.

This layered relationship displays the conjunction of fear and love, as mortal enemies Vecna and Eleven each played a part in creating the other, and more than likely are the only ones who can destroy each other.

Where Vecna explains that a mere human couldn’t possibly affect him, conversely, Eleven is very much affected by the support of others. Like Yin and Yang, one is strengthened by the fears of others, and the other finds strength in love.


Given the certain Hell to be unleashed by the largest gate to the Upside Down that Hawkins, Indiana has ever seen, the heartache from losing characters is likely only just beginning. When Stranger Things season 5 ends, will it take fan-favorite characters with it?

“Signs point to yes”

If you crave more Hawkins while awaiting the fifth and final season, check out Stranger Things: The Experience, now available in New York, San Francisco, and London.

A writer by both passion and profession: Tiffany Taylor is a mother of three with a lifelong interest in all things strange or mysterious. Her love for the written word blossomed from her love of horror at a young age because scary stories played an integral role in her childhood. Today, when she isn’t reading, writing, or watching scary movies, Tiffany enjoys cooking, stargazing, and listening to music.

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SAY YOUR PRAYERS: A Spoiler-Free Review of ‘The Nun II’

I can confidently say The Nun II is far and away from its predecessor’s flaws, even if it has a few of its own. When The Nun II has its rough spots, they can drag. But when it pulls off what it’s going for, it is fiery and fun in its execution with its own aggressive voice. 



I did not go into The Nun II with high hopes. I only recently rewatched The Nun and was underwhelmed for a second time, primarily with the scares and structure. Valak’s first feature film had some redeeming qualities but didn’t feel like a necessary addition to the Conjuring universe. The demonic entity that had so much influence with so little screentime in the first two Conjuring films never really jumped out at me until the end of The Nun, and by then, it was too late. 

A Marked Improvement From the Original

I can confidently say The Nun II is far and away from its predecessor’s flaws, even if it has a few of its own. When The Nun II has its rough spots, they can drag. But when it pulls off what it’s going for, it is fiery and fun in its execution with its own aggressive voice. 

The Nun II, for the uninitiated (nun-initiated?), follows Sister Irene again as she hunts down her rival Valak. Thought to have been sealed away in the first film, Valak uses the body of Irene’s friend Frenchie to wreak havoc across Europe, with her final stop on the massacre tour being a boarding school in France. As Sister Irene and her apprentice, Sister Debra, try to figure out what Valak wants and where she’s going, bodies pile up around Frenchie and the children, leaving no one safe.

The opening of this film is perfectly executed in its nastiness; if you’ve been craving something as spicy as Evil Dead RiseThe Nun II has you covered, and it’s shocking how high quality it is. The Nun II is a nastier take on Sister Irene’s first journey, with some mean-spirited and enjoyable kills left in Valak’s wake. When people die in this film, they die hard, and it’s just the kind of hateful behavior you’d expect from a demon with a reputation like Valak’s.

Bonnie Aarons Returns as Valak (Pay Her Warner Bros.)

Bonnie Aarons is always a treat, and that’s no different here since she gets a lot of screen time just demolishing her victims’ bodies and minds. The practical effects used in the film are few and far between. Still, many of the digital effects on display are top-notch (barring one very bad, PS3 graphics-looking effect involving a Valak painting).


Though the absence of Damien Bachir hurts (especially their justification for why he isn’t in the film, which felt downright weak), the film’s cast still brings the heat like a packed church on Easter Sunday. Taissa Farmiga is just as enjoyable as she was the first time around playing the soft-spoken but wise Sister Irene. The script here shows you how she’s grown from the experience in the first film and gives us a better glimpse into her life before the convent, which was a welcome surprise. While it takes until the movie’s final sequence for her to really play with the explosive exorcist action the film has been teasing, she gives it her all and has me wondering what other horror franchises she could helm as the lead as I left the theatre.

Storm Reid does well as the young Sister Debra, an American novitiate having a crisis of faith and tagging along searching for a miracle. Regrettably, her character doesn’t have enough room to breathe, as she only gets a pittance of backstory and a borderline nonexistent arc. In terms of her performance, I really can’t complain since she shows her pipes with some great screaming and terrified acting. Jonas Bloquet’s return to the role as the fan favorite Frenchie actually lets him stretch his acting chops beyond comic relief, and if he doesn’t get more roles as an antagonist after this, I would be surprised; this film utilizes him perfectly and doesn’t downplay his grotesque, haunted performance for anything. 

Speaking of utilizing something perfectly, everyone who sees this movie will agree that the set design is incredible. The Nun liked to bask in dark corridors and open spaces that made shots visually boring rather than spooky. The Nun II, in contrast, has these terrific, rich environments throughout the boarding school that are filled to the brim with set decoration that all falls into the right place; the rooms feel layered and full, and they actually help generate a lot of tension. The whole school becomes a series of interconnected set pieces for the big finale, shot expertly by Michael Chaves, who captures the destruction and transformation of the school with creative shots (and improved lighting from his last venture with Valak).

The score is an improvement from the first, to be sure, ditching the overly droning chorus of chants for a proper soundtrack, but don’t expect anything sonically groundbreaking or particularly new. That being said, the sound design of the rest of the film is crucial to enjoying it. The Nun II is one of those films that feels almost mandatory to watch with great speakers at home or in the theatre. Otherwise, a good chunk of the scares will fall flat, and the destructive finale will lose much of its oomph. This goes doubly for the cheaper jump scares that amount to a loud noise and a snap zoom onto Valak’s face; they’re as effective as getting whipped on your ear with a rosary in the theatre, so imagine that through cheap headphones. 

The Nun II is noticeably hamstrung in its pacing thanks to its hefty hour and fifty-minute runtime, nearly half an hour longer than the first. This is primarily due to the film’s structure, which alternates between our protagonists’ and antagonists’ plots, which go back and forth quite a bit. When the two plots converge, you feel an interesting climax coming. Still, the stories being so separate means that the film’s third act needs to be stretched out and padded to oblivion so these characters can interact. You get a truly incandescent finale when Sister Irene and Valak clash, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t start getting bored waiting for it to arrive.


BOTTOMLINE: As much as I complain about horror movies being too long, The Nun II ends up being a fun enough romp that I can mostly look past it on the first go around; your mileage may vary. I found it an enjoyable, biting sequel that ups the ante despite its pacing problems. Fans of the original will love it, and those who disliked the original should find a glimmer of hope in how the cinematography comes together for this one. As far as movies to begin the Halloween horror season go, you could do a lot worse, so watch it in theatres if you can. 

Hollywood actors and writers are currently on strike against the AMPTP. This movie is not associated with any struck production. However, you can still support those affected most by the strike by donating to the Entertainment Community Fund here!

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‘Satan Wants You’ Documents the Untold Story of ‘Michelle Remembers’ and the Satanic Panic



The origin and the aftermath of the Satanic Panic is one of the most complicated and wide-reaching stories in modern-day history. In the 1980s, a collective delusion about supposed widespread ‘satanic ritual abuse’ sparked many to suddenly ‘recover memories’ about surviving satan-worshipping cults. An entire industry of occult ‘experts’ arose as the daytime talk show circuit produced panel after panel to explore the phenomena. These experts also ‘educated’ law enforcement about how to identify ‘signs’ of this abuse, leading to multiple false convictions and destroying hundreds of lives. The Satanic Panic has been the subject of many books, documentaries, and TV shows, including the beloved horror series Stranger Things (read more about that here!)

A Best-Selling Memoir That Kickstarted a Craze

The spark that caused all this mayhem is widely attributed to the best-selling memoir, Michelle Remembers, written by Dr Lawrence Padzer and his patient-turned-wife Michelle Smith. The book documents Michelle’s extensive therapy sessions in which she undergoes deep hypnosis to recover the grisly truth about the year she supposedly spent in the clutches of a satanic cult. The book is salacious, disturbing, and violent, full of details that Padzer and Smith proudly shared with the world during a cross-continent publicity tour. Many experts have questioned and debunked the book’s authenticity, but the lives of Padzer and Smith remained unexamined, until now.

In their documentary Satan Wants You, writer-directors Steve J Adams and Sean Horlor offer extensive interviews with the people who knew Smith and Padzer best, including her sister, his daughter, and his ex-wife. These interviews provide invaluable context to both of their personalities, and explain the events leading up to the book’s writing. Their perspectives on the celebrity that the couple courted feel like a big puzzle piece that no one realized was missing, and while the true story may lack the sensationalism of an omnipotent devil cult, the truth about their lives is both ordinary and tragic. During last week’s screening at Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival, some of the film’s revelations elicited audible gasps from the rapt audience.

Adams and Horlor included excerpts from the never-before-heard therapy sessions between Smith and Padzer (who was known to record everything – the filmmakers received only 1 hour of the potentially 600 hours of therapy sessions), something that investigative journalists have been trying to obtain for decades. Alongside these revelations are an impressive montage of articles, news segments, and talk-show clips that showcase the vast influence of Michelle Remembers. On top of generously sharing her memories, Lawrence’s ex-wife provided the filmmakers with a treasure trove of newspaper clippings and taped talk show segments dating back to the 1980s. She made a point to save anything about ‘satanic abuse’ or ‘recovered memories’ that turned up in the media, and that material on its own makes this documentary a fascinating watch.


A Whole Host of Evidence Debunking the Satanic Panic

Though the film focuses on the Smith and Padzer families, Adams and Horlor provide a particular context to the satanic panic phenomena. They include interviews with investigative journalist Debbie Nathan, Blanche Barton (a leader within the Church of Satan), and several law enforcement officers who have dedicated their careers to debunking the myth of ‘satanic ritual abuse.’ The film also directly refutes many of the elements in Michelle Remembers, which are intensely satisfying moments for anyone familiar with the details in the book. They even offer evidence of the Catholic Church’s active involvement in getting the book published.

During a Q&A after the screening, hosted by Kier-La Janisse (founder of The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies), Adams and Horlor were very open about their process. A discussion about the intentionality of Smith and Padzer’s claims soon arose: did Michelle and Lawrence believe the stories they published? Adams and Horlor have different opinions about that, and their film allows us to see both Smith and Padzer as either fraudsters, victims, or a kind of all-too-human hybrid. Horlor added that the revelations in the documentary were fact-checked by the multiple interviews conducted off-camera, including additional family members, friends, and people involved in publishing the actual book. 

An Unsettling Glimpse of the Future of Satanic Panic

The film briefly touches on the modern-day versions of the Satanic Panic (pizzagate, qanon), further emphasizing this book’s lasting effects. In a touching moment towards the end of the film, experts who’ve spent their entire lives disproving these claims express their frustration at the recent resurgence of the satanic-cult narrative. “It’s easy to blame Satan,” said Horlor during the Q&A, explaining that blaming “the devil” is often an easy scapegoat for someone’s dark, complicated life.

Satan Wants You is a wonderfully constructed documentary about a conspiracy theory that just won’t die. The film stands on its own, and if this is the first time you’ve ever heard of Michelle Remembers, you’ll walk away with a whole new perspective on how the media promotes and encourages conspiracies. However, the film’s most significant accomplishment is that it finally answers questions that should have been resolved over 40 years ago. 

Don’t miss out.


Hollywood actors and writers are currently on strike against the AMPTP. This movie is not associated with any struck production. However, you can still support those affected most by the strike by donating to the Entertainment Community Fund here!

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