Tuesday, May 21, 2024

This documentary reveals the story behind the Victoria-born Satanic cult conspiracy

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Prepare yourself for the story behind one of the biggest conspiracy theories  in Canadian history — born right here in Victoria.

This documentary is for the thriller lovers, history buffs, long-time Victoria residents, and curious viewers — a true deep dive into the horrific and terrifying ‘Satanic Panic’ that swept the world in the 1980s and 90s.

Starting Friday, August 11th, The Vic Theatre will be featuring this gripping film showcasing the full story surrounding the publication and aftermath of Michelle Remembers — a book collaboratively written by Michelle Smith, a supposed victim of Satanists and her psychologist, Lawrence (Larry) Pazder.

Presented to audiences will be unreleased tapes from Smith and Pazder’s sessions, interviews with a high priestess of the Church of Satan, a Wiccan police detective, an FBI ‘Mind Hunter,’ and new interviews with family members of both Smith and Pazder as they provide their perspectives after decades of media silence.

In the film synopsis, Satan Wants You is described as “a compelling investigation into the roots of moral panics, cult conspiracies, and the making of contemporary legends, revealing how these events still impact and distort our reality to this day.”

Victoria Buzz was able to speak with filmmakers Sean Horlor and Steve J. Adams, and they are beyond excited to be presenting this in the city where it all began and expect it to take the city by storm.

“We’re taking the story back to where everything started,” Horlor said.

“It’s a really fun watch with an audience, there’s a lot of moments where you just can’t believe what was out there.” 

It is said that Smith began visiting Pazder in the early 1970s, and what began as sessions to discuss her depression, eventually became a recollection of her experiences with Satanic ritual abuse at the hands of a Satanic cult as a child. 

“We wanted people to experience the ‘Satanic Panic’ as it unfolded…so you’ll see how that story grew and exploded before you get to see the family members who had never gone on record to say ‘no, this is what really happened’ behind the scenes.”

(Satan Wants You / Still from film)

In the documentary synopsis, Horlor recounts growing up in Victoria during this time and the widespread panic, the rumours, and the fears that burned through the city as it also began captivating the world.

“For me it’s a part of my childhood. I grew up in the 1980s after the book was published…Michelle and Larry…they are from my community,” Horlor said.

“At one point there was a rumour that babies were going to be stolen from the Victoria hospital and it was taken so seriously that a police guard was posted in the hospital to guard over the newborns and mothers in the maternity wards.”

He also noted that certain stores were believed to contain altars for sacrificing animals and any person dressed in all black was assumed to be a Satanist. 

The book was on everyone’s shelf and other psychiatry associations and law enforcement were reinforcing the idea that this was happening in communities — pretty soon Smith and Pazder were speaking on talk shows and conferences, further spreading the panic.

“It sounds ridiculous to say this now in 2023…but this is how serious it was in the 80s and how worried people were over satanic cults, and this was just in Victoria…it happened everywhere,” Horlor said.

(Poster for Satan Wants You)

They are thrilled about the praise and interest it has gotten so far, and are excited to present such a large piece of history to a younger audience as it sheds light on how truly absurd everything got.

“The final scene is going to make you really think about the story and what it means,” they both shared.

“This is about a portion of Canadian history that not everyone knows about so [we] think that everyone should watch this film.”

Satan Wants You at The Vic Theatre

  • Where: 808 Douglas Street
  • When: Friday, August 11th at 7:30 p.m.

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