In the first moments of the documentary Hail Satan?, which Magnolia Pictures picked up at this year’s Sundance Film Festival for release later this year, a man places a call to a local news station to inform them of an upcoming rally by The Satanic Temple. “The Satanic Temple; S, as in Sam,” he repeats patiently, enunciation crisp, as a figure in a black cloak and horns lurks elsewhere in the house. The juxtaposition of those two images — in a house with pink walls and rococo-style furniture — is perhaps the perfect encapsulation of the film. Director Penny Lane’s demystification of The Satanic Temple doesn’t disregard the element of absurdity in the divide between theory and practice when it comes to Satanism, nor does it undercut the fact that the religion, by and large, is welcoming, well thought-out, and wholeheartedly earnest. Fortunately, the same adjectives apply to the documentary; Hail Satan? is a devilish delight, a seemingly bottomless well of Satanist charm set side by side with a gripping — and deeply sympathetic — fight for humanity. As explained in the documentary, Satanism isn’t new per se, but The Satanic Temple as showcased in Hail Satan? is a nascent… Read full this story
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