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‘Hail Satan?’ is a Fascinating Look Inside The Satanic Temple

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Hail Satan

Documentary filmmaker Penny Lane has covered everything from sea monkeys to Richard Nixon in her acclaimed career. In her latest film, Hail Satan?, she trains her lens on The Satanic Temple, its history, and its cause.

Founded during the Bush administration, The Satanic Temple was meant to be seen as a religious organization that was somehow repugnant to the administrations “values,” such as they were.

They hit upon the idea of Satan as “the adversary” and in no time, they had formed their organization using as their centerpiece the Baphomet iconography with a mission to strengthen the separation of church and state and the idea that freedom of religion is freedom for all religions.

Lane’s expertly interweaves the story of the groups creation with interviews from members across the country who have taken up the cause of TST, and two things become almost immediately clear.

  1. The members of The Satanic Temple often find their way to its symbolic doors while in search for meaning and belonging to a group of people that holds them up and supports them for who they are.
  2. They are also almost immediately energized with an activist’s spirit, ready to fight for the rights of other who have felt similarly lost and shut out of the system.

This seems especially true in Lucien Greaves, the public face of the organization and a man who somehow comes across as both charismatic and reserved simultaneously. One moment he boldly speaks to religious leaders and conservative news anchors, and the next he nervously reads and re-reads notes for a speech that he’s prepared to give in order to make sure he says exactly the right thing.

Lucien Graves Hail Satan

Lucien Greaves in HAIL SATAN?, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Greaves and the Temple’s high council gave the filmmaker almost unfettered access to the group while filming, and as such, she is able to take her viewers inside both organizational meetings and group ritual observances some of which may shock some viewers, not because of their nature–though some definitely run to the extreme–but more by the all too mundane quality of some.

In fact, it is the meetings in backyards and on beaches where we get a real glimpse of the membership of The Satanic Temple as a diverse, wholly accepting group of people who just want to make the world a better place without relying on some all-powerful deity to tell them the way they should do it.

These are not terrifying people. They aren’t making sacrifices to Satan. In fact, the majority of the membership does not believe in “Satan” as an actual being to whom they pray.

Rather, largely, they are atheists and humanists who have taken on Satan as a symbol of defying those who seek to take away freedoms and force their beliefs on others.

Not only is Hail Satan? illuminating, however, it is also educational.

The Satanic Temple have made a name for themselves opposing the inclusion of Ten Commandments monuments in courthouses and on other state-funded and owned properties. They do this, cleverly, not by demanding that they be taken down, but by asking that their own rather impressive statues of Baphomet be included alongside them.

When opposed, they bring up the point that not including other religious iconography sets up Christianity as a more legitimate religious belief. This gets their foot in the door to discuss the separation of church and state.

Baphomet Hail Satan

Baphomet monument in front of the state capitol building in Little Rock, AR featured in HAIL SATAN?, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

One of the most revealing bits of information to come out of this, however, is that many of these monuments were actually gifted to various states when Cecil B. DeMille was promoting his religious epic, The Ten Commandments.

Lane even includes footage of Charlton Heston performing a little gifting ceremony, unveiling one such monument at a press event.

Through all of this, the director includes footage of conservative, fundamentalist religious news anchors, pastors, and more talk as they about the fictitious evils of the organization and its followers. She dives into the Satanic Panic of the 80s and how the fantastic, and false, stories written about “Satanists” actually reflected the abuses that were going on in more traditional religious organizations.

There are so many things to pick apart and to discuss as the credits roll on Hail Satan? which is the mark of any good documentary really.

What’s more, the organization itself was recently granted status as an official church by the IRS in the United States adding a layer of legitimacy in their arguments.

Hail Satan?, distributed by Magnolia Pictures, will screen in an exclusive engagement Friday, May 10, 2019 at Landmark’s Hillcrest Cinemas before moving to wider distribution. To learn more about the film, visit their official website.

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‘Halloween Ends’ Featurette Reveals the End of Jamie Lee Curtis’s Time as a Final Girl

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Halloween

Halloween Ends is coming up in a little under a month and we can’t wait to see how David Gordon Green finishes out his trilogy of films. This will bring an end to Jamie Lee Curtis’s time as the final girl, Laurie Strode. It is a bit of a bitter pill to swallow, but I think we should count ourselves lucky that she came back to the franchise to begin with. Looking back to the first Halloween by Green, it wasn’t originally a certainty that Curtis would come back to begin with. So, here we are 3 movies later and it’s pretty dang awesome that we got to see her play the role that many times.

The latest featurette dives behind the scenes and reveals the final battle between Myers and Strode. Plus, we get a look at how Curtis is dealing with the end of an era.

The Halloween Ends synopsis goes like this:

Four years after her last encounter with masked killer Michael Myers, Laurie Strode is living with her granddaughter and trying to finish her memoir. Myers hasn’t been seen since, and Laurie finally decides to liberate herself from rage and fear and embrace life. However, when a young man stands accused of murdering a boy that he was babysitting, it ignites a cascade of violence and terror that forces Laurie to confront the evil she can’t control.

Halloween Ends arrives in theaters beginning on October 14.

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Eli Roth’s New Series, ‘Urban Legend’ Gets First Trailer

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Roth

Eli Roth has a heck of a deal with Travel Channel. The dude has not one but three new specials coming up. This includes two new series and a Halloween special. That must have been great for Roth.

His upcoming series’ Urban Legend and My Possessed Pet are both unique stories taking things to very interesting new places. One series focuses on anthology tales of focusing on classic urban legends and a story that focuses on deceased pets.

Roth

The synopsis for Urban Legend goes like this:

Based on widely shared “true” stories that happened to a friend of a friend … of a friend, each episode of URBAN LEGEND is a mini-horror film cinematically crafted to deliver a hyper-suspenseful and tension-fueled experience. Featuring lurking psychopaths, murderous mysteries, creepy creatures and twisting tales, these disturbing legends prey on our most deeply embedded fears to shock and terrify. This nightmarish anthology series, under the creative guidance of master of horror Eli Roth, showcases eight one-hour episodes of classic urban legends as you’ve never seen them before.

The synopsis for My Possessed Pet goes like this:

The series explores the true, terrifying tales of what happens when evil spirits, curses and demons take over family pets. Each of the four one-hour episodes will follow the chilling and deeply personal story of someone who has had their profound and loving relationship ripped apart by supernatural forces beyond their control. Using dramatic recreations, the real owners share how the beloved member of their family, that once had brought joy to their lives, transformed into the most horrible situation imaginable.

All that in addition to a Halloween special that Roth is doing with Zak Bagans called The Haunted Museum: 3 Ring Inferno.

My Possessed Pet premieres on September 30 and Urban Legend premieres on October 28. Roth and Bagan’s Halloween special The Haunted Museum: 3 Ring Inferno premieres on October 31.

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New ‘Hellraiser’ Trailer Unveils Pinhead and Other Cenobites

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Hellraiser

The first trailer for Hulu’s Hellraiser is finally here! It gives us our first look at our new Pinhead as well as a couple of other Cenobites that are going to be the source of new and hellish nightmares. Jamie Clayton is playing Pinhead this time around and she looks to be doing it very well. That voice alone sent shivers up my spine. Good stuff!

In David Bruckner’s reimagining of Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, we are getting a new approach to the classics. Even the box is very different and very organic in this iteration. There also seems to be an awesome organic approach to the wardrobe of the Cenobites. It is carved directly into the flesh, which I’m really loving.

The synopsis for Hellraiser goes like this:

In “Hellraiser,” a young woman struggling with addiction comes into possession of an ancient puzzle box, unaware that its purpose is to summon the Cenobites, a group of sadistic supernatural beings from another dimension.

Hellraiser stars Odessa A’zion (“Fam,” “Grand Army”), Jamie Clayton (“The L Word: Generation Q,” “Sense8”), Adam Faison (“Everything’s Gonna Be Okay,” “Yes Day”), Drew Starkey (“Outer Banks,” “The Devil All the Time”), Brandon Flynn (“Ratched,” “13 Reasons Why”), Aoife Hinds (“The Long Call,” “Normal People”), Jason Liles (“Stereoscope,” “Rampage”), Yinka Olorunnife (“The Transporter”), Selina Lo (“Boss Level,” “Q8 Unleashed”), Zachary Hing (“Halo”), Kit Clarke (“Leonardo”), with Goran Visnjic (“The Boys,” “Timeless”) and Hiam Abbass (“Succession,” “Blade Runner 2049”).

Hellraiser arrives on Hulu beginning October 7.

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