Part of SFFILM Festival
If Aleister Crowley and Rosemary’s Baby (1968) are what come to mind when you hear about a group called The Satanic Temple, this playful and unexpectedly inspirational new documentary from Penny Lane (NUTS!, Festival 2016) will set you straight. The group’s relationship to Satanism, the beliefs and tenets that drive them, and the incendiary actions of co-founder Lucien Greaves and other members are serious business, and Lane engages with the issues that occupy the group while simultaneously capturing the humor of their approach, whether shopping for costumes or designing a monument to Baphomet.
“Hail Satan? isn’t here to convert the audience to Lucifer — though, judging by the audience’s frequent spontaneous applause, some people may leave transformed. Like her fantastic 2013 doc Our Nixon, Lane sets out to subvert American history with intelligence and wit. Here, she asks us to question why certain religions are deemed ‘normal,’ even though, notes one Temple member, Catholic mass is all about the symbolic drinking of blood. But she’s also out to entertain, whether that means clips of Rosemary’s Baby and Geraldo, goofy cartoons where Uncle Sam explains the Constitution to Porky Pig, or simply observing the deadpan humor of a Temple branch who adopts a highway and stabs litter with pitchforks.” – Amy Nicholson, Variety
Penny Lane made her feature documentary debut with Our Nixon (2013), winner of Best of the Festival at the Ann Arbor Film Festival and the Documentary Award at the Seattle International Film Festival. Her other features include NUTS! (Festival 2016) and The Pain of Others (2018). Among her short films are We Are the Littletons: A True Story (2004), The Voyagers (2010), Just Add Water: The Story of the Amazing Life Sea-Monkeys (2016), and Nelly Bly Makes the News (2018).