Hail Satan? Hexes Harvard Square as BUFF Comes to Brattle

Hail Satan? will be the sinister centerpiece at the 21st Annual Boston Underground Film Festival, not too far from Salem.

Hail Satan
Photo: Netflix

Hail Satan? will screeen at the 21st Annual Boston Underground Film Festival, which unleashes five days of cinemadness on Cambridge from March 20 through March 24. The panel dug deep into the nether regions to present titles like Mope, Tone-Deaf, Knife+Heart, The Unthinkable, and director Penny Lane’s provocative Sundance-sensation Hail Satan?, which “crowns this year’s festivities with its inspirational and entertaining chronicle of the extraordinary rise of one of America’s most colorful and controversial religious movements,” according to the festival’s press.

“With unprecedented access, Hail Satan? traces the rise of The Satanic Temple: only six years old and already one of the most controversial religious movements in American history,” reads the festival’s synopsis. “The Temple and its enigmatic leader Lucien Greaves are calling for a Satanic revolution to save the nation’s soul. But are they for real?”

The documentary offers damning commentary on the role of organized religion in our purportedly secular society. Hail Satan? challenges “preconceived notions about the objectives of the nontheistic, Salem-based, political activist movement,” opins the festival promoters, and offers “a timely look at a group of often misunderstood outsiders whose unwavering commitment to social and political justice has empowered thousands of people around the world.” Filmmaker Lane and The Satanic Temple co-founder and spokesperson Lucien Greaves will be present for a post-screening Q&A.

You can see a trailer for the festival, which also includes films like Adrian Panek’s harrowing Werewolf, Sophia Cacciola and Michael J. Epstein’s horror comedy Clickbait, and the U.S. premiere of Drew Bolduc’s dark sci-fi flick Assassinaut, here:

Hail Satan Trailer

Magnolia Pictures recently dropped a Hail Satan? trailer which brings a light touch to a dark group, The Satanic Temple, founded in 2012 to test the strength of the First Amendment. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” according to the Constitution. But somehow the motto “In God We Trust” got slipped into a two-cent piece in 1864. In November 1907 President Theodore Roosevelt took a big stick to the phrase, saying he thought it came “dangerously close to sacrilege” with its “irreverence.” The Republican President was progressive on many issues, especially conservation, but that didn’t make him a convervative. He’d never heard any of his friends react to the motto with anything but a sneer. On July 30, 1956, Republican President  Dwight Eisenhower told those sneerers and jeerers to go to hell. He signed a Joint Resolution by the 84th Congress declaring “In God We Trust” must appear on American currency. A nation divides. Today we blame devil worshippers for trying to steal baby Jesus from the crèche on Christmas Eve. Those satanists are “not what you think we are,” we learn in Magnolia Pictures’  first official Hail Satan? trailer.

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The feature film documentary opens in theaters this April after premiering premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last month. Directed by documentary master Penny Lane (Our Nixon, Nuts!, The Pain of Others), Hail Satan? writes the gospel on the rise of the political action cult The Satanic Temple.

Further reading: The Satanic Temple Sues Missouri Over Reproductive Rights

The tralier shows the Satanic Temple members coming off as making a lot more sense than the holier rollers. The members have passion and a sense of humor. They believe in rights. They believe in freedom. Happily for the filmmakers, that includes the freedom of blasphemic fashion, which lends more than a mere cinematic flair to the proceedings.

You can watch the trailer here:

Further reading: Activist Witches Protest Trump Immigration Policy at Detention Center

“Chronicling the extraordinary rise of one of the most colorful and controversial religious movements in American history, Hail Satan? is an inspiring and entertaining new feature documentary from acclaimed director Penny Lane,” according to the official synopsis.

Further reading: Satanic Temple Premieres Horror Film The Witch, Along with New Trailer

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“When media-savvy members of the Satanic Temple organize a series of public actions designed to advocate for religious freedom and challenge corrupt authority, they prove that with little more than a clever idea, a mischievous sense of humor, and a few rebellious friends, you can speak truth to power in some truly profound ways. As charming and funny as it is thought-provoking, Hail Satan? offers a timely look at a group of often misunderstood outsiders whose unwavering commitment to social and political justice has empowered thousands of people around the world.”

Further reading: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Witch Familiars Explained

The Satanic Temple recently won a victory in its infernal battle with Netlix’s Archie Unverse series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. The Baphomet monument at the center of that spat began with the group’s breakthrough legal victor. The put a monument of the goat demon outside the Arkansas State Capitol building. Lane has it on tape.

The 21st annual Boston Underground Film Festival is held at Harvard Square’s Brattle Theatre and Harvard Film Archive from March 20th through the 24th.

Hail Satan? premieres in theaters on April 19th.

Culture Editor Tony Sokol cut his teeth on the wire services and also wrote and produced New York City’s Vampyr Theatre and the rock opera AssassiNation: We Killed JFK. Read more of his work here or find him on Twitter @tsokol.

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