Beginning with a political rally in which The Satanic Temple endorses a candidate for office that supports prayer in schools (because if you allow for Jesus in school it will open the way for Satan as well); Director Penny Lane’s documentary Hail Satan? (and that “?” will come into play in this revoltin’ review in a tick) is off to the races!
What follows that is an examination of the origins The Satanic Temple (striking an even balance between the religions theatricality and honest beliefs) as well as their plans for public acceptance, and their absolute insatiable lust to fuck with people that desperately need to be fucked with (i.e. religious groups that seem to adore abusing those different from themselves).
Also included is a look at the o.g. Devil lovers; Anton Lavey’s Church of Satan and it’s carnival aesthetic and how it lead to the more political minded Temple (which does still contain the more showy trappings of the former…and thankfully so, because I love that shit to pieces!), who attribute activism to self-expression (which is revered by the religion)…and it’s that love of being true to oneself that makes the organization so appealing, as well as plenty of history as to how the concept of Satanism has been shunned as evil from the more traditional religious groups of the land, and that hoary ol’ ’80’s chestnut; The Satanic Panic (which fortunately my parents dismissed as the sensationalist nonsense it truly was back then).
As for that “?” I mentioned up yonder, well the film investigates an important question…is The Satanic Temple into the actual concept of Satan being a real being, deserving of worship…or do they just invoke his name as a metaphor or concept; the first rebel that expressed his desires as an individual, and paid one hell of a price (pun intended)…just as the followers of the religion refuse to not be themselves in whatever way that manifests itself.
Now it isn’t all blood and pentagrams, as the film documents what happens to individuals that take things too far and start to go against the non-violent stance The Temple has…a stance of surprising zero tolerance.
In the end, you lot can decide for yourselves what you think of The Satanic Temple after you lay your putrid peepers on Hail Satan?, but I guarantee that you will be surprised at the compassion, civility, and inclusive nature a supposedly “evil” organization offers to the communities in which it’s chapters are found.