The Devil Probably: A Century of Satanic Panic

October 30th 2019 - November 8th 2019

Series site

October 30 – November 8
With so many treating Halloween as nothing more meaningful than an excuse to party till dawn in a half-assed superhero costume, it’s safe to say the holiday has drifted far from its historical roots. Nevertheless, by virtue of its relationship to various traditions honoring the dead – as well as to ancient festivals marking the onset of the “darker half” of the year, a transitional moment when the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead were thought to become porous – Halloween also conjures up images of the underworld, and by association, notions of Satan, witchcraft, and other dark forces.

Inspiring a wealth of creative output, negative perceptions about Satanism and the occult have been perpetually harnessed by those in power to stoke alarmist fears about feminists, people of color, rebellious youths, communists, and many other groups and movements that have threatened the status quo. These perceptions have contributed to the rise of mass hysteria, conspiracy theories, and superstition, ultimately sparking questions about the socio-political impacts of historic and modern-day witch-hunts around the world. Taking this realm of inquiry as a point of departure, and in a spirit of autumnal celebration, we present a sneak-preview Halloween edition of an upcoming series showcasing the phenomenon of Satanic Panic as it’s been manifested cinematically throughout the history of the medium. Stay tuned for more in 2020!

Guest-curated by Genevieve HK.

Join us for a special reception on Thursday, October 31 at 7:30!

Special thanks to Diego Dassaev Rios Alarcón (Televisa); Chris Chouinard (Park Circus); Keith Crocker; Sebastian del Castillo (AGFA); Eric di Bernardo (Rialto Pictures); Sofía Arévalo Gallardo (Cineteca Nacional de Mexico); Harry Guerro; Alfredo Leone (Naor World Media Films); Kristie Nakamura (WB); and Daniel Birman Ripstein (Alameda Films).

Past Screenings