Sundance Film Festival 2019 Review: Hail Satan?

Hail Satan.jpg

Love the question mark!

Sundance movies are usually rated from one to 4 stars. This was one of 3 FIVE star movies I saw the first weekend. Of course, Saturday night midnight showing at the Tower is going to be a hoot! Penny Lane, the director, came out before the film:

“Uh, I hope everyone knows, uh, you are in a room with a bunch of Satanists..” (the crowd goes wild!)

The Satanic Temple (TST) is the only church I have given money to in the last 5 years, in the USA. But until seeing this film, I was not really a TST acolyte. I thought they were mostly theater and mockery, but no. I discovered they are actually an active and possibly effective political force pushing back against the Dominionist objectives of the dominant religion.

The film tracks the path of the TST from their first foray pushing against a Ten Commandments monument at the Florida state capitol. And it took off. To all us atheists who are marginalized in US society - it appealed. And people signed up and took on religionist illicitness in their local communities - Ten Commandments Monuments, benedictions at City Council Meetings (etc.), etc. These fights brought the disenfranchised together, formed community.

I have identified as an Atheist. Defined by what I am NOT. I learned what “Satan” really means - Satan being the pushback against blind obedience to the psychotic mythical guy in the sky, YHWY. TST is not just a way to troll evangelicals… it is a force for positive change in our nation. And then there are the Seven Tenets:


One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.

The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.

One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.

The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend.

To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo one's own.

Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.

People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and remediate any harm that may have been caused.

Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought.

The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.


I mean, really. Who can disagree with that!!!!

But, I digress.

The movie - the movie is GREAT. Powerful, funny, bouncy, continuously entertaining. So, so good. The Sundance blurb nails it pretty well:

“Brandishing their sharply honed cinematic swords, director Penny Lane and producer Gabriel Sedgwick strike a cunning balance between cheeky, brazen entertainment and defiantly serious storytelling in this wickedly topical documentary that bares its horns to speak truth to power. “

Go SEE IT!!!