Are we about to experience Satanic Panic 2.0? Although, as Vox pointed out, the original one that plagued the world, particularly the U.S., during the 1980s and 1990s never really ended. But, also as Vox pointed out, that one got its start in the 1970s.
There were a lot of things that fed the panic in the 70s, including crimes like the Manson murders and the Zodiac killer, as well as the publication of books like Anton LaVey’s The Satanic Bible and William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist, which was turned into a blockbuster film.
Ah, The Exorcist. While many factors contributed to the rise of Satanic Panic, that book based on a true story, and its subsequent movie was one of the biggest single contributing factors to the phenomenon.
The Exorcist sparked Satanic Panic 1.0
Suddenly, people blamed demons for everything. From the alleged Amityville haunting —that itself went on to inspire a bestselling book and blockbuster movie— to “the Devil made me do it” case in the 1980s that decades later would inspire the third movie in the Conjuring series.
And that’s not even scratching the surface of all the crimes where defendants were accused of —or, in some cases, like serial killer Richard “Night Stalker” Ramirez, admitted to— worshipping Satan.
Thankfully we haven’t seen a rise in Satan-worshipping serial killers making headlines again. (And let’s hope that continues!) But as far as inspiring demon-centric TV shows and movies? Let’s just say there’s been a plethora of new offerings and it doesn’t appear the genre faces extinction any time soon.
What may spark Satanic Panic 2.0
Zak Bagans proved demons sell when he transitioned Ghost Adventures to hunting the darkest, most demonic entities he and his crew could find. Travel Channel has run with that model. From Shock Docs like Michigan Hell House to the upcoming Eli Roth Presents: The Legion of Exorcists, demons provide a popular formula for Travel Channel paranormal shows.
But then look at the movies that either have come out recently or soon will. Smile had a demonic entity. The Pope’s Exorcist, inspired by the real-life Father Gabriele Amorth, one of the founders of the International Association of Exorcists, battles demons. So does Evil Dead Rise.
And then there’s the forthcoming reboot of The Exorcist, a.k.a. the OG that really kindled the Satanic Panic flame to begin with. Will it help trigger Satanic Panic 2.0?
I don’t know, but you can see how it might. Demons are on everyone’s mind again. To the point that they even still make true crime headlines. Like a recent one from The Washington Post: “Uber Eats driver dismembered in ‘demonic’ attack, Florida police say.”
I can see how Satanic Panic 2.0 might descend upon us. And if it does, that’s more proof that the saying “what’s old is new again” really rings true.
What do you think? Do you think all the demon-centered entertainment will infiltrate our culture again and spark Satanic Panic 2.0? We’d love to know your thoughts. Leave them in the comments!