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How did one discredited biography ignite one of America’s most memorable moral panics? That’s the central mystery that the new documentary Satan Wants You seeks to unravel. The film debuted Saturday as part of SXSW’s Documentary Spotlight and tells the story of Michelle Remembers—an account that claimed to share repressed memories from Canadian woman Michelle Smith’s childhood, with help from her psychiatrist Lawrence “Larry” Pazder.
(Disclosure: Allegra Frank, a Daily Beast’s Obsessed editor, is a member of the SXSW documentary jury. She was not involved in coverage of any documentaries or editing of the story.)
Beyond setting off a national wave of paranoia, Satan Wants You examines how Michelle Remembers—and Pazder and Smith’s questionable relationship both before and after its publication—affected the personal lives of many around the pair.