'the witch' becomes first movie to win support of the satanic temple

“It’s a criticism of a theocratic patriarchal society and a fair representation of the stresses that it puts on a community," the sect's national spokesperson said.

by Hannah Ongley
22 February 2016, 4:45pm

Robert Eggers' terrifying pilgrim film The Witch has won the support of critics, horror fans, and Stephen King since premiering at Sundance last year. Turns out it's also found favor with the Satanic Temple, which has buddied up with indie film distributor A24 to promote the film in all its bloody, brilliant, patriarchy-crucifying ideology. The film, which stars new-wave scream queen Anya Taylor-Joy, follows a family cast out from their Puritanical New England village. This marks the first time that the Satanic Temple has endorsed a movie. And safe to say it definitely adds another facet of interest to the spooky box office underdog, which opened to a tidy $8.7 million this past weekend.

Jex Blackmore, the national spokesperson for the Satanic Temple and the head of its Detroit chapter, recently told Variety about the sect's approval of the movie's empowering themes. "The themes in the film mirrored the things we talk about in our work," she said. "It's a criticism of a theocratic patriarchal society and a fair representation of the stresses that it puts on a community."

Apparently A24 sent Blackmore a screener of the movie. After showing it to a few other affiliates of the Satanic Temple, which has more than 100,000 members in the United States, she mobilized the troops and suggested that A24 finance a series of screenings followed by "ritualistic" interactive performances. They agreed, and we really wish we scored an invite.

"They're not after-parties," Blackmore stressed. "They were intended to provide an interactive experience so our guests would feel empowered. There were ritualistic elements and speeches that were intended to get people to awaken to their primal selves and rebel against a system of control based on an archaic reality."

The Satanic Temple hopes the partnership will help Satanism shed the devil-worshipping, baby-sacrificing stereotype. "Free thinking individuals, outspoken women, nontraditional sexuality are all things that have been deemed 'satanic' by members of our legislatures and communities," says Blackmore. Honestly, those values sound even more worthy of support than indie filmmaking.


Text Hannah Ongley
Image: The Witch (2015)

the witch
Robert Eggers
Anya Taylor-Joy