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Peacock Revisiting The Satanic Panic In New Series 'Hysteria!' Starring Anna Camp

The streaming platform's upcoming show will see a group of teenagers implicated in a series of crimes as the Satanic Panic takes over their small town.

By Cydney Contreras

Peacock is taking viewers on a trip back in time.

The streamer will revisit the 1980s-era Satanic Panic in the new series "Hysteria!," starring "Pitch Perfect" actress Anna Camp and "Modern Family" star Julie Bowen. The cast is rounded out by actors Emjay Anthony, Kezii Curtis, Chiara Aurelia, Dylan Campbell and Nikki Hahn.

Drawing inspiration from the real-life Satanic Panic, "Hysteria!" is described by the streamer as a coming-of-age thriller. "When a beloved varsity quarterback disappears during the ‘Satanic Panic’ of the late 1980s, a struggling high school heavy metal band of outcasts realize they can capitalize on the town’s sudden interest in the occult by building a reputation as a Satanic metal band, until a bizarre series of murders, kidnappings, and reported ‘supernatural activity’ triggers a leather-studded witch hunt that leads directly back to them,” the official show description reads. 

Anthony, Aurelia and Curtis will play Dethkrunch band members Dylan Campbell, Jordy and Spud, respectively.

Meanwhile, Bowen will portray Dylan's mom, Linda, who "experiences a series of supernatural disturbances that force her to question everything she knows about her son, as well as the growing threat of Satanism in their small Midwestern town," according to a Peacock press release.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Camp's character Tracy Whitehead, a "crusading Midwestern mother who has been the laughing stock of her community for years due to her extreme religious beliefs, but after a string of occult crimes and disturbances, she becomes a dangerous and unlikely leader of her small town," the press release states. 

Lastly, Hahn's character Faith is described as a "sheltered teenage girl whose life is forever changed by a shocking, traumatic crime." 

"Hysteria!" will likely touch on some of the biggest controversies to come out of the Satanic Panic, including the McMartin preschool scandal or even the Son of Sam killings.

There's also inspiration to be drawn from the publication of the book "Michelle Remembers," which author and culture writer Mike “McBeardo” McPadden previously described as the "‘Big Bang’ moment of the Satanic Panic" in an interview with Oxygen.com. In the now-discredited book, Canadian psychiatrist Lawrence Pazder wrote about his sessions with patient Michelle Smith, whom he hypnotized and questioned about her youth. During the sessions, Smith began to recall false memories of Satanic ritual abuse that began when she was 5 years old.

"The book is ostensibly Smith’s recovered childhood memories of being abused by a Satanic cult and includes lurid details of children in cages and devil worshippers feasting on dead babies,” McPadden said. “It successfully pushed the notion of a network of child-abusing Satanic cults throughout North America."

Though Smith's memories were dubious, the arrest of Night Stalker Richard Ramirez and the McMartin Preschool trial lent credence to Pazder's writing. "The way such things were reported, even the most sober-minded citizens were like, ‘OK, something seems to be afoot here with Satan in America today,'" McPadden said. 

To learn more about the Satanic Panic and the controversies of the era, watch "Uncovered: The McMartin Family Trials," streaming now on Oxygen.com.

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