The Satanic Panic

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TristramEvans

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I don't think I've ever heard someone say that. The guy's got a pretty impressive filmography.

My favorites:
Band of Brothers
Road to Perdition
Apollo 13
Saving Private Ryan
Catch Me If You Can
That Thing You Do!
A League of Their Own
The Burbs

Honorable mentions to Big, Joe Versus the Volcano, Forrest Gump, Sleepless in Seattle/You've Got Mail (I can be a sucker for a 90s romcom once in a while), Green Mile, Ladykillers, and Turner & Hooch.

Yeah, not a fan of any of those that I've seen, some I actively hate. Granted, there's a few, like Joe vs the Volcano, I haven't seen since I was a wee child. But just in general - while I don't have any particular feelings about him one way or another, I know Hanks, and his films, are very popular, but his taste in film projects I guess just doesn't appeal to me.
 

BedrockBrendan

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Yeah, not a fan of any of those that I've seen, some I actively hate. Granted, there's a few, like Joe vs the Volcano, I haven't seen since I was a wee child. But just in general - while I don't have any particular feelings about him one way or another, I know Hanks, and his films, are very popular, but his taste in film projects I guess just doesn't appeal to me.

Bosom Buddies is still his best work
 

T. Foster

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That Thing You Do (which Hanks directed as well as having a supporting role in) is literally one of my favorite movies.

He also had a ton of great moments hosting SNL over the years, like the classic Mr. Belvedere Fan Club sketch:
 

Silverlion

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My mom was chill about it for a hardcore Baptist "Let me see it." Then, "you know the difference between fantasy and reality?"
"Alright, you can play." Pretty much it until a woman where she worked became worried and said something to her, and my mom quipped "I know where my son and his friends are on Friday night, do you know where yours are?" roughly remembered for the billionth time just how cool she was and that zinger caught the lady off guard I'm sure.

My mom was kind of awesome--then again she read some fantasy and near-future sci-fi thrillers and horror. (Mostly Crichton, and Dean Koontz)
 

Ravenswing

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I never got a lot of push back for my tabletop games in Germany (actually got my first box set from our church library), but LARPing got hit by this somewhat harder. Our own Satanic Panic started in the early 90s, after a famous murder case done by a black metal band – same time the Varg stuff hit the fan, too. Then in 2001 some goths killed a co-worker, which re-ignited this.

Yeah, affected my own LARP, which started in the late 80s. The LARP started out banning any RP of "gods" -- you could worship a vague "saint," but even there significant social pressure was there not to do so. It took a few years for the stigma to vanish.

We were lectured and barred from playing at school after a Karen complained. She wasn't even a mother of one of the kids that gamed with us.

I really, REALLY live for the day when school systems start looking crazy adults in the eyes and bark out "For Chrissake, grow up."

Then again, the capacity of parents to rail at their children for things they did themselves at that age is not only immense, but eternal: complaints about the Perversity and Rudeness of Youth have been recorded pretty much continuously since writing was invented.
 

carpocratian

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My parents just brushed off the Satanic Panic nonsense.

I think they were just happy that I was spending my weekends doing something creative with friends, rather than running around town getting into trouble. They always knew where I was, who I was with, and what I was doing. Once I started driving, they knew that I wouldn't get on the road if I was too sleepy to drive, and could just sleep at a friends house (where we played games). The deal was that I checked in with them by phone when I was settled somewhere, then again if we were going somewhere else or I was leaving to drive home (no matter what the time). As a result, I never really had a curfew, since they always knew where I was, and that I was safe. It was a good deal for all of us.
 

Jetstream

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Hahahah, I think this was the only fad thing my mom got taken in by. She totally banned me from playing D&D.

I didn't even know what the hell she was talking about.

Later on, she admitted that she also didn't know what she was talking about, and really didn't know what she was thinking.

She didn't blink when I bought a book called Demon: The Fallen.
 

Giganotosaurus

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Man, I can't imagine what it was like to grow up during the satanic panic. The closest I got was a friend whose family was a part of a church that never really left the Satanic Panic. She was well read and didn't fully drink the Kool-aid. We'd would crack jokes about people who thought Harry Potter was devil.
These days she's part of the local anti-vax group.
 

Simlasa

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None of the Panic landed in my life... though I'm kind of surprised my mom, despite not being religious at all, didn't hop on the trend just because she seemed to take up a lot of other media freak-out nonsense.
What little I did see of it was MUCH more about music.
The church our D&D group attended said nothing about it.
 

TristramEvans

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Just removed a political tangent about the Left and Right. I know this subject does crossover into politics of 40 years ago, but I think we can discuss the social effects and implications especially as related to the hobby without bringing up modern day political divides. It may be a fine line, but it was firmly crossed.
 

Mankcam

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The rpg controversery stuff in Australia was not fever pitch like media presented it in the USA, but more of a dull roar around the edges, something a few hard core church goers and community committee type people were worried about. I know things kicked off a year or so earlier in the USA, but in Australia is was mainly around 1986 when it was beign covered on current affair programs and whatnot, then it kinda faded away and was forgotten about

We started playing rpgs in our small town school library around late 1985 when we were 13.
The media/church controversy hit the news, and as a result D&D was banned at my high school 1986 to 1988 - so that was most of the time I was there, but probably because the school libarian was a fanatic-level churchgoer and on every community committee he could find himself.

However Basic D&D was never our main gig, we mainly played RuneQuest, MERP, and Rolemaster. Because of this we got around the D&D ban rules for a full year until the school librarian worked out that rpgs were bigger than just D&D. By then it was 1987, and we just moved to Saturday afternoon sessions with my friends, so it was no dramas.
The school ban was lifted a year later, but by then we didn't want to play rpgs at school anyway, preferring a fortnightly or monthly session at one of our family homes. I think I may have played in a few AD&D sessions in the school library, but it wasn't with my core friends and we just kept going with our favourite games in our own homes.

My cousin had a similar situation at his school, where he found that they weren't allowed to play D&D. Ironically he managed to run Elric/Stormbringer and Call of Cthulhu sessions instead, so there was no logic there at all :grin:
 
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Ravenswing

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Well, sure: it's a longstanding truism that roleplaying = "Dungeons and Dragons" to the general public. I typically start a riff about RPGs to outsiders by asking them if they've heard of D&D, however much I haven't played it in decades. Less a matter of Logic Fail than that the mundanes just don't know any different.
 

xanther

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Well, sure: it's a longstanding truism that roleplaying = "Dungeons and Dragons" to the general public. I typically start a riff about RPGs to outsiders by asking them if they've heard of D&D, however much I haven't played it in decades. Less a matter of Logic Fail than that the mundanes just don't know any different.
Add in if you say you are into "role playing games" they think you are involved in some BDSM kind of thing, not that that is necessarily ill received :smile:
 

Simlasa

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Add in if you say you are into "role playing games" they think you are involved in some BDSM kind of thing, not that that is necessarily ill received :smile:
We watched the new horror/comedy 'Freaky' last night and there's a scene where one kid's mom comes home to find her son next to a girl who is tied and gagged (she's the villain).
His mother questions this and the son explains that they are 'role playing' and that it's a 'game'. No one mentions D&D and the mother eventually asks, 'Isn't that a sex thing?'
 
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Voros

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In my neck of the woods the Satanic Panic was prominent in the US media but near non-existent on the ground.

Adults just seemed more confused and bemused by D&D.

Most assumed we were larping, it was the fact that the play took place in a shared imaginative space that most mystified them. The only references to Satanism and D&D were made with wry smile.

Kinda ironic as my hometown was the epicentre of the beginning of the Satantic Panic in many ways as it was where the supposed events in Michelle Remembers were set.

My hometown was also widely believed to be the 'Satanic capital' of Canada. I realized later this was because it actually had one of the relatively largest Wiccan populations in Canada, due to a combo of West Coast hippies, retired Brits and the natural beauty of the landscape. Oh and one of the best known poets teaching at the university was a well-known Wiccan as well (Robin Skelton in case you're curious).

Heavy metal and the Satantic cult accusations in childcare centres were treated relatively more seriously despite the widespread secularism and liberal Christianity I was raised in and surrounded by. But I only encountered more dogmatic Christianity in RL later in my adult life (mainly friends who crashed and burned due to drugs and alcohol).

Although really when it came to metal it was more the fashion (long hair in particular) and sonic extremity that sparked the most alarm among adults and some peers.
 
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Voros

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Yeah, not a fan of any of those that I've seen, some I actively hate. Granted, there's a few, like Joe vs the Volcano, I haven't seen since I was a wee child. But just in general - while I don't have any particular feelings about him one way or another, I know Hanks, and his films, are very popular, but his taste in film projects I guess just doesn't appeal to me.

I really like Bridge of Spies and he's good in that.

Hanks is one of those cases of being an actor who I like his performances but find his choice of films, kind of MOR respectable stuff, not to my taste.

Oddly enough his own humour, on talk shows or when he hosted SNL, is rather acerbic and cutting but his choice of films seems to tend toward the fuzzy and sentimental. In that way he reminds me of Robin Williams career.
 
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Malleustein

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My own experience is weird only because of the lateness.

I played D&D/MERP/Palladium through the late 80's in school. No-one cared. Our R.E. teacher let us use the class room at lunch time to play.
I played WHFRP/World of Darkness/Kult/Call of Cthulhu in the 90's. No-one cared.

I randomly talk to a gamer from another group while we're both waiting in line one day. This is in 2005. The woman directly in front of me spins around, screams at both of us about the satanic/blasphemous/evil/demonic books we're talking about and storms out of the building and off down the high street. We weren't talking loudly, or about anything grim, gross or inappropriate for a public place. She just... Went off on one.

There wasn't all that much satanic panic in the UK, certainly none for me, with my tree-huggin' hippy parents. But apparently it was all condensed into one very intense woman who was so offended she left a queue, which as everyone knows is unheard of in Britain.
 

Endless Flight

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It was fun growing up in the 80s and there’s always talk about the “excesses” of the era, but there was a lot of attempted censorship taking place to curb those “excesses”. The PMRC comes to mind.
 

E-Rocker

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Although I didn't get seriously into RPGs until well into my adulthood, I am very glad the church my parents attended in my youth was not the type to buy into Satanic Panic rhetoric. I also was in a Boy Scout troop in the early '90s, and kids in my troop would openly play D&D @ Scout camps, with no blowback from the authority figures.
 

carpocratian

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One of my friends in high school had parents who were highly religious. They bought into the whole Satanic Panic thing, particularly when it came to D&D. He played anyway, and we generally gathered at another friend's house to do so, but occasionally he would be stuck at home and we would play there. We would set up a board game on his bed, then sit around quietly playing D&D. When we heard one of his parents coming down the hall, we would throw the D&D books under the bed and start moving the board game pieces around. That strategy worked on and off for a couple of years. We didn't play over there often, though, since nobody liked to have to go through all that just to do some dungeon crawling.

I also remember a group showing up on the sidewalk outside my junior high school in 1980 and passing out fliers to the kids that pointed out the supposed "satanic" imagery in the Proctor & Gamble company logo (a man in the moon face with some stars in front of it).

I really don't miss the 1980s. There wasn't much about that decade that I liked at the time, and I certainly don't have much nostalgia about it.
 

Torque2100

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I lost a 1500 point Chaos space Marine army to the tail end of the Satanic Panic. I still have bitter memories of that time. Fortunately, my other interests were Battletech and Star Wars which my parent's couldn't understand being "Satanic" so I was allowed to continue playing them.

In reference to the prior thread, I only watched a little bit of this videos. Threatening someone's family members over a game is completely beyond the pale.
 

David Johansen

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Well, I've often
I lost a 1500 point Chaos space Marine army to the tail end of the Satanic Panic. I still have bitter memories of that time. Fortunately, my other interests were Battletech and Star Wars which my parent's couldn't understand being "Satanic" so I was allowed to continue playing them.

In reference to the prior thread, I only watched a little bit of this videos. Threatening someone's family members over a game is completely beyond the pale.
Well, I mean, if you really did learn to cast spells and summon demons by playing a game I suppose it would make sense.

It's interesting that we have these moral panics where people who can't tell fantasy from reality go around screaming about the dangers of people not being able to tell fantasy from reality.
 

Black Leaf

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There wasn't all that much satanic panic in the UK, certainly none for me, with my tree-huggin' hippy parents. But apparently it was all condensed into one very intense woman who was so offended she left a queue, which as everyone knows is unheard of in Britain.

Even our "moral campaigners" were mild compared to the US variety.

Reacting to sensationalist press reports, clean-up campaigner Mary Whitehouse criticised the fact that the dungeoneer could get killed in the show. She later apologised after watching it, seeing there was no on-screen violence and Treguard made it clear deceased dungeoneers were not killed in the real world.
 

3rik

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I don't come from a church-going milieu and the Netherlands was already mostly a pretty secular country when I was young. I don't think the satanic panic got much traction here. Only time I noticed a wee bit of it was from a kid in my class whose parents were in one of those creepy Pentecostal churches cults. He was not allowed to have posters of pop stars on his walls and was warned about records containing "satanic" and "occult" messages that could be heard when you played them backwards.

I did go to protestant schools, but never particularly strict or pushy ones.

I didn't start roleplaying until the early 90s so I have not experienced any satanic panic in that regard.
 
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Doctor Wombat

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In the heavily Catholic and Lutheran Illinois town I lived in during the 1980s, the Satanic Panic just wasn't much of a thing. I was raised Episcopalian and the priest at my church was a fan of fantasy literature who played D&D as well as a number of Avalon Hill war games.

I had only three real brushes with the Satanic Panic during that period:
  • My freshman honors English teacher overheard the members of my D&D group talking about the game and asked, "Isn't that the game with actual Druid spells? We assured her that none of us had the ability to perform actual magic.
  • One time while playing D&D at some public location, a guy in his early twenties who none of us recognized approached our group, very concerned that we were putting our souls at risk. We told him that D&D was merely a game and invited him to watch us play and see for himself. He watched for a while and then got up and left. I think was kind of disappointed by how mundane the whole thing was.
  • A rumor went around my high school that a Satanic cult was going to ritually sacrifice three students at Halloween. I think it even appeared in what passed for our school newspaper. As far as I can remember, no adult believed the story. Most students also dismissed it as bullshit. Which it totally was. A couple of guys in my grade eventually confessed that they started the rumor as a joke. I do recall some younger students being taken in, including my sister (who was super gullible as a kid).
There was a channel on our local cable system that carried batshit pastor Gary Greenwald's show, which my D&D group found pretty entertaining.
 

Voros

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Even our "moral campaigners" were mild compared to the US variety.

Well, not so much when it came to the Video Nasties, some people were threatened with jail just for distributing horror films in the UK in the 80s.

That those pushing the Video Nasty ban lists were completely disingenous is clear from some of the films on the ban list: the very good, near bloodless art horror film Axe ended up on the list clearly just because of the title and VHS cover; perhaps most disgusting is the inclusion of the brilliant and important Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, among other films that seem to have been judged 'gore' films based on their titles and posters alone.

And one reason the moral campaigners in the UK like Whitehouss may merely appear less extreme is that hardcore pornography was illegal in the UK until 2000 (!). So they essentially had their way for many of those decades when pornography and horror had far more free reign in the supposedly puritan US.
 
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Moonglum

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I grew up in mid-70's Madison WI, which was both a progressive center, college town, and one of the biggest markets for books and games near Lake Geneva; so, rpg's were a very prominent part of youth culture from about '76 on, and felt like old hat by the time the nation wide Satanic Panic took off. The fear mongering didn't seem to penetrate into our setting and had no effect on our school-based clubs or parents. But I do remember seeing the 60 Minutes segment on it, which has not aged well.
 

Moonglum

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The big accelerant on the Satanic Panic, at least from what I remember, was the Ed Bradley segment on 60 minutes in '85. I feel like this caught the attention of middle america more than the blathering newspaper articles and shrill screeches of the few nut jobs committed to the cause. The story carried the imprimatur of one of the most visible and trusted journalistic sources, though in retrospect it is obvious they were being attention-seeking band wagon followers when it came to this issue. Perhaps the funniest thing about it is the date - the first wave of D&D was kind of falling apart at this stage and dozens of other games had grown up to create a whole ecosystem of rpg's by 85.
 

Gringnr

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It was fun growing up in the 80s and there’s always talk about the “excesses” of the era, but there was a lot of attempted censorship taking place to curb those “excesses”. The PMRC comes to mind.
Worth noting that the PMRC wanted to take things a LOT further than they actually did. Everyone who loves entertainment should be endlessly thankful to Dee Snider, Frank Zappa, and John Denver. Fucking heroes.
 

Nobby-W

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My own experience is weird only because of the lateness.

I played D&D/MERP/Palladium through the late 80's in school. No-one cared. Our R.E. teacher let us use the class room at lunch time to play.
I played WHFRP/World of Darkness/Kult/Call of Cthulhu in the 90's. No-one cared.

I randomly talk to a gamer from another group while we're both waiting in line one day. This is in 2005. The woman directly in front of me spins around, screams at both of us about the satanic/blasphemous/evil/demonic books we're talking about and storms out of the building and off down the high street. We weren't talking loudly, or about anything grim, gross or inappropriate for a public place. She just... Went off on one.

There wasn't all that much satanic panic in the UK, certainly none for me, with my tree-huggin' hippy parents. But apparently it was all condensed into one very intense woman who was so offended she left a queue, which as everyone knows is unheard of in Britain.

Every country has idiots - as events of the past few years have brought into sharp relief.
 

Sable Wyvern

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The only direct impact I think the Satanic Panic had on me was that my mother wouldn't let me buy Call of Cthulhu; I've assumed this was because it appeared too close to what the scaremongering claim. It may have just been feeling it wasn't appropriate in general, but I'm pretty sure I was 15 or 16 at the time, so it shouldn't really have been a problem.

One of my English essays was a letter I wrote (and actually sent) to some Christian youth magazine, in response to an article warning about the dangers of D&D. I basically pointed out they clearly didn't have the faintest clue what the game actually invovled, and their conclusions were stupid.

Back in primary school (Elementary school for you yanks), the grade six class had a BECMI basic set. Someone decided it was not appropriate and through ti out, but a friend's mother was a teacher, and recovered it, and as a result we scored a copy. So, bonus for us.

I recall a youth worker coming into class to chat on one occasion and D&D came up at some point. I talked the guy afterwards, pointing out the scaremongering was ridiculous. Given he couldn't actually address any of my points (again, I doubt he had the faintest clue what D&D actually was), so he settled on, "But we don't know that it's not a doorway for Satan, so why take the chance?"

My final interaction was when selling all my MERP and RM stuff (stupid, stupid decision). The person I was selling it to had to have it vetted by parents, so any of the books with demons in them were slipped in after the vetting process.

Edit: Oh, I also read a few "non-fiction" accounts of people's experiences with Satanic cults, and the way metal and roleplaying was used as indoctrination. They were reasonably entertaining as fiction.
 
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