Peacock has handed a straight-to-series order to Hysteria!, a coming-of-age satanic panic drama thriller from writer Matthew Scott Kane (It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia), Dungeons & Dragons filmmakers John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, Chris Bender and Jake Weiner’s Good Fear (My Spy, Mulan) and UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group.
Written and executive produced by Kane, Hysteria! explores American’s dark history of mass hysteria through the shocking story of the teenage Satanic Panic. The series follows a group of 1980s high school misfits as they exploit the growing hysteria around teen occult activity.
Per the logline, in Hysteria!, 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.
There are parallels in Hysteria! to Netflix’s Stranger Things, also a 1980s supernatural series featuring a group of outcasts.
Daley and Goldstein will executive produce and direct. Chris Bender and Jake Weiner will executive produce for Good Fear. Scott Stoops serves as supervising producer. UCP is the studio.
Good Fear developed the spec pilot and series pitch with Kane and then brought on Goldstein and Daley, with whom Bender and Weiner have a long relationship, to direct and produce.
The “Satanic Panic” began in the U.S in the 1980s with thousands of unsubstantiated cases of Satanic ritual abuse, later spreading worldwide by the late 1990s, and still persisting today. The allegations involved reports of physical and sexual abuse during occult or Satanic rituals.
“Our upcoming thriller series Hysteria! will explore the complex world of the Satanic Panic, set amidst ‘80s nostalgia, mystery, heavy metal, and an all-American setting,” said Lisa Katz, President Scripted Content, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “We’re excited to partner on this fresh, coming-of-age story led by writer Matthew Scott Kane, executive producers and directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, Good Fear, and our partners at UCP, for what is sure to be a compelling original series for Peacock viewers.”
“This nail-biting thriller dives into a mass moral panic and all the fears, desires, anger and dread that led to these dark days,” said Beatrice Springborn, President, UCP. “Matthew’s script is original, intriguing and perfectly captures the frenetic energy of the Satanic Panic. We can’t wait for audiences to experience the show on Peacock.”
Kane’s previous credits include It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Stitchers, American Horror Story and Cristela, among others.