Robert Eggers chilled audiences around the world with his debut film The Witch, a Sundance breakout that made US$40 million ($59m) worldwide on a US$4m ($5.9m) budget.
But the film's popularity apparently became a curse for Eggers when he began production on his second film, The Lighthouse.
Speaking in conversation with Hereditary and Midsommar director Ari Aster on film company A24's podcast, Eggers detailed how A24's marketing strategy for The Witch was to have the film endorsed by the Satanic Temple.
"We didn't have any stars for The Witch," he said. "A24 felt they needed something special for marketing, and they wanted to have the Satanic Temple endorse the film.
"I don't have anything against the Satanic Temple or their political agenda or anything like that at all, but I didn't want the movie endorsed by the Satanic Temple like I wouldn't want it being endorsed by something that called itself Christ's Temple either. And I have tons of personal philosophical, semi-spiritual reasons for not wanting this, and also, I said, 'People are going to think I'm a fucking Satanist.'"
A24 promoted the film with the Satanic Temple anyway - and Eggers' fear turned out to come true. When scouting a location for The Lighthouse (starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson) in Poland, the director's presence in the country was met with opposition by the government.
"The woman who was running the film office said, 'We don't want Robert Eggers coming to Poland because he's a Satanist'," Eggers revealed. "So we had to spend a week convincing them that I wasn't a Satanist before I could go scout in Poland."
The Lighthouse debuted at Cannes Film Festival earlier this year to rave reviews, and is expected to be released internationally by Focus Features.