By Don Simpson | January 17, 2014
Director: Theo Love
On New Year’s Day 2010, just outside the East Texas town of Canton, the Little Hope Baptist Church mysteriously burned to the ground. The Van Zandt County fire marshal believed the fire to have been started by a faulty electrical box, though some townspeople opted to point their fingers at Satan. Within a month, nine more churches burned to the ground. With each church, it became increasingly obvious that arson was the one and only possibility — well, other than Satan, of course.
Unsure of what the sam hell was going on, the god-fearing and church-loving people of East Texas felt terrorized. They could not imagine why anyone would want to burn down these churches. The townspeople were growing suspicious of their neighbors and even their own family members.
Investigators from the Department of Public Safety, Texas Rangers and federal agents participated in the hunt for the arsonists — the largest criminal investigation in East Texas history. State troopers were called in to patrol the region’s roads and local townspeople commenced all-night surveillances of various East Texas churches. The investigation seemed to be going nowhere, lacking any hard proof regarding any suspects or motives.
Little Hope Was Arson captures a small town ravaged by paranoia and fear, and families dealing with the guilt of their own relatives. Relying upon archival news footage to fill in some background regarding the church burnings, director Theo Love then interviews local townspeople to get a more personal interpretation of the events. Once the accused arsonists are revealed, the interviews get all the more interesting, culminating with prison interviews with the arsonists themselves. What is most chilling is the sheer callousness of the arsonists, offering no rhyme or reasons for their actions.