The Brotherhood of Satan
L.Q. Jones, Alvy Moore for LQ/JAF, Four Star Excelsior/Columbia
directed by Bernard McEveety
starring Strother Martin, L.Q. Jones, Charles Bateman, Ahna Capri, Charles Robinson, Alvy Moore, Helene Winston, Joyce Easton, Debi Storm, Jeff Williams, Judith McConnell, Robert Ward, Geri Reischl, Kevin McEveety, Alyson Moore, Cindy Holden, Debbie Judith, Sheila McEveety, Scott Aguilar, Grant McGregor, Jonathan Erickson Eisley, Brian McEveety, Robyn Grei, Linda Tiffany, John Barclay, Anthony Jochim, Patrick Sullivan Burke, Donald Journeaux, Ysabel MacCloskey, Elsie Moore, Cicely Walper, Lenore Shanewise, Phyllis Coghlan, Margaret Wheeler, Gertrude Graner
story by Sean MacGregor, screenplay by William Welch, L.Q. Jones, music by Jaime Mendoza-Nava
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On their way back from a day at the beach, Ben (Charles Bateman), Nicky
(Ahna Capri) and their daughter K.T. (Geri Reischl) stumble upon a badly
crashed car, apparently with no survivors, so they want to do the right
thing and report it in the next small town ... but the town's in an uproar
as some of their children have disappeared, so much so that they almost
lynch Ben and Nicky, and they see themselves forced to prove their
daughter is theirs. Upon leaving town though, they have a flat tire, which
forces them to walk back to town - and on the way they stumble upon the
scene of a massacre ...
In town, the Sheriff (L.Q. Jones) can't do much
but to offer them abode at the police station for the night - and it seems
there's something sinister going on, as of late, massacres like the one
above and disappearing children have become a regular occurence, and as
the Sheriff, his deputy (Alvy Moore), the local doctor (Strother Martin)
and the priest (Charles Robinson), they can't totally rule out some
witches coven. Things get really tricky the next morning, when K.T. goes
missing, and Ben, Nicky, the Sheriff, the deputy, the priest and the
doctor go on an excursion to find her. But then Doc disappears, the priest
goes mad, and the others are pretty much clueless as to what's going on -
not knowing of course that there's a witches coven in town that needed all
the children for their rejuvination ceremony ...
By 1971 and in
the wake of Rosemary's Baby (1968), possessed children were only
gradually becoming mainstream fodder, finally having arrived wtih films
like The Exorcist (1973) and The
Omen (1976). Compared to all of these movies (and quite in general), The
Brotherhood of Satan is a rather low budget effort - which totally
works for the movie though as it brings down the horror to a very intimate
level. And the film sure is creepy enough, as despite its rather
straight-forward storyline, it manages to shroud the narrative core in
mystery for the longest time, makes a good job of creating unease in the
finale, and the ultimate punchline, well, really packs a punch, making
this one really cool piece of genre cinema.