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The Brotherhood of Satan (1971)

by on 2012/10/20

“We tried to get out of town a dozen times.”

* * *

This month I’m being cheap. While Mr. Renders celebrates Canadian horror, I’m diving into delete bins and scavenging through freebies in my month-long discount Halloween jag. The Brotherhood of Satan is a movie included in a small, strings-attached bunch of film samplers on Crackle featured on the PlayStation Network.

The price for my free viewing was watching either the KFC Zinger sandwich ad or one for Subway many, many (many) times.

How best to sum this Satanic horror flick up quickly? Village of the Damned meets Children of the Corn and they have a Rosemary’s Baby?

Here’s an equally quick overview of the action: a bunch of Satan-worshipping senior citizens kidnap the children from a desert town. The brainwashed kids then use toys and knickknacks to kill off the grown ups who happen to be trapped in the town with …No.Way.To.Escape.

This low-budget horror movie filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, had me thinking that I’m not the only one who can be frugal. The director Bernard McEveety, and producer and writer L. Q. Jones (director of A Boy And His Dog), who also played the town sheriff, made something awfully effective and creepy for, er, cheaply.

They clearly assembled some really sweaty but somewhat talented actors, found a couple buckets of red paint, the creepiest toys they could find at the local second-hand store, and snagged some velour capes for the devil-happy cult members.

(Satanists do love their velour).

Then voila, and praise be to the prince of darkness, Mr. Jones and fiends built a serviceable Satanic type thriller. I’m not sure why this film didn’t garner more of an audience and is so universally panned, especially when a movie like Rosemary’s Baby generated a following.

If you want to see decadent, Satan-loving oldies doing very bad things a la Rosemary’s Baby, The Brotherhood of Satan has them by the secret room-full. If you like blonde children like the one played by Geri Reischl (Brady Bunch Variety Hour) in this movie staring eerily off into the middle distance a la The Village of the Damned, The Brotherhood of Satan has them too.

And the kids playing funny games with toys and killing, brings a heaping helping of Children of the Corn.

And there’s even a bit of Canadian content in this devil-worshipping flick – Winnipeg-born Helene Winston turns in an unsettling performance as a witch who is shunned by her cackling coven.

For a cool, autumn evening, there are worse ways to spend your time than watching something like The Brotherhood of Satan. An excellent creepy value for my (no) money.

* * *

92 minutes

Rated PG for some bloody scenes, the shortness of Ahna Capri’s minidress and Charles Bateman’s shirtlessness

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