Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

THE BROTHERHOOD OF SATAN


THE BROTHERHOOD OF SATAN (1971). Director. Bernard McEveety.
Ben (Charles Bateman), his girlfriend Nicky (Ahna Capri), and his daughter K.T. (Geri Reischl), get lost while traveling to grandma's and wind up in the town of Hillsboro, which is experiencing a chilling supernatural experience. Children are disappearing, people are being gruesomely butchered, and no one -- except for Ben and his group -- can get in or out of the town. The priest (Charles Robinson) thinks a witches coven may be responsible, but his notion is breezily dismissed by Doc Duncan (Strother Martin), who knows more than he's telling. Absorbing, disturbing and strange horror film grabs you from the first -- a non-graphic but gruesome scene when a car with people inside is crushed by a toy tank that somehow becomes the real thing -- and in its own weird way never lets go (although there is a boring nightmare sequence that goes on way too long and seems inserted just to pad the running time). Screenplay by L. Q. Jones, who plays the sheriff, and also co-produced the film with Alvy Moore (best known as "Hank Kimball" from Green Acres), who plays his assistant Tobey. Helene Winston scores as Dame Alice, one of the witches who's pissed off Satan and pays the ultimate price, attacked by a mass of elderly murderers. With a little more effort, better direction, and avoidance of some unfortunate casting choices, this might have been a classic.
Verdict: Creepy little terror film with some memorable scenes and images. ***.

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