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The Brotherhood of Satan is viewed by some as a great film and by
others as much less than mediocre. The difference lies in the mind of
the beholder. Literal-minded folk will definitely not appreciate it and
will find it slow-moving and boring. Even those who think of it as a
classic will agree that it takes a long time for anything significant
to happen. However, for those with a metaphysical bent, once the film
gets moving, it resonates at a very deep level of the psyche.
Someone raised in a mystical or semi-mystical religion, taught doctrines of transubstantiation, resurrection of the body, the power of prayer, the importance of surrender to the almighty, and the necessity of worship will find striking parallels here though the object of adoration is the Powerful Evil One. God needs the Devil, good needs evil, life needs death, the old need the young in a dualistic world. When attraction is balanced by repulsion in the mind of the viewer, the effect is powerful. Strother Martin in the role of doctor and devil's surrogate is superb.
The use of toys and dolls to symbolize elements that exist on different levels of size or importance is ingenious. This multidimensionality suggests to our subconscious mind that nothing is just what it appears to be. In science fiction and horror, this powerful tool stimulates the imagination. In science it suggests multiple realities, multiple universes.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
**SPOILERS** Interesting little film about a Satanic takeover of the
little town of Hillsboro California by using the children of the
townspeople in the most evil and ungodly ways.
This coven of witches are now about to meet their master Satan in the world beyond in that they've reached the age where their no longer needed in his service. The last act of evil left for these witches and warlocks is to have them transfer their souls, if in fact they have any, into the children of Hillsboro and thus continue a new cycle of evil.
It's both Ben and Nicki, Charles Bateman & Ahna Capri, together with their adopted six year old daughter K.T, Geri Reischi, who have the misfortune to drive through Hillsboro and become part of this evil plan conjured up by the local and undercover Satanists who are actually in control of the town. With 26 of the town citizens killed in a series of unexplained accidents over the last 72 hours the town's very concerned Sheriff Pete,L,Q Jones, is besides himself in just what's behind their brutal deaths. It's also noted by Sheriff Pete and retired town doctor Doc Duncan, Stother Martin, that those person's, who were killed, children had mysteriously disappeared! It's later in the movie that little K.T ends up missing together with the rest of the towns 12 other children who seemed to have vanished from off the face of the earth!
It's the town's man of the cloth Priest Jack,Charles Robinson, who uncovers the reason why all these strange and unexplained event are really happening. Priest Jack uncovered the secret plan hatched by the leader of the Satanic and Witches cult through old manuscripts about the inner workings of Satanism. It also later turns out that the poor Priest Jack really loses it when he witnesses one of the townspeople end up getting decapitated right before his eyes. This by a dark horseman who seemed to materialize out of thin air! It turned out that the now headless and dead man's son joined the other children who disappeared and ended up later becoming part of the evil that's taken hold of Hillsboro!
***SPOILER ALERT*** The films unnerving final sequence has all witches and warlocks get just what they deserve in a flaming and sword wheeling ending with even Mr. Big, the head Satanist, not escaping the carnage. It also turns out that this was the plan concocted by the leader of the cult all along! He ended up dead but in his, and his followers, case death was not the end but only the beginning!
A family outing is shattered when they find themselves trapped in a
remote desert town, where supernatural forces are murdering
townspeople, and an evil cult of elderly Satanists are planning to
kidnap the children(including the family's daughter) for a sinister
purpose. The parents, a priest, and some others try to stop them before
its too late...
Though directed with some style, this dispiriting, dreary, and very unappealing film makes little sense, and is vastly inferior to "Rosemary's Baby", which it clearly is inspired by. Strother Martin as a doctor/cult leader is wasted.
The first time I saw Brotherhood of Satan I was 12 yrs old I saw it in
a little town in central Washington state it played before Tales from
the crypt which we left early because my sisters were already scared
from the Brotherhood of Satan. All in all I thought it was a pretty
good movie. The beginning was good we had just sat down and that tank
did a number on that station wagon.
What struck me about the movie was the scenery around the town in which it was filmed it looked almost like the area around Chelan WA where I saw the movie especially when they were driving towards the town of Hillsboro which is the location of the movie a small town in SW New Mexico. I have always liked LQ Jones and Strother Martin and also Charles Bateman who was on Get Smart another show I like. I gave the movie a 7 and later on when I did get to see Tales from the crypt I thought Brotherhood of Satan was better.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Neither the best of horror films nor the worst. Viewers expecting a
traditional narrative will be disappointed. The story is told
indirectly such that demands beyond the ordinary are indeed made.
Instead of building the story conventionally from one scene to the
next, essential plot elements are scattered throughout; at the same
time, with some narrative help, it's left to the viewer to assemble
them. Not surprisingly, the effort can be both puzzling as the elements
unfold and rewarding as they come together. By and large, I think the
technique works, though some patience is required.
It's a good thing the filmmakers know they're challenging the audience. As a result, they position horror images throughout in order to keep audience interest. The girl's sudden appearance before the speeding car, the sword-wielding horseman, the dripping "blood" on the kissing coupleare arresting and well done. They should be, because in my book, at least, way too much time is spent on Strother Martin's satanic mumbo-jumbo. These are static scenes bordering on parody and padding. Then too, the grisly morgue cadavers are neither well done nor necessary. Imagination can sometimes fill in the blanks more powerfully, as the great Val Lewton well understood, e.g. Cat People (1942).
WARNING spoiler ahead: The ending hasn't been commented on, but it's a surprising one, given movie conventions, especially from the earlier studio era. The "rescuers" unexpectedly arrive too late. Transmigration of souls from the old to the young has already occurred. The fade-out is abrupt. But I think it's safe to infer that the angelic-looking youngsters now possess satanic souls, and the relieved adults won't suspect. In my book, it's a really sinister and disturbing upshot. With a little more work, this little indie could have qualified as a genuine sleeper.
A rather interesting early-seventies curio, with Strother Martin playing a western small-town doctor who heads a satanic cult in his spare time. This group of devil worshipers mainly consist of senior citizens, and they have a vested interest in corrupting young children to commit acts of violence and to achieve immortality through them. It's unfortunate that, as the film plays, its intentions are not very clearly laid out, and this is a bit more muddled than it should be. But it's engaging enough, with quite a spectacle of an ending. Seeing an overwrought Strother Martin getting totally into his role as a tyrannical coven leader is a treat in itself. **1/2 out of ****
If there's one thing that the middling horror movie "The Brotherhood of Satan" (1971) demonstrates, it is that Old Scratch must have been pretty desperate for worshipping disciples in the early 1970s. In this film, Charles Bateman, his 8-year-old daughter and his hotty gal pal (the yummy Ahna Capri) get stuck in a small town out West that is in the midst of being terrorized by a coven of elderly Satanists. The town's children have been disappearing, families have been butchered wholesale, and in the blink of an eye, Bateman's daughter vanishes, too... Although the Maltin book claims that this is a "horrifying little terror tale," I didn't find it overly chilling. This is the kind of film that almost demands a second viewing; during the first, you won't know what the, uh, hell is going on for the first 2/3 of the picture. Scenes seem to peter out without making their point. While a repeat viewing does clear up some of the confusion, many questions remain unanswered. (Can anyone explain to me, for example, that little dolly that suddenly begins to cry?) Strother Martin, as the coven leader, overacts shamelessly, and it works somehow. But as geriatric covens go, while the one here IS a tad creepier than the one shown in the Joan Fontaine film "The Witches" (1966), it cannot top the one led by Sidney Blackmer in the shuddery "Rosemary's Baby" (1968), and most viewers, I think, will be left with the feeling that this film could have been so much more. There WERE two things about the movie that I really did enjoy, however; Ahna looks absolutely smashing in her white minidress. Whotta pair of gams!
You'll either like it or not. Most of the time I enjoy these types of
films but this one I found rather boring. The first 45 minutes of it
was long and drawn out.. I fast-forwarded it to what appeared to be an
exciting part and watched it - boring as well. I kept doing that until
the end of the film and I found that to be nothing exciting. I am not
sure what it is about this film that I disliked because I generally
like the 1970s occult movies but this one did not grab me at all.
You will not be missing much of anything if you pass by this horror film but if you watch it you will either be bored by it, as I was, or you will like it as others do.
"The Brotherhood of Satan" is a stupefying combination of conventional
horror elements mixed with some imaginative characterization and
direction (Bernard McEveety). It all starts out with father Charles
Bateman (as Ben) driving out west with his pretty blondes: luscious
Ahna Capri (as Nicky), and daughter Geri Reischl (as K.T.). Things get
weirder and weirder for the trio, as they approach the town of
Hillsboro, which is being gripped by a Satanic cult!
When the dullish travelers hit Hillsboro, the "action" switches to the film's more interesting assemblage of characters: townies L.Q. Jones (as Pete, the sheriff), Strother Martin (as Doc), Charles Robinson (as Jack, the priest), and Alvy Moore (as Tobey). Their interplay is sometimes fun. Soon enough, it all gets very silly, and predictable. Mr. Martin is the stand-out (as you might expect); he considers the possibility of a Satanic cult to be a "cock-and-bull story", but is (of course) their leader. The "Come in, Children" ending is puzzling; unless, perhaps, it was the film's original title.
*** The Brotherhood of Satan (8/6/71) Bernard McEveety ~ Strother Martin, L.Q. Jones, Charles Bateman, Ahna Capri
I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of Satanic horror movies and, in fact, I seem to like them less and less every time I see a new one, and that isn't really surprising when I end up watching films like Brotherhood of Satan! Despite its low rating on IMDb, I was surprised to hear some good things about this film and my expectations went up. This turned out to be a big mistake as this is exactly the film that its rating suggests it is: namely, a very bad one! The plot is your basic bunch of Satanists causing trouble, and we focus on a small town where people have been murdered and kidnapped and it's not really clear why. Naturally, Satanists are behind it and this is bad news for a mother, father and daughter on a road trip who become trapped in the mysterious town. I had a feeling that this film might be along the same lines as the crappy Satanist flick 'The Devil's Rain', and while it's not quite as silly as Robert Fuest's later film, it's not much better either. The plot seems to be fairly down to Earth, but it's also rather boring and I can't say that I enjoyed myself at all during this movie. Brotherhood of Satan obviously has its fans, but I'm not one of them; this is a film that I see no reason to recommend...
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