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Led by a sinister minister, a controlling religious sect called the Brethren has taken control of widow Birdy Wemys, sending her unstable son, Kenny, into a spiraling descent into madness and murder. No woman is safe when Kenny's religious mania overpowers him and leads to a rampage of carnage and chaos! Written by
At the beginning of the movie when the young boy is baptized, the boy is placed inside the baptismal pool. However during one shot of the congregation shouting, he is shown completely dry, back on his pew and seconds again later he is sat in the baptismal pool. See more »
This is one of the more notable British horror films from the early 1970s, a stylish and generally accomplished mix of religion, psycho-drama, music and exploitation. The opening cross-cutting between a prayer meeting accentuated by a powerful gospel song and a vicious murder is so stunning that the rest of the film actually struggles to live up to it, though the ending appropriately over-the-top is worth waiting for. Thematically, the film anticipates Pete Walker's equally good HOUSE OF MORTAL SIN aka THE CONFESSIONAL (1975) but here we get the added bonus of a typically intense performance from Patrick Magee as the religious group's fanatical leader. Ann Todd (the former Mrs. David Lean) is one of his closest collaborators in fact, her house is a converted church! but who has to keep her diabetic condition a secret because the intake of insulin is prohibited by her faith! Her son (Tony Beckley), a security guard and part-time swimming instructor and pamphlet distributor, is repressed and unbalanced and soon revealed to be the serial killer of nubile girls terrorizing the neighborhood (he even records on tape the victims in the throes of death a' la PEEPING TOM !). Todd's new nurse happens to have a reporter sister (genre regular Suzanna Leigh) who, alerted to the inhabitants' conspicuous Puritanism, concludes that all is not well with the house and decides to investigate. Given the permissive era in which this was made, violence and gratuitous nudity (along with the standard prerequisites associated with such fare) contend for the running-time and the audience's attention with a moderately serious treatment of the subject at hand. The end result may not be surprising or even particularly insightful but nonetheless proves wholly absorbing, thanks also to its undeniable surface polish.
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