“The Brotherhood of Satan” (1971)
Children may seem to to be the root of all evil in “The Brotherhood of Satan”, but it’s only a feint, thinly disguising the actual complicity of the town’s elders. Clearly, when it comes to supernatural wickedness, timing is everything. Bernard McEveety’s low-budget chiller continues the long standing Hollywood tradition of portraying isolated Southwestern towns as magnets for unexplainable horrors, be they fugitive criminals, gigantic atomic mutations, ill-mannered outer space immigrants, or here, in the post-Manson Family era, cultists with a homicidal bent.
In this case, the cult is a coven of Satanists who, partially through the use of an unexplained power to animate simple children’s toys into weapons of mass destruction, have prevented anyone from traveling in or out of community limits. There is no doubt that these “witches” are a busy bunch, though the motivation for their widespread chicanery isn’t accompanied by a passable explanation (Worship of the Devil being what it is in the movies, each individual film seems to make up its own set of rules as it goes along. Say what you will about God fearing organized religions, but they generally follow a game plan.) and so the pious mumbo jumbo given extended treatment fails to resonate with neither sufficient mystery nor menace to produce any result but giggles. “The Brotherhood of Satan” is the kind of film which requires an excess of suspension of disbelief from the audience (for obvious reasons) as it is never explained as to how such events might unfold unnoticed by civilization as surely someone from the outside would eventually attempt to make deliveries, transport mail or make a phone call.
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