Desert Critters: “The Brotherhood of Satan” (1971)



DOES AAA MENTION THIS IN THE TRAVEL BROCHURES?: Three travelers experience a typical level of understandable angst which seems to perpetually befoul the rural Southwest as seen through the prism of the American cinema, in Bernard McEveety’s “The Brotherhood of Satan”. 

      “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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About chandlerswainreviews

I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pauper, a poet, a pawn and a king, not necessarily in that order. My first major movie memory was being at the drive-in at about 1 1/2 yrs. old seeing "Sayonara" so I suppose an interest in film was inevitable. (For those scoring at home- good for you- I wasn't driving that evening, so no need to alert authorities.)Writer, critic and confessed spoiler of women, as I have a tendency to forget to put them back in the refrigerator. My apologies.
This entry was posted in Drive-In Movies, horror, movie reviews, Movies, Poe in the Cinema, Reviews, writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Desert Critters: “The Brotherhood of Satan” (1971)

  1. beetleypete says:

    Someone has to watch and review films like these, I suppose.
    I’m glad it was you.
    Best wishes, Pete

  2. johnrieber says:

    LQ Jones deserved better that’s for sure…also, a pretty good exploitation poster! Finally, your point is a good one that no small southern town is safe to drive through!

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