THE BROTHERHOOD OF SATAN (1971) Reviews and Arrow Video Blu-ray news

 

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The Brotherhood of Satan will be released on Blu-ray by Arrow Video on August 30th (UK) and 31st (USA) 2021. Special features:

Brand new audio commentary by writers Kim Newman and Sean Hogan
Satanic Panic: How the 1970s Conjured the Brotherhood of Satan, a brand new visual essay by David Flint
The Children of Satan, an exclusive new interview with actors Jonathan Erickson Eisley and Alyson Moore
Original Trailers and TV and Radio Spots
Image Gallery
Original uncompressed mono audio
Optional English subtitles
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Richard Wells
Illustrated booklet featuring new writing by Johnny Mains and Brad Stevens (first pressing only)

Here’s our previous coverage of this well-shot, decidedly creepy movie:

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‘A story of contemporary family witchcraft in California.’

The Brotherhood of Satan is a 1971 American horror film produced by and stars L.Q. Jones. It was directed by Bernard McEveety from a screenplay written by William Welch from a story by Sean MacGregor. The movie also stars Strother Martin and Anna Capri.

Actors L.Q. Jones and Alvy Moore produced two other genre films during this period – The Witchmaker (1969) and A Boy and His Dog (1973). The soundtrack score was composed by Jaime-Mendoza Nava.

Plot:

Ben (Charles Bateman), his girlfriend Nicky (Anna Capri), and Ben’s young daughter K.T. (Geri Reischl) are driving through the American Southwest to K.T.’s grandmother’s house for a birthday celebration.

The group come upon an automobile accident in the town of Hillsboro, and when they attempt to report it, they meet the local sheriff, (L.Q. Jones), his assistant Tobey (Alvy Moore), Doc Duncan (Strother Martin), and a priest (Charles Robinson). These locals explain the unusual events in the town which involve several murders, the inability of the people to leave the town, and that many of the local children have gone missing.

It transpires that a local coven of elderly Satanists has been taking the children and leading them to worship Satan in a plot to use their bodies as receptacles for their own souls…

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Reviews:

” …the film’s truly indelible performance comes from Strother Martin: without getting too deep into spoilers, he does a phenomenal job in a role where he is cast against type and his work will stick with the viewer after the film is over. To sum up, The Brotherhood of Satan is a superlative shocker that is worthy of rediscovery by horror buffs.” AllMovie

“The plot details are slightly unique, though mostly the film will only help the viewer to recall other small town-gone-haywire devil-included movies like The Children of the Corn. The performances are flat, thanks more to a flatter script than bad actors. There are a couple of interesting and intense scenes, but the movie peaks with the tank at the beginning…” Blu-ray.com

“William Welch’s script has many chilling moments as well as one eerie dream sequence.” John Stanley, Creature Features

The Brotherhood of Satan is definitely a moody, creepy little PG-rated film that keeps the monsters and demons unseen while still delivering the chills. Utilizing shadows, fog and unusual camera angles, it boasts some clever ideas, such as children’s toys working as murder devices…” DVD Drive-In

“It is saved by some neat sequences with great trippy direction and cinematography that could come out of no other era than the late 60’s/early 70’s. Particularly there is a great dream sequence, and some cliched but nostalgic uses of fog, spooky dolls, howling dogs, a neat subdued beheading, and the same old devil movie stuff like the robed cultists chanting some “Hail Satan!… Evil Rules!” mumbo jumbo.” DVD Talk

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“Hampered by a disjointed script and a very low budget, The Brotherhood of Satan meanders through one dull and/or nonsensical scene after another, never building any real momentum. Despite the colorful premise, the picture isn’t exciting or scary, nor is it enough of a cinematic trainwreck to induce much unintentional laughter. It’s just boring…” Every ’70s Movie

” …I found myself glued to the screen trying to figure out what was going on and waiting to see what was going to happen next. The movie does have the potential to be dull and confusing, but even the slow scenes have something going on in them; the long conversationless drive near the beginning of the movie will either bore you or entice you, depending on what you’re paying attention to.” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

“The Brotherhood of Satan is like a combination of The Twilight Zone and Rosemary’s Baby. It doesn’t work all the time, and it needs repeated viewings to fully appreciate the storyline. But fans of subtle horror will really enjoy the movie.” Horror Digital

Brotherhood of Satan is low-budget but Bernard McEveety succeeds in creating a certain atmosphere. The film’s big problem is that it is elliptically told – it takes a good two-thirds of the running time before one gets a picture of what is going on in the town. Even then it only disappointingly turns out to be the old standby of Satanists transferring their souls into the bodies of the young.” Moria

“Plenty of sinister reds and bright greens and blues give things a very strange feel while the smoke, fog, cobwebs and weird stagey sets sort of seal the deal. This one is just really well done, a great piece of seventies occult inspired cinema made with a keen eye for compositions, a really enjoyable cast and featuring some genuinely surprising set pieces.” Rock! Shock! Pop!

” …The Brotherhood of Satan is a rather low budget effort – which totally works for the movie though as it brings down the horror to a very intimate level. And the film sure is creepy enough, as, despite its rather straight-forward storyline, it manages to shroud the narrative core in mystery for the longest time, makes a good job of creating unease in the finale…” Search My Trash

“There may be a disjointed quality to much of what played out, but that added to the off-kilter atmosphere, benefitting from such sequences as the one where one girl’s doll forces her parents into seizures which kill them or Nicky’s nightmare which isn’t presented in a particularly different fashion to the rest of the movie.” The Spinning Image

“Quite good, this is sort of Devil’s Rain for the geriatric set, with shades of Rosemary’s Baby and Race with the Devil thrown in for good measure. It’s an intriguing premise carried out well and capped by a nice, creepy climax. An admirable product of a long bygone era.” The Terror Trap

“Had the movie been more carefully plotted, not only would it have made more sense, it likely wouldn’t have that same aimless, plodding feeling as those people in the dark. But when all is said and done, after weighing all this negative stuff with the genuinely positive material that was previously mentioned, you get neither the best nor the worst example of this movie formula.” The Unknown Movies

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Cast and characters:

Strother Martin … Doc Duncan
L. Q. Jones … Sheriff
Charles Bateman … Ben
Ahna Capri … Nicky
Charles Robinson … Priest
Alvy Moore … Tobey
Helene Winston … Dame Alice
Joyce Easton … Mildred Meadows
Debi Storm … Billie Joe
Jeff Williams … Stuart
Judy McConnell … Phyllis
Robert Ward … Mike
Geri Reischl … K. T.

Filming locations:

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Technical details:

92 minutes
Audio: Mono
Aspect ratio: 2.35: 1

Working title:

Come in, Children

Fun facts:

When The Brotherhood of Satan was originally released, American movie house goers were given a packet of “Satan’s Soul” seeds when they purchased their tickets. Each paper envelope (illustrated with the movie’s logo) contained two seeds, which were, according to the instructions, supposed to provide protection “from the Black Magic of The Brotherhood of Satan”.

Related:

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Enter the Devil (1972)
The Devil’s Rain (1975)
Race with the Devil (1975)

Trailer:

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