The Brotherhood of Satan
Film: The Brotherhood of Satan
Director: Bernard McEveety
Writer: L.Q. Jones and William Welch
Starring: Strother Martin, L.Q. Jones and Charles Bateman
This film begins showing us a toy tank on the ground. We then see a real tank as it crushes a car. We hear people screaming inside of it as it is flattened. We then see a boy walking away from it.
We then shift to a children’s party. They are having a good time outside and there is a table being set up for them to eat. A man whistles to inform them that it is ready.
A couple is seen near water. The man is played by Charles Bateman and the woman by Ahna Capri. They are in their bathing suits and are kissing. Two red droplets fall on her face and she looks up. There is a young girl with a snow cone; she is played by Geri Reischl. Capri smiles at her and they hit the road. It should be pointed out that the couple is not married and the daughter is Bateman’s.
They are driving through the countryside that is uneventful until they happen up on the wreckage of the car that was crushed. They are horrified at what they see and make for the town. Bateman knocks on the window of the sheriff’s station and a deputy looks out the door at him. This deputy is played by Alvy Moore. He ignores him. Then the sheriff drives in fast and jumps out, played by L.Q. Jones. He attempts to arrest Bateman, thinking that he is someone else, but stops when the information doesn’t line up. The rest of the townspeople do come out of their homes and start to attack the couple. They get back into their car and flee.
We then shift to two children playing outside. The sister who is older commands her little brother to make her doll something to eat as she is hungry. The father comes home and scolds his wife, played by Joyce Easton, about letting the children outside. They are brought inside.
Bateman, his daughter and Capri almost make it out of town, but they see a girl with a music box in the road. He swerves as to not hit her and crashes his car. It is decided that they will all go back for help.
Jones meets with Strother Martin, who is the local doctor, Moore and a priest, played by Charles Robinson. We learn that there have been a lot of mysterious deaths in the town and that all of the children of the deceased have gone missing. They are baffled at what is happening or who is causing this though.
The film then shifts to an old house. This is where we learn that not everything is normal in this town. There is a coven of witches that meet here. All of them are older and there is an odd man that is the leader of it. We see an elder woman later enter and she is ignored for the most part, she is played by Helene Winston. There seems to be a replacement for her in the coven, played by Judith McConnell. It is decided that she must be killed.
That night, the little girl with the doll gets up to take her doll to the bathroom. She sits down and dozes off. While this happens, her parents are strangled to death, but there is no one there. There are two dolls. When the act is done, her and her brother wake up and leave with three other children. Bateman and his group find the body.
We learn when Bateman returns to the sheriff station that no one has been able to get in or out of the town except for Bateman and his family. They are trying to figure out what is going on and Robinson thinks it is something supernatural. Everyone laughs him off though.
Will they figure out what is going on in this town before it is too late? Bateman tries to flee the next morning again, but he gets a flat tire. When he tries to calm Capri down, he notices his daughter is missing. Where is she at? What is the coven’s plan?
I want to lead off for this film stating I didn’t know a whole lot about it and I found it quite interesting. At first I liked that Bateman, Capri and Reischl aren’t welcome in the town. It is then that we realize it is because they are thought to be the ones doing the killings. The idea that a coven could exist in a small town is very plausible as well as something that is very scary. Having grown up in the country for a portion of my life, there are a lot of weird things that go on and I could definitely see with the isolation that it could happen. The ritual that they are performing is a nice add-on to the story as well. Being a horror film, I am willing to bend reality that no one could get in or out, unless they were allowed. Also didn’t mind that the witches were using these children’s toys as the way to kill their parents either. I was also a fan of the surreal dream that Capri experiences as well as the revisiting of the children’s party as it comes full circle at the end. I liked the ending for this.
My biggest issue with this film though was that it just gets into it and didn’t give us enough of introduction. As someone who likes the story to be set and then figure out as I go, I needed time to catch up and it threw me off. I won’t hold it against the film that it jumped right in as the film didn’t really get too boring of a spot. I would have liked to see the witches and the grand master of the coven in their normal lives though, as it makes it much scarier to see the duality. We never really learn anything about them though. It also makes it hard to feel bad for the victims as we do not get a chance to connect with it.
I will say that this film did some things really well. I love that they played on the isolation of the small, rural town where things even today could get overlooked. There could easily be a coven of witches that worship Satan like this out there and could easily hide themselves. The film does bend reality a little bit, which I didn’t mind, but felt it should be passed along to keep in mind. The surreal parts of the film are nice as well as the ending. I did have issues that they didn’t do a good enough job in introducing the characters, but the film was still decent. I would recommend giving this a viewing if you are into low-budget horror and like the outsider invading something. This is not the best film out there in this genre, but still worth a viewing.
My Rating: 6 out of 10