Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Yucky Movies of October: The Brotherhood of Satan

19) The Brotherhood of Satan

A very low-budget 1971 movie about a coven taking over a small town for very nefarious reasons I won't spoil here, The Brotherhood of Satan is seriously full of win. With a leisurely pace that does a good job of building tension, the film switches between small-town creeps and silly, set-bound robes and cobwebs satanism.

In the end it works, though. Pretty well in fact. There's a couple genuinely disturbing and dream-like nightmare scenes and a few cheesy effects, but the overall air is truly that of a small community under siege. A surprising beheading and what I could only infer as "attack-by-child's-toy" wind up being scenes that work well when there's no reason why they should.

I've seen the story's central twist before but it doesn't undermine just how effective this movie winds up being. The flat TV-movie cinematography actually adds to the overall creep factor as well, because it gives such an air of normalcy to the proceedings. The last ten minutes should veer into silliness but instead have you absorbed.

This one is a well-made gem I can't believe I'm just now seeing for the first time. The Brotherhood of Satan should have a much stronger following - it's like a flat, Californian Wicker Man - and I highly recommend it.

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