THE BROTHERHOOD OF SATAN
Review by Dark Starr
As we get into the spooky season, it seems everyone starts turning their attention to horror films. I'm definitely one of the people who celebrates spooky season year round and watches those movies at any time of the year. Still, it's good to have most of the word on the same page for at least part of the year. With that in mind, I'm turning my attention to the Blu-Ray release of "Brotherhood of Satan" from Arrow video and giving it my review for Wormwood Chronicles. .
This movie is a horror film from 1971. The 70s had a real track record for producing some odd films, and this one fits under that category. It was obviously low-budget. It has a sort of trippy kind of vibe to it that was common of films of the time, sort of an artsy edge.
I could get into the whole satanic panic thing, but I could probably talk about that for hours. Let's just say that it's best to take this as a work of fiction rather some kind of true telling of what Satanic cults are like. Then again, you don't expect that kind of accuracy from a horror film, or at least you shouldn't. Or at least I hope you don't because horror movies typically get Satanism and witchcraft very wrong, and this is no exception to that rule.
In terms of comparing this to other movies, I'd say that it has some similarities to "Village of the Damned," but also to "Devil's Rain." You should probably add "Rosemary's Baby" to the list as another movie that should probably be mentioned in that regard.
This focuses on a family that is on a trip and winds up in a very strange small town. They barely escape the town when they first get there as the townspeople inexplicable surround them, and give them a less than friendly welcome. When their car crashes on the road outside the town, though, they wind up having to walk back there, and get caught up in a nightmare that is underway in that small community.
The nightmare consists of unexplained deaths and disappearances of children. It also involves the fact that no one (other than their family) has been able to enter or leave the town for several days.
I found the whole mystery aspect to be the most intriguing part of it. The more questions you have while watching, the more interesting the film will likely seem to you. I would say that most of the loose ends seem to get tied reasonably well before it's over. That said, it does have a 70s ending that can be seen to leave more questions than it provides answers. Now, if you don't want any spoilers at all, I'd advise shutting this video off now because I'm about to give a few marginal spoilers.
So, if we have the spoiler adverse people gone, here are some more details. First, for those who like happy endings, you aren't going to get that here. As I said before, the ending will also leave you wondering what happens next. Perhaps they meant to leave it open for a sequel that never happened.
Another thing I found a little less than clear was the whole idea of children's toys somehow being used to kill the adults. That's not so much of a spoiler because we see it in the opening scene of the movie and again fairly early. It just seems to not really be explained or fit with the rest of the movie. It's almost like something just came up with it as an interesting idea, which it is, and didn't worry that it didn't really seem to have much to do with the rest of the story.
All in all, I thought it was a pretty interesting movie. I think it has some very spooky qualities and some genuine creepiness to it. It's perhaps a bit too abstract at times, but that was sort of a function of the time period. I like how it fits in with other occult films of the time. Honestly, I found it more captivating that something like "Rosemary's Baby," despite that movie seeming less rough around the edges.
This Arrow release includes a number of bonus features including the usual audio commentaries and interviews. All of those are worth checking out, but I doubt you'll revisit them very often. The movie itself is the selling point here, and I'd consider it less a long lost gem than an often overlooked jewel in the rough.