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Bernard McEveety
Strother Martin, LQ Jones, Charles Bateman
Writing Credits:
William Welch

A family is trapped in a desert town by a cult of senior citizens who recruit the town's children to worship Satan.

Rated PG.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 92 min.
Price: $49.95
Release Date: 8/31/21

• Audio Commentary with Film Historians Kim Newman and Sean Hogan
• “Satanic Panic” Featurette
• “The Children of Satan” Featurette
• Trailer, TV and Radio Spots
• Image Gallery


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-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer.


The Brotherhood of Satan [Blu-Ray] (1971)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 2, 2021)

Across their careers, actors Strother Martin and LQ Jones became best-known for their work in Westerns. As a semi-twist, both appeared in 1971’s The Brotherhood of Satan, a horror tale – albeit one that took place in a Western setting.

Ben (Charles Bateman), eight-year-old daughter KT (Geri Reischl) and Ben’s girlfriend Nicky (Ahna Capri) travel through the US Southwest. As they pass through the small town of Hillsboro, they discover a car accident and report it to the local officials.

When they do so, they learn that a coven allegedly abducts children for their own sinister usage, a factor that complicates when KT vanishes. Stuck in this bizarre setting, Ben attempts to rescue his daughter.

That synopsis gives one the impression Brotherhood will offer a knockoff of 1968’s classic Rosemary’s Baby, and to some degree, it follows that path. There seems little chance Brotherhood didn’t use the success of the earlier film as inspiration for much of its plot material.

If Brotherhood showed half the skill and impact of Baby, I wouldn’t object to its derivative nature. Instead, it becomes something of a mess.

The scattered nature of Brotherhood appears clear from the very opening. It offers a strange melange of romance, allusions to horror and broad comedy, all of which add up to a weirdly disjointed launch.

Matters don’t do much to come together after that, as Brotherhood follows plot threads seemingly at random. My synopsis makes the movie sound much more A-to-Z than it is, as we find an oddly erratic sense of story and characters that can seem borderline nonsensical at times.

In addition to that Rosemary’s Baby influence, we can see ample elements of Twilight Zone here. Toss in some general “creepy kid movie” material and voila! We get this mushy tale.

Brotherhood finds it difficult to get into a groove, mainly because it mixes so many genre affectations and tones. As mentioned, it dabbles in three different domains in rapid succession through its open, and it never settles down much after that.

Yeah, Brotherhood goes more for “spooky horror” as it progresses, but the inconsistencies distract. I’m all for movies that meld tones/genres – if they can pull off these crossovers.

Brotherhood can’t. Instead, it feels inconsistent and clumsy, as it fails to blend all these elements into a coherent, compelling tale.

Every once in a while, Brotherhood manages to hit a minor nerve, as it comes with a few effective moments. Unfortunately, it collects these into such a clunky package that the movie ends up as a chore to watch.

The Disc Grades: Picture C+/ Audio C+/ Bonus B-

The Brotherhood of Satan appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not a poor image, this one felt less vivid than I’d expect.

For the most part, sharpness seemed fairly good. Occasional soft spots emerged – mainly in wider elements – but most of the flick brought reasonably appealing delineation.

Neither jaggies nor moiré effects created concerns, and I saw no edge haloes. Grain felt natural, but print flaws became a persistent distraction. These never turned dominant, but little specks cropped up too often through the film.

Colors felt relatively natural, with a lean toward a sandy feel to match the desert setting. They didn’t leap off the screen, but they replicated the source in an effective manner.

Blacks felt deep and dense, while low-light shots displayed more than adequate delineation. Lose the print flaws and this would become a better presentation.

Though not terrible for its era, the movie’s PCM monaural soundtrack also seemed iffy, mainly due to speech. The movie’s dialogue suffered from some bad looping, and these lines tended to sound stiff and artificial. The dialogue became a mild distraction.

Otherwise, this felt like a wholly mediocre mix. Music showed passable range, while effects seemed adequate but without much dimensionality. Even for its era, Brotherhood came with a blah soundtrack.

We get a mix of extras here, and we launch with an audio commentary from film historians Kim Newman and Sean Hogan. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific discussion of the film’s genre and connected efforts, story/characters, cast and crew, and their thoughts about the movie itself.

While we find a reasonable look at the movie itself, much of this track feels more like an appreciation than anything else. That works fairly well but I wish the commentary delivered more concrete info about the flick. This becomes a moderately engaging piece but not a great chat.

Satanic Panic offers a “visual essay” from film historian David Price. In this 15-minute, 15-second piece, Price covers movies about Satanic cults in the era of Brotherhood, though he emphasizes elements of Brotherhood itself.

Price offers decent notes, though I admit I wish he focused less on Brotherhood and more on the genre as a whole. After all, we already have a full commentary about this movie, so “Past” would work better if it dealt with other films under the same banner.

Next comes The Children of Satan, an 18-minute, 16-second program with actors Jonathan Erickson Eisley and Alyson Moore. They chat about their experiences during the production in this generally enjoyable collection of memories.

In addition to a trailer, two TV spots and a radio spot, the disc concludes with an Image Gallery. It provides 18 shots that mix publicity stills and ads. It’s a decent but brief collection.

Scattered and not especially coherent, The Brotherhood of Satan offers a lackluster genre effort. While it comes with occasional scenes that pack a punch, too much of it seems erratic and meandering. The Blu-ray brings erratic but acceptable picture and audio as well as a few bonus materials. The movie doesn’t stink but it doesn’t impress, either.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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