“Enter for yet another lifetime in the Brotherhood of Satan.”
Here’s an eerie independent flick for the late night crowd. It concerns a small town seemingly cut off from the outside world where parents are mutilated and small children are disappearing.
Into the town comes a family of strangers. Charles Bateman, his daughter and his fiance. Sheriff L.Q. Jones wants to know who they are as do the town folk. The reason being that no one has been able to leave. Cars wind up wrecked, people slaughtered.
The town leaders are lost as to what’s going on. L.Q. is weathered and worn. Minister Charles Robinson is searching through books on the devil to see what evil has befallen the community. Local “Doc” Strother Martin thinks the evil angle is a ridiculous and wants to search for a logical answer.
The answer is witches and someone knows more than they are letting on.
A coven of elderly witches have hidden away and through black magic they’ve murdered and maimed for the children. The reasoning is that a ritual is to be performed by their leader which will transfer their beings to the bodies of the children thus ensuring their immortality. They are one child short which is the only reason Bateman and family have been allowed into the community.
Can L.Q. and company solve the mystery of the missing, the murdered and put a stop to the black mass rituals that are about to take place?
Low budget Satanic worship films at one time flooded the market. Probably due to the influence of 1968’s Rosemary’s Baby. Some were quite effective while some were filmed for the exploitation crowd with plenty of flesh added in. I’ve always felt this one was a solid entry made by producers who were trying to turn out a decent product.
The producers in question are L.Q. Jones and Alvy Moore. Moore plays Jones’ deputy here and was a long time character actor. You may recall him as Mr. Kimball on Green Acres. The two teamed with each other on four productions including the cult favorite A Boy and His Dog.
Strother Martin was a long time crony of L.Q.’s as well so his casting here should come as no surprise. His role as Doc allows him to play it low key but not to worry, he’ll have his chance to go over the top with his mop of hair flying around. Martin is one of those great character actors I love to focus on as is L.Q. He and L.Q. were stablemates in the Sam Peckinpah company and even appeared in an episode of Gunsmoke together before Sam came along.
Overall this film far exceeds it’s low budget limitations and would make for a nice double bill with something like Let’s Scare Jessica to Death which came out the same year.
One of the two films that Strother had top billing for. Somewhere, the poster is waiting to be framed. When I saw it in 1971, they gave out an envelope of demon seeds with the poster on the package. A bean plant grew from the seeds, the relevance of which is unclear.
I assume the other would be Ssssssss. Both a couple of horrors. Odd considering his work in westerns and playing opposite so many leading actors of the era. Newman and company. So do you still have the seed package?
No, I was thirteen and had no vision. If you are interested, here is a link to a post I did about Strother.http://kirkhamclass.blogspot.com/2013/03/happy-birthday-strother-martin.html