Wednesday, August 18, 2021

The Brotherhood of Satan – Arrow Video (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1971
Director: Bernard Mceveety
Writers: L.Q. Jones, Sean MacGregor, William Welch
Cast: Strother Martin, L.Q. Jones, Charles Bateman, Ahna Capri, Charles Robinson, Alvy Moore, Geri Reischl

Release Date: August 30th, 2021 (UK), August 31st, 2021 (USA)
Approximate Running Time: 92 Minutes 29 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 15 (UK), NR (USA)
Sound: LPCM Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
Region Coding: Region A,B
Retail Price: £24.99 (UK), $39.95 (USA)

"A small rural town and a family of outsiders, both trapped in the demonic grip of... The Brotherhood of Satan! Recently widowed Ben, his glamourous girlfriend Nicky and his small daughter K.T. are on a road trip across the Southwest, which comes to a screeching halt when they witness an accident. Heading to the nearby isolated desert town of Hillsboro to report it to the Sheriff (played by Jones), they are met with a hostile reaction from the locals, who are gripped by paranoia and fear due to a series of gruesome deaths, as well as the mysterious disappearance of eleven of the community's children. As the bodies continue to pile up around them, Ben and his family find themselves joining the sheriff, a local priest and the town's enigmatic physician Doc Duncan (Strother Martin, Cool Hand Luke) in the midst of a mystery that points towards a deadly satanic cult..." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4.5/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, “The High-Definition master was produced and supplied by Sony Pictures.”

The Brotherhood of Satan comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 37.5 GB

Feature: 28 GB

The source used for this transfer is in great shape and most print related debris is during the opening credits. Colors are nicely saturated, details look crisp, contrast and black levels look strong throughout. Also, though this transfer appears to come from the same source Mill Creek used for their 2013 Blu-ray. The result is a much stronger encode that looks better in every way. 

Audio: 4/5

This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM mono mix in English and included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. This audio track is in great shape, there are no issues with hiss or distortion, dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced. That said, though this audio track has limitations range wise, ambient sounds and score are well-represented.


Extras for this release include reversible cover art, a limited-edition slipcover, image gallery, a radio spot for (54 seconds, LPCM mono English), TV spot #1 (1 minute 2 seconds, LPCM mono English, no subtitles), TV spot #2 (1 minute 2 seconds, LPCM mono English, no subtitles), a trailer for The Brotherhood of Satan (2 minutes 27 seconds, LPCM mono English, no subtitles), an interview with actors Jonathan Erickson Eisley and Alyson Moore titled The Children of Satan (18 minutes 16 seconds, LPCM stereo English, no subtitles), a visual essay by David Flint titled Satanic Panic: How the 1970s Conjured the Brotherhood of Satan (15 minutes 5 seconds, LPCM stereo English, no subtitles) and a twenty-eight page booklet with cast & crew information, an essay titled Satan’s Cinephiles written by Johnny Mains, an essay titled The Death of Cinema is Not a Tragedy: L.Q. Jones and American Identity written by Brad Stevens and information about the transfer.


Though there’s a tendency for horror films to go big in their opening moments. Sometimes bigger is not better, since they're far too many films fail to match intensity from their grandiose openings. With the most enduring horror films being the ones that keep up an intensity that build to a crescendo.

Case in point The Brotherhood of Satan, a film that maintains its foreboding tone by building upon the moments that preceded. Nowhere is this clearer, then how The Brotherhood of Satan’s opening act does a superb job concealing what’s going on. And when the moment finally arrives, it makes this moment all the more potent.

Though the title The Brotherhood of Satan gives one an idea of what lies within. To simply write it off as just another film trying to cash in on the Satanic themed film craze that dominated the 1970’s would be doing The Brotherhood of Satan a great disservice. Since the result is arguably one of the more inventive films to come from 1970’s Satanic themed films.  

From a production standpoint, the premise is superbly realized, the narrative does a solid job maintaining tension and the finale is a perfect coda to the events that have unfolded. Also, the visuals are overflowing with atmosphere and the cast are all great in their respective roles, especially Strother Martin’s (Cool Hand Luke) performance that ranges from gentile to menacing. Ultimately, The Brotherhood of Satan is a text-book example of how to make a low-budget film that exceeds its limited resources.

Arrow Video gives The Brotherhood of Satan  a solid audio/video presentation and trio of informative extras, recommended.

Written by Michael Den Boer

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