Brotherhood of Satan (1971)

Brotherhood of Satan (1971), directed by Bernard McEveety.

To their regret, a vacationing family enter a New Mexico town where children are going missing and adults are strangely unable to leave. The local priest is talking Satan and we see he is right: elderly devil-worshipers have one those schemes -- as in The Mephisto Waltz (1971) -- to project their spirits into younger bodies.

But wait: it gets weirder. The children have shared fantasy powers and their toys grow and come alive, wreaking death and destruction in the adult world. Who is running this story? It is never explained.

Produced and written by prolific character actor L.Q. Jones, who also plays the scruffy, overwhelmed sheriff:

This is one those eccentric, low-budget efforts often cherished by horror fans. Rough and not entirely coherent, it at least shows some vision, a desire to get out of the standard ruts.

Strother Martin is the only other famous face; he gets to do both his accustomed sort of role as the small town doctor, and something completely different, which is great to see. He and L.Q. Jones share eight IMDB credits, most memorably as the squabbling bounty hunters in The Wild Bunch (1969).

Available on Blu-ray from Mill Creek. William Castle's Mr. Sardonicus (1961) is on the same disc. Later: this is also on the Mill Creek "Psycho Circus Triple Feature" Blu-ray with The Creeping Flesh (1973) and the Amicus anthology Torture Garden (1967).