Sunday, 3 February 2013

5 Cult Films that Sacrifice Everything

Cult films are great but films about cults are usually pretty scary.  They involve a secret group of people trying to obtain power using religious ceremonies and magic by summoning devils or elder gods of their choosing.  The secret group usually ends up being your family, friends and neighbours, so it's like a surprise party for evil, which I guess could be fun but it's never good to be the last to know.  So here are some films to watch, so you can detect heathen/satanic cults at work or home.
Here are 5 Cult Films that Sacrifice Everything:

5. Brotherhood of Satan (1971) - Ben, his daughter, K.T and Ben's girlfriend, Nicky are off on a summer vacation heading to grandma's house for a birthday party, when they come across a terrible car accident.  They try to report it to the sheriff in the next town but before they can tell anyone anything, the town turns into an angry mob and they chase them out of it.  Worse vacation ever.  On the way out of town, Ben almost hits a little girl and crashes the car.  They get out of the car and search for the little girl, but she is nowhere to be found, so Ben and the gang head back to the crazy town.  Little do they that children in that town have been disappearing and their parents have been murdered.  Whose doing this?  Why a group of elderly satanists who need to steal the body and souls of children to stay alive.  These geriatric devils are just waiting for the 13 children to be collected, then the ceremony can begin.  Ben gets back in down and waits for the sheriff in what looks like a barn full of bodies on ice.  Finally, he talks to the sheriff and the sheriff realizes that there is a mystery afoot because no one has been able to get in or out of the town for the last little bit.  The sheriff invites Ben and his family to stay at the station for the night. During the night, Ben's daughter K.T disappears!  They search nowhere and can't find her! Then the town priest shows up and tells them about Satanic cults.  They realize that 12 kids have been stolen around the same age and there are only a couple kids left, so it's time to stake them out!  Can they stop these old satanist's in time and save the souls of the town's children?  This movie is pretty funny at times and I understand the rejuvenation element of the script, but to see these old people attack each other is pretty humorous.  The story is ok and you can tell the the budget was loooow for this one.  I think, Charles Robinson, who played the priest, did a awesome job.  He delivers these long winded speeches that really sold the rituals.  There isn't a ton of blood but there is a good beheading scene that comes out of nowhere and probably make you smile.  The ending, I found disjointed but works for what it is.  It's free on Crackle, if you ever get bored.

4. All the Colors of Dark (1972) - Jane Harrison has been having nightmares since she lost her unborn child in a car accident.  Fortunately, her boyfriend Richard Steele, pharmaceutical rep, has been giving her vitamin pills to keep her happy.  However, her sister Barbara thinks that Jane should go see a psychiatrist, so they visit Dr. Burton and he discovers that along with the nightmares, Jane hasn't felt in the mood for love making either.  He suggests that she stop taking the vitamin pills and to set up another appointment with him.  On the way home, she notices the man from her nightmares is following her.  He chases her from the train all the way home.  Luckily, she runs into a neighbor that she's never met before, Mary and goes for coffee with her in her new apartment.  She tells Mary all about her life and after explaining everything to Mary, her new besty; Mary suggests what every best friend suggests, a Black Mass.  Jane is shocked but after thinking it over she decides the Black Mass is exactly what she needs.  Jane confirms plans with Mary to go to the Black Mass tomorrow before supper and then heads home.  When she gets home, Jane receives a mysterious call from a lawyer, who asks her to meet him tomorrow at his office to discuss something that he can't say over the phone.  Luckily, it's before the Black Mass, it'll be tight but she agrees to go.  When she arrives at the office the next day, the creepy guy from the train chases her again.  She gets home just in time because Mary was about to leave without her, Whew!  They go to the Black Mass and everybody is wearing robes and chanting.  The priest welcomes Jane and kills a puppy in her honor, then makes her drink it.  Once she's drank the puppy blood, she is then fondled and kiss by the whole group.  The priest then starts to make love to her and the camera whip pans back to her at her house, making love to her boyfriend, Richard.  After sex, Richard and Jane are happy again.  All she need was puppy blood and to get trained by satanists!  Who knew!  Unfortunately, not everything is golden showers because she is still having bad dreams, the creepy guy is still trying to kill her and at the next Black Mass, it's not all puppy blood and group sex!  The satanists want her to kill Mary, her best friend for the last 72 hours.  Can Jane solve these mysteries her dreams, keep her relationship with Richard and live to see another day?  When all is said and done, I did enjoy this movie.  Director Sergio Martino (The Mountain of the Cannibal God, Torso) puts together a great devil cult film in a Giallo style.  I really enjoyed the dream sequences, which were creepy and strange.  I didn't expect the ending whatsoever and it really was a brilliant twist.  Some good bloody scenes and a good use of tension.  Check it out if you enjoy Italian cinema.

3. House of the Devil (2009) - It's the 80's and college student, Samantha has finally found a house that she likes and wants to rent.  The landlady is very nice, gives her a break on the damage deposit and tells her that if she can get the money to her by the end of the week, the place is hers.  This is awesome, she heads back to dorm room but her shitty roommate has a sock on the door.  So, Samantha goes for a walk and sees a listing for someone needing a babysitter.  She gives it a call and gets the answering machine, so she leaves a message.  She walks away from the pay phone and it rings, reluctantly she answers it and it's Mr. Ulman, the man looking for a babysitter.  He asks her to meet her at the one of the building's on campus, so she runs over but he never shows up.  Pissed, she goes for pizza with her friend, Megan and tells her about this great place she found, how she has no money to rent it and how this jerk stood her up for a babysitting gig.  Megan tells her that she should tear down all the Mr. Ulman's babysitting signs to pay him back for ditching her.  They laugh and head home.  When Samantha's gets home, her shitty roommate tells her that she got a call from Mr. Ulman.  Samantha calls him right back and he apologizes from ditching her.  He begs her to come and babysit tonight and promises to pay her double.  She gets the address and wrangles Megan to give her a ride out to the house.  On the way the radio is talking about the amazing eclipse that will be happening that evening at midnight.  The girls don't care and quickly change stations.  Megan asks if she can stay with Samantha at the babysitting gig.  Sure, why not, if Mr. Ulman doesn't mind.  When they get to the creepy house, Mr. Ulman answers the door and towers over the girls.  He invites them in and asks if he can speak with Samantha alone.  They go into the kitchen and he lets Samantha know that Megan can't stay because his wife won't like it. Then he tells her that he doesn't have a child to babysit, but an elderly woman.  Samantha says she can't do it but after he offers her 400 dollars and money for pizza, she is waves good-bye to Megan.  She meets Mrs. Ulman and is assured that everything will be fine and not to worry about the old lady.  The Ulman's leave and Samantha roams around the house.  After a while, she's bored so she tries to call Megan but no luck, so she calls the pizza place to get some food.  After she orders food, she continues to roam around the house and notices some discrepancies in the Ulman's story after breaking a vase.  Do they really live her? Who are these people in the photo?  She is getting really creeped out when the dorrbell rings and it's THE pizza man.  She is relieved, eats the pizza but unfortunately the pizza is drugged.  I hate when that happens!  When she wakes up, she is the center piece of a Black Mass ritual!  Can she escape this torturous band of satanists or she going to be sacrificed for their lunar ceremony? Director TI West (The Inkeepers, V/H/S) is hit or miss with me but I like this film, it has a nice slow burn that takes a while to set up and when it gets there, it really pays off.  Excellent mix in casting with the new talent actress like Jocelin Donahue as Samantha, Greta Gerwig as Megan and then some of horror veterns  like, Mary Woronov (Chopping Mall, Warlock) and Tom Noonen (Manhunter) as the Ulman's.  Even Dee Wallace (Critters, Cujo, Howling) is in this movie! Great movie and one you should check out.

2. Eye of the Devil (1966) - During a very swanky party at his home, Philippe de Montfaucon is mysteriously given a an urgent message to go to his office.  He leaves the party quickly, much to the dismay of his wife, Catherine.  After the party, Catherine visits Philippe to see what the matter was and he tells her he must return home to the village of Bellenac, because the vineyard has been dry for another season.  She asks if she and the children can come along but he says that it is not necesary and he would probably be won't be long there.  The next morning at breakfast, Philippe is seems distracted and ignores his sons pleas to come with him to Bellenac.  After breakfast, he sets off for his journey and when he arrives at his family's castle, he is greeted by Pere Dominic, the towns priest.  Pere Dominic reminds Philippe of his duties and is glad that he has returned to fulfill them.  Catherine decides to visit Philippe after spending an evening with family friend, Jean-Claude and packs up the kids to be with the man she loves.  When she arrives she is greeted by a relative of Philippe's Countess Estelle and by Christian de Caray, who kills a bird in front of Catherine with his bow and arrow.  Countess Estelle tells her that Christian and his sister, Odile are weird but harmless.  She also tells Catherine that she should pack up the kids and return home but Catherine will not.  She has come to Bellenac to stand by her man.  That evening she sees Philippe returning home and waits up for him but when he doesn't come up, she goes downstairs asking the butler, if he has seen Philippe but he hasn't.  Catherine puts on her detective hat and searches the castle, when she sees a light in one of the towers.  She runs over and peaks through an open door to see a number of hooded figures chanting.  She here's footsteps and quickly ducks out of the way, so not to be seen.  She watches as, Odile de Caray carries the bird from this morning into the ritual room and the door closes.  She hears a whisper and sees a man at the end of the hall beckoning her with his hands.  She runs over and he tells her that she needs to take the kids and leave.  After seeing this satanic ritual, she is torn between staying should in the castle and trying to save Philippe or should she listen to EVERYONE and take the kids and run?  David Nivens and Deborah Kerr star in this occult thriller from director J. Lee Thompson (Cape Fear, Happy Birthday To Me).  It also has a young, if you can believe it, Donald Pleasence as the Pere Dominic and it introduces Sharon Tate as Odile to cinema goers.  It's an interesting story and Nivens does a wonderful job, the Philippe.  He is torn between his family and this mysterious duty and Deborah Kerr is on the verge of madness trying to save the man she loves.  Nothing to gory and they use a less is more mentality and have a number of dream sequences, which give a sense of where the film is headed. I think the film is a little longer than it needs to be but still a classic tale of horror that should be seen.

1. Wicker Man (1973) - Police Sergeant Neil Howie is devout and celibate Christian, who gets an anonymous plea from the island of Summerisle to help the find a young girl, Rowan Morrison, who has been missing for a number of months.  With picture in hand, he packs his bag and flies over to the island, where he is met with a mixed reaction by the islanders.  The harbor master and his friends are friendly but say they've never seen or heard of Rowan Morrison.  They suggest speaking with Lord Summerisle or visiting Mae Morrision in town to find out what's going on with her daughter.  He decides on the latter and goes to Mae Morrison's sweets shop. He is greeted kindly but she is confused as well.  She tells him that she doesn't have a daughter by that name, she only has the one daughter,  Myrtle.  Frustrated, Sergeant Howie heads to the school to find a record of Rowan, on his way he watches the boys decorate the Maypole while singing, what he deems to be a cheeky song, about sex.  He arrives at the school room only to find that the girls talking about the penises.  Outraged, he pulls the teacher, Miss Rose aside and threatens to report her.  She laughs and assures him, she has not done anything wrong.  He asks the class if they know Rowan Morrison, but they all deny knowing her but when he looks in the class attendance list,  her name appears before she went missing.  He calls them all liars and Miss Rose alludes that Rowan may have passed away.  He investigates the cemetery and is annoyed that the church is no longer in use.  With the help of the grave digger, he locates Rowan Morrison's grave and is told that she may have been  burned to death.  He decides to call it a day and goes to the inn to spend the night.  There he is given a room and fed but the food is not to his liking. He takes a walk and finds people having sex in the park.  He returns to the inn, where the town people are singing a droll song about the innkeeper's daughter, which he alone finds offensive and heads to his room.  That night, he hears Lord Summerisle outside calling to the innkeeper's daughter, Willow and asking her if she'll spend the night with this young man.  Best Wingman ever!  She accepts and Sergeant Howie gets to hear them doing it for the rest of the night.  The next day, Sergeant Howie heads out to solve the mystery and goes to the see Lord Summerisle house.  Lord Summerisle explains that over the years, the people were happier with they're old gods then the news ones the church had to offer and his family thought do what your comfortable with.  Sergeant Howie cannot believe what he's hearing and demands the right to dig up Rowan Morrison's grave.  So the Lord Summerisle says sure and off Sergeant Howie goes to digs up Rowan Morrison's grave but all he finds is a dead hare inside her coffin.  Enraged, he returns to Lord Summerisle castle and tries to give Lord Summerisle a verbal smack down but Lord Summerisle and Miss Rose just laugh at him.  He leaves the castle, threatening to bring an army of officers to the island and stompss back to the inn but makes a stop at the chemists.  It's closed, so he breaks in and looks through the photos and finds that Rowan was part of a bad harvest festival.  Sergeant Howie puts it together,... they are going to sacrifice Rowan at the festival tomorrow, so the crops will grow better this year and he must stop them!  This is such a great film! Edward Woodward (The Equalizer, Hot Fuzz) is absolutely brilliant as Sergeant Howie and plays so well off Christopher Lee's (Hammer Film Icon) Lord Summerisle.  The banter between the both of them is excellent with Summerisle always one step ahead.  Britt Eckland (Asylum, Man With The Golden Gun) is gorgeous and gives the most interesting sexy dance, I've ever seen in a movie.  The story is excellent, so good that I read that Christopher Lee waved his fee just to play the role.  Not graphic but a smart horror with a slow burn and when you get to the end, you'll wish that you were on Summerisle as well.  I always do.

So the next time your at a party take a look around and if you notice your the only one not chanting to the music, wearing a hooded robe or wearing some sort of animal mask.  If you are, you may be in a lot of trouble.

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