As mentioned previously, the third night of Exhumed Films’ Tele-Terror Fest was arguably the most enjoyable. The two films were from Philadelphia native, Paul Wendkos, who was most famous for The Burglar, Gidget, and The Mephisto Waltz.
Opening the night was the secret society thriller The Brotherhood of the Bell. When a successful college professor is asked by the clandestine group to which he belongs to bully a colleague into not taking a position with the school, things go horribly wrong and his colleague commits suicide. Afterwards, the protagonist sets out to expose the Brotherhood for who they really are. This proves to be difficult when most don’t believe him and those that do are determined to keep him quiet.
As a sucker for anything involving conspiracies or secret societies, I got a kick out of Brotherhood. Especially enjoyable is the sequence where the protagonist appears on a sleazy talk show to try to expose the group and ends up inciting many people to come forward with their own paranoid, hateful beliefs. It’s a scene that manages to be tense and satirical. In many ways it’s reminiscent of the best sequences in the classic Network.
While not a horror film by any stretch of the imagination, it delivers thrills without shying away from good old 1970s camp.
The story pits a troubled family on a deserted beach while being harassed by a group of violent hippies. As events escalate, it becomes clear that the only choice for the family is to fight back.
Dennis Weaver, as the family’s patriarch, is clearly having fun and there are some colorful character moments from him and some of the antagonists. Like Brotherhood it moves quickly and delivers entertainment on many levels.