Enter The Devil (1972)

Sleeping has never been so much fun. You can take that statement all the way to the bank. Or the desert.

In the barren void of Terlingua, Texas, times turn to their own beat. Men drink Pearl Beer, and only Pearl Beer. Mercury mines serve as ideal locations for holiday getaways. Most distinctively, red-robed Penitente Cultists have a thing or two to say about small town politics. Namely, they don’t like ’em.

Hoots! Hollers! Chants! When a sniper shoots out a tire and a rustic guy goes missing, the law moves into “action.” Of course, this entails visiting a dusty hunting resort that shares space with an abandoned Mercury mine. The Caucasian goons sling sexual innuendoes (and attempted rape) at the Mexican house-girls. The sheriff talks about re-election. Deputy Brooks may be sleeping with one of the girls. Subsequently, a cult of torch-bearing cultists capture random people and sacrifice them in creative ways (barbed-wire burning, rattlesnake kisses, etc.). Dr. Leslie Culver arrives about 40 minutes in. She’s researching a book about cults. Lodge proprietor Glenn may be able to help the good doctor out.

Playing out quietly, stylishly, and just a little bit skewed, Enter The Devil the very definition of “regional rarity.” The film feels like S.F. Brownrigg (Don’t Open The Door) rubbing off on Leonard Kirtman (Carnival Of Blood) in an isolated patch of no-man’s land in Texas. But nothing much happens. However, for the first time in a long time, blank happenings carry little baggage. I like it when a car blows up before falling off of a cliff. Unless I’m mistaken, so will you.

Enter The Devil offers no entering of any devils. Short on explanation and long on conversation, your assumptions are correct: This is a slow one. The senses, contrarily, are alive and kicking. Locations are dry and beautiful. Cinematography leans on thoughtful compositions. Strummed piano strings hold hands with a theme song by someone named Happy Shahan. Choppy, goofy, and suspenseful aspects pay off in unexpected ways. Like the Devil himself, trashy elements are absent in Enter The Devil. But, the film still intrigues. It’s all in the isolation.

Enter The Devil is no hit. On the other hand, it’s an oddly fulfilling little lullaby for your next lost weekend.

From the Archives