There was not really a conspiracy in this movie. OK, there was a group of Satanists in collusion with one another, but they were mostly a threat to neighborhood pets. Which is bad, sure, but it’s hardly the act of making a Boeing 777 disappear. It’s more like “being jerks” than “huge coverup.” And there wasn’t a lot of terror either, although it was creepy that everyone in the film seemed like they were in a daze, caring little for other people or the world around them. Basically, what Conspiracy of Terror amounts to is that old chestnut, “the dark side of suburbia.” Maybe it wasn’t an old chestnut yet in 1975 when the film came out. I haven’t lived in a suburb per se, but I did live in a subdivision for about 6 months, and I can tell you that the neighbors were strange. When we were happily moving out of that house to our current home in the country, the lady next door dragged one of her dining room chairs out to the driveway across the street and sat and watched our every move, staring into our rapidly emptying garage like it was a refrigerator and she had the munchies.
Competently directed by the great John Llewellyn Moxey (The Night Stalker, Horror Hotel), Conspiracy of Terror follows a few days in the life of a married couple, He-Horowitz and She-Horowitz, who are both cops. She is investigating some thefts of microscopes from the high school (never gets solved), he is trying to track down a little boy’s lost dog. He also works a case in which the body of a man who died of a heart attack was moved after death, and a burglary. The burglars stole everything in the house, including a stuffed goat’s head! The goat’s head belonged to one of the satanists, and the people who were robbed were just holding it for them. I don’t know what that had to do with anything. As for the little boy’s dog, I already mentioned that was apparently the big conspiracy. And I guess the satanists scared the heart attack victim to death, but it was more likely that he died of boredom during their ritual.
I suspect this film, which is listed as a comedy/drama crime film, was a pilot that would have dealt with the battle of the sexes, not really between the Horowitzes, but between Mrs. Officer Horowitz and her horrible overbearing father-in-law who really thought she should be at home serving coffee cake rather than tracking down microscope thieves.
Conspiracy of Terror wasn’t really all that funny for a comedy, but it did keep my attention. Unfortunately, once the satanists were caught by the Horowitzes, they just kind of gave up and went to jail. They did kill approximately three people, but I think those people were dumb enough to get involved with their cult in the first place, and I’m glad they were brought up on murder charges because it means they ultimately were punished for killing all those dogs. Just killing dogs, while heinous, would not have been treated as seriously. Someone caught on fire at the Satan meeting, and then he was fine, so that bothered me. Also, their motivations were kind of vague, and they were caught in the act of trying to kill a woman whose crime seemed to have been “looking at the coven leader with a look on her face.” It’s too bad they didn’t get around to threatening the father-in-law. I wanted to jump through the TV and choke him.
Conspiracy of Terror was, however, the best thing about Count Yorga, Vampire, because when I got bored during the last 30 minutes of that stinker and started looking up the cast members on IMDb, I found Conspiracy of Terror on the resume of Roger Perry. And that’s why you get a post today on a movie none of you are likely to ever watch. Cheers!
What do you think is the best “the suburbs are evil and no one cares about you” film ever made? I have to give a strong thumbs up to Poltergeist in that category.