Nothing Can Stop Them. No One Can Help You. They Know Who You Are.


Directed by John Schlesinger in 1987 this is a movie that I feel was unfairly overlooked, it has a powerful storyline and an impressive cast headed by Martin Sheen. Most religious based films do include peace and love and works towards a conclusion that sees the whole of mankind basking in the sunlight of God and holding hands singing hallelujah and vowing undying love for fellow man. Movies about Caribbean native religious practises however do not go down this path or follow this scenario, they seem to include a lot of people with white eyes who can fixate and hypnotise a victim in a very short space of time and after the said victim has been in their company and under their influence for about twenty seconds are offering to wring chickens necks and offer up sacrifices that include not just chickens but in the case of The Believers  children.

Director on set.

Witchcraft has always been a fascinating subject and it is no surprise that film studios also found this subject attractive, turning out endless movies about witches, possession, and voodoo rituals. British studios such as Amicus and Hammer dipped their toe into the witchcraft waters as it were on a few occasions, voodoo even became a big part of the plot of the Bond movie, Live and Let Die.  There were also movies such as The Serpent and The Rainbow which is a prime example of this type of film. And of course, vintage horrors such as I Walked with a Zombie. The Believers as I have said was in my opinion cruelly criticised and unfairly underrated by both critics and audiences alike, but to be fair, critics did not really give it a chance and probably audiences or potential audiences for the movie were put off by negative reviews. But on re-visiting the film I found it passable ok it was nothing overly outstanding but still enjoyable, and I was impressed greatly by the atmospheric and inventive musical score courtesy of J. Peter Robinson a composer who is for some reason underused by filmmakers. The soundtrack was issued on an LP in 1987, on Varese Sarabande, the score was later in 2009 issued on a compact disc by Perseverance records with extra music. I still have the LP and it pops up from time to time on various selling sites, but the CD is something of a rarity now.

Sheen plays a police psychiatrist Cal Jamison who, after the death of his wife moves to New York, on arriving there he is involved in an investigation that is looking into the murder of two teenage boys who have been slaughtered in a ritual by a religious cult. Jamison believes that it is a voodoo cult that have carried out the murders and decides to investigate further despite warnings from his housekeeper to stay away from them. But it is not long before he himself becomes influenced by their ways and black magic, and they attempt to get him to sacrifice his own son.


The music for the movie adds much to the storyline the composer utilising symphonic flourishes, strange brass performances that are chilling and edgy and percussive elements, some of these having an ethnic persona to them to which he adds vocals and choral performances that are augmented and further enhanced by strings to create a soundtrack that is supportive and totally integral and vital to the plot. The composer also employs various icy and sinewy electronic effects that give weight to the musical proceedings and acting as support to the more conventional instrumentation. It’s a score that I would recommend and why not try and catch the movie at some point.