Devil worshipers and witches were big players in the horror productions of the 1970s, thanks in part to films such as Rosemary’s Baby (1968), Asylum of Satan (1971), Brotherhood of Satan (1971), Race with the Devil (1975), The Devil’s Rain (1975) and The Omen (1976).
This episode of the horror anthology Circle of Fear (1973), capitalizes on this trend with the deeply creepy, occult-centric episode titled “Legion of Demons.”
But one day, after a meeting with the office manager, Mary (Neva Patterson) and other employees, Janet disappears without a trace.
Furthermore, success and fortune -- the accumulation of money -- is tied directly to the corporate world, a place where folks must leave their souls behind if they wish to excel. “Legion of Demons’” subtext is all the more amazing for the fact that it precedes President Carter’s “crisis of confidence” speech by six years and President Reagan’s “yuppie” milieu by more than a decade.
At one point, for instance, the episode cuts to an extreme high-angle shot of Beth seated in a chair, surrounded by the coven. The positioning of the witches reveals a five point or pentagram structure, a nice reflection of the group’s true nature.
The revelation of Janet as the coven’s evil leader -- via creepy distortion lens imagery -- also ably suggests a world gone mad.
The most basic test for an episode of a horror show or a horror film even is an affirmative answer to the question: “is it scary?” Although it clearly apes Rosemary’s Baby, and probably features one or two too many chases up and down an office corridor on the thirteenth floor, I still found “Legion of Demons” sufficiently frightening. I was watching it alone (while my wife was asleep next to me in bed), at about 11:00 pm, and the episode gave me a good case of the shivers.