Hell Comes to Hillbillies

Sin Cult

By Bruno Decesare

190 pp.

© 1962

Publisher: E.K.S. Corp.

Series: Bedside Book 1235

To fully appreciate Sin Cult, you must first understand the protagonist Mark Hanes. Mark has hit the road to put as much distance as possible between himself and the immorality of New York City. Raised in a wealthy family and given a monthly allowance, he was able to settle into life as a painter in Greenwich Village without any of than starving that artists are known for.

Then he meets Candy and fell in love. He proposes marriage. She says no, citing her nymphomania and need to sleep around as a reason, so he rapes her. This wins her heart and they wed. Soon though, Mark starts to have second thoughts about the whole marital-bliss thing, cuts her a check to cover the inconvenience, and hauls ass.

Now that we have the sterling character of our hero worked out, we can get on with the story.

Mark is driving his Thunderbird to California but is in no hurry to get there. He’s willing to take detours as long as there are some landscapes to paint along the way, but when he picks up a young hitchhiker named Carol, going off the beaten path gives him more than he bargained for.

Carol is willing to offer up the groceries but Mark is on a nookie hiatus, at least for a little while. She suggests he check out Devil’s Bend, which she says has lovely scenery. He drops her off and drives there afterward.

Carol was right on the money, if you don’t count the unkempt moonshiners that populate the town and surrounding area. Devil’s Bend even had an ineffectual and possibly corrupt sheriff, a vital stereotype for any small-town fight between good and evil.

It wasn’t long before the evil presented itself. Mark was up in a nearby canyon, looking for something suitable to paint. He saw three hillbillies sexually assaulting a young woman off in the distance. Morally outraged, he reached for his binoculars and observed the outrage in greater detail. When it was over, he approached the victim, who said she was from Peace Haven and was out picking berries when she was attacked.

Mark, to his credit, decides to report the crime but the sheriff refuses to do anything about it. Nobody in Devil’s Bend cares much for the well being of Peace Haven folk because the place is reportedly some sort of cult preaching peace and love. And if there’s anything hillbillies hate worse than revenuers and marrying outside one’s immediate family, it’s peace and love.

Undeterred, he decides to pay a visit to Peace Haven to see if he has any luck there. They offer him their hospitality, but are unhelpful and suspicious. Passivity is Peace Haven’s way, at least that’s what’s in their mission statement. The reality is that this cult recruits young women from the criminal-justice system who are given the choice between serving their sentences in prison and a pastoral setting where everyone wears white robes and sings “Kumbaya” a lot. What the women are not told is that their probationary duties include servicing horny old men of influence who visit Peace Haven for a romp. The cult also brings in a few male convicts to keep the womenfolk in line.

Mark, being the hero and all, takes it upon himself to right this great wrong. He goes about this with grim determination, pausing only once or twice to sample the local lovelies and spy on the odd atrocity at length so his moral outrage does not waver.

In the end, justice prevails, not that I gave a shit. It’s the lurid excess, not the triumph of virtue, that make novels like this a joy to read. And it is Mark’s habit of stopping to watch these excesses in all their glory that makes Sin Cult worth converting to.