Square & Compass Interview with “Tales of Terror” Founder and Horror Reviewer/Author Steve Hutchison (Round 2)

Square & Compass Promotions
3 min readAug 24, 2023


Secret Society, Horror, and Freemasonry
Secret Society, Horror, and Freemasonry

We at Square & Compass Promotions first and foremost love Freemasonry. A close second is our love of the horror genre and/or horror movies.

This year, we explored these two loves with Steve Hutchison, “Tales of Terror” founder and horror reviewer and author. You can find our interview on Medium.

A lot of our fans enjoyed the interview, so we wanted to follow-up with another. This time, we focus more on the idea of secret societies and the horror/thriller genre. Also, a huge thank you to Steve Hutchison for creating the above-image!

In our last interview, we discussed the movie “From Hell,” which references Freemasonry specifically. However, there are several movies (especially in the horror/thriller genre) that focus on “secret societies” in general (The Skulls-2000). What is it about “secret societies” that makes them so ubiquitous in the thriller/horror genre?

  • I believe secret societies are often portrayed in horror and thriller genres due to the inherent fear associated with dealing with an organized group of people, rather than just an individual. This ranges from enigmatic college initiations like in “The Skulls” (2000) to a subset of cultist films that I refer to as “clubbist” movies. This category includes films such as “The Menu” (2022), “Society” (1989), “The Witches” (1990/2020), and “The Art of Self-Defense” (2019), which, to a lesser extent, revolve around secret societies or clubs.
  • The mysteries surrounding secret society movies lend themselves to procedurals (police, religious, journalistic, etc.), where something must be gradually learned, ultimately leading up to a final confrontation with the leaders of secret societies, sometimes involving a supernatural element — hence, the secrets.

Would you consider “secret societies” a horror or thriller sub-genre? Are there enough movies featuring “secret societies” to make it worthy of being a sub-genre?

  • While there are evident correlations between genres and subgenres, I like to keep an open mind and think that a subgenre can mix with any genre. A film about secret societies could be a comedy or romance, but horror and thrillers tackle the topic more seriously. Thrillers concerning secret societies are usually plausible, whereas horror movies about them often possess a supernatural nature.
  • Secret societies should definitely be considered a subgenre, and, interestingly, I’ve never heard anyone bring it up before you did.

Do you have a favorite “secret society” horror movie?

  • Being an author, book artist, and publisher, I’ve got a soft spot for “The Ninth Gate” (1999), a movie revolving around a mysterious and coveted book. I’d also give honorable mentions to “Eyes Wide Shut” (1999) and “The Box” (2009).

It’s interesting how often Freemasonry is referenced in movies through symbols without actually being named. For example, in Prisoners (2003) Jake Gyllenhaal wears a Masonic ring. Why do you think these references so often find their way into movies? Is it just a matter of adding a “wrinkle” to a character?

  • I’ve personally created characters in horror video games inspired by secret societies. These characters are intriguing with a lot of potential depth and ample room for creative lore. It’s enjoyable to take the limited information we have about them and expand upon it.
  • I imagine the same applies to screenwriting. I suspect storytellers would like to utilize the concept of Freemasons for their immense potential, but they might opt to rename the organization and make slight alterations to avoid causing offense or portraying them negatively. All the while, this approach provides them with opportunities to construct a captivating narrative around the organization. This holds true for most themes in screenwriting. Writers create whatever resonates with the audience and satisfies the producers.
  • If we were to depict Freemasons as they truly are, I believe we would see spiritual dramas rather than horror movies. The resulting films would revolve around themes of charity, friendship, and tradition. I’d be curious to witness a horror movie where the Freemasons take on the role of protagonists. Who would be the antagonists?

We decided to have a little fun with that last question… “who would be the antagonists?” with the following poll: https://poll.app.do/freemasons-vs

Who should the Freemasons “take-on…”

All opinions expressed are those of Square & Compass Promotions and the guest(s), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Windsor Masonic Temple and/or any masonic group.



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Square & Compass Promotions explores the many ways in which Freemasonry is relevant to our communities. We share both Masonic & Personal stories.