Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Devil's Rain (1975)

Like my old friend Joachim use to say, without Christianity we wouldn't have all these fantastic satanic horror movies that was made in the seventies, and to that degree I'll agree with him. The best thing with most of them is that "the evil" wins in the end, which makes them even more interesting. Several of my favourite horrors from the seventies takes its cue from Satan, stuff like Holocaust 2000, The Omen, The Sentinel and now The Devil's Rain proves that that good old devil still is one of the finest baddies we have on the screen. He's terribly underused nowadays, except in crappy Exorcism-themed movies where he looses in the end. Not good. So why don't take the time machine back to the middle of the seventies when a fantastic cast of characters put on their red robes and did some good ol' devil worshipping!

A violent thunderstorm. Mark Preston (William Shatner) waits, together with his mother, for his father to come home. And he does, but only manages to utter a warning that Corbis wants his book back - and then melts graphically into a puddle of wax. Soon after a demonic force attacks their house and the mother (Ida Lupino of all people) is kidnapped. Mark goes after them and comes to Corbis (Ernest Borgnine) hide-out, in the desert. When he's not coming back his brother Tom (Tom Skerritt) starts to investigate and is soon trapped in the nasty claws of a dangerous sect of Devil worshippers!

I really didn't believe it, but The Devil's Rain is one of the coolest and best satanic horror movies I ever seen. It has that typical dirty, realistic feel of the seventies but never shy away from melting people, Belsebub-make-up on Borgnine, explosions, more melting people and lots and lots of cool satanic symbols and awesome red robes with even more satanic symbols on them. Finally someone understood that a movie about good vs. evil doesn't have to be boring, it can be like every other movie from this time: just fucking crazy.

To make it extra cool and probably to add some nice flavour to the marketing our dear Anton LaVey is credited as a technical advisor and also shows up, very short, as a high priest during the final. I'm sure he enjoyed this a lot, especially because a movie like this basically was an excuse to poke fun at nutty religious people (as you know, LaVey was an atheist and used the legend of Satan to create a self-help ideology, but that's a whole different story). The movie looks spectacular and Robert Fuest's directing is flawless. How he uses the open spaces around the satanic church, how he delivers in the effect scenes - this is a master at work.

Another fine thing with this movie is the cast. First of all, Ernest Borgnine gives it ALL as Corbis, and seems to enjoy his performance like no one else. William Shater (another very underrated actor) is excellent and so is the entire supporting cast. I find Tom Skerritt a bit pale, but maybe its because the extremely colourful surroundings. It must be hard playing the straight man when Borgnine and Shatner chew's the scenery right behind you.

The Devil's Rain is a fantastic horror movie and if you stayed away from it because you're silly like me, watch dammit. It's very good-looking, filled with slimy effects and actors who crawls out from the telly because they acts so much. In a good way of course. The DVD from Dark Sky looks very good. Get it!

Fun fact: Ernest Borgnine didn't use any make-up for his performance as Corbis. He just wrinkled his face a little bit more.

Fun fact: John Travolta made his last really good performance in The Devil's Rain. 

Fun fact: Anton LaVey's chick golden helmet became a short-lived fab in California between July 28th and July 29th 1975. It was a roaring success among the "in-crowd".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"(as you know, LaVey was an atheist and used the legend of Satan to create a self-help ideology, but that's a whole different story)."

Yeah, alot of people seems to have missed this but....Tipper Gore types would never have anything to complain about otherwise.

"(Ida Lupino of all people) is kidnapped. Mark goes after them and comes to Corbis (Ernest Borgnine) hide-out,"

Lupino and Borgnine...?!!!

Well I have to see this film.

Thanks for the tip ninja.