16 September 2014

The Devil's Rain (1975)
85 min.
Directed by Robert Fuest.
With Ernest Borgnine, Eddie Albert, Ida Lupino, William Shatner, Tom Skerritt, Joan Prather, Keenan Wynn, John Travolta.
John Travolta's film debut was in this spunky, one-of-a-kind devil cult horror.

Jonathan Corbis (Borgnine) heads up a coven of Satanists who reside in the desert town of Redstone. Unfortunately, they're Satanists with a little problem.

You see, they need to retrieve an ancient tome called "The Book" which is essentially a roster of the devil's disciples. And Corbis will do anything to get The Book back.

Turns out he's tracked its whereabouts down to a particular family: the Prestons, the descendants of one of the cult's earlier victims.

After Corbis turns the current Preston patriarch into an eyeless zombie, and kidnaps the Preston matriarch (Lupino), it's up to the two surviving sons - Skerritt and Shatner - to fight back with all their might. And they're not going to give up the Book without a nasty fight!

This atmospheric drive-in fare is well served by a healthy dose of nostalgia, and boasts a cache of memorable images: eyeless zombies with melting faces, Shatner crucified, Borgnine in full billy goat/horn makeup.

Does it all make sense? No. Is it flawed? To be sure. But the sheer novelty of Rain won't be found again anytime soon.

Director Fuest also directed the Vincent Price classics The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) and Dr. Phibes Rises Again! (1972).

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