Monday, March 9, 2009
Above: Original, grammatically incorrect movie poster for The Devil's Rain, 1975.
Does the idea of an awful/awesome 70's Horror film featuring John Travolta as an eyeless zombie (right, in what was only his second film appearance) excite you? What if I threw in a young Will Shatner (below), on hiatus between the cancellation of Star Trek the TV show and the production of Star Trek: The Movie? Not enough? OK, let's add Ernest Borgnine portraying The Devil, sporting goat make-up and tons of pentagrams. Surely you're on board now.
If your soul is SO dead that you haven't been thrown into a mad frenzy of anticipatory hysterics yet, I might also add that this hypothetical film also features a bunch of scenes showing people's faces literally BEING MELTED OFF. Oh, and Tom Skerritt.
Fortunately for you, this film isn't hypothetical at all. It was actually made, and although our 20/20 hindsight reveals it as the gem that it truly is, it was considered SO bad in 1975 that it effectively ended the career of its director, Robert Fuest.
I know what you're thinking. How could any audience fail to be moved by such a film? What happened? This is obviously a can't-miss recipe for success!
Well, you're right and wrong. The Devil's Rain, while being quite possibly one of the greatest CONCEPTUAL films of all time, is chock full of boring scenes, over-wrought melodrama, and horrible dialogue. Establishing scenes of cars driving down long desert roads last WAY too long, presumably just to take up a couple minutes so that the film will reach its 1 hour and 20 minute destination. It's poorly made, yes, but THE FACE-MELTING, MAN! THE FACE-MELTING!
I might also add at this point that none other than Anton Szandor LaVey (right), beloved Satanist and perpetrator of many a wacky hi-jink, recieved a "Technical Consultant" credit in this film, due to his help in portraying a realistic Black Mass. LaVey made sure the Devil worship in the movie was done RIGHT, so I would highly recommend this film to any youngsters looking to get seriously involved with the occult.
The Devil's Rain definitely dwells in the "so bad it rules" category of cinema, an ambitious, accidental masterpiece starring some of the most random names in the biz. If you don't believe me, just stop by my pad sometime. We'll have some frosty suds, pop in the ol' VHS copy of the Rain, and have ourselves an unforgettable experience in terrible/rad cinema. I guarantee your face will be nothing short of completely melted!
Below: Borgnine = Satan.
You can watch a reasonably high-quality version of The Devil's Rain on YouTube here. Or, if you want to skip all the boring shit and just get to the brutal face-melting, you can do that too: