Horror Movie A Day: Quint melts in THE DEVIL’S RAIN (1975)
Who calls me from out of the pit?!?
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day.
[The regular A Movie A Day list has been frozen in order for me to do an all-horror line-up for October. I’ve pulled many horror titles from my regular “to see” stack and have ordered many more horror and thriller titles to make sure we have some good stuff. Like the regular AMAD column all the movies I’m covering are films I have never seen, but unlike the regular AMAD column I will not connect each film to the one before it. Instead I will pull a title at random every day and watch whatever the movie Gods determine for me.]
Man, is this movie a ball of fun or what?
It’s absolutely ludicrous, but goddamn… there are melting faces, Goat-heads, Satanists, eye-less faces, magic books, Puritan flashbacks, ESP, bell-bottoms and William Shatner and Ernest Borgnine trying to out-act each other.
Yes, all that mixed together gives you a crazy-awesome movie.
Basically what you have is a cult leader named Corbis (Borgnine) who was betrayed by one of his followers’ wives… I think. I mean, in the flashback we see the whole thing and everybody is burned at the stake, but Borgnine is able to give his young son the dark materials and hide him from the Christian mob… so the assumption is that the Corbis we see in the modern day is his descendant, but it’s not made clear.
We also see Shatner in the flashback as well and we know that the modern day Shatner is his descendant, so I don’t know for sure what the hell is up, but that’s a very silly thing to get caught up on in a movie with 15 minutes of melting faces.
Anyway, Flashback-Shatner’s wife betrays the cult in Puritan days and steals a book which contains the contracts of all the followers, signed in blood, condemning their souls to Satan’s keeping. The Christians as thanks, betray her as well, burning her along with the rest, but not before Borgnine levels a curse at her and her descendants.
Now Modern Day (‘70s) Borgnine is still after the book and has located the family, now headed by Ida Lupino. After a brief introductory scene, Lupino is taken and her son, Mark (Shatner), goes to rescue her.
Now, you think Shatner’s the lead at this point. He shows up to this deserted mining town and is met by an affable, smiling Borgnine in a plaid shirt and cowboy hat. They recognize each other and decide on a contest of faith, Shatner’s faith in Christ vs. Borgnine’s faith in Satan, which is determined during a black mass.
Surprisingly, Shatner loses and 30 plus minutes into the movie we switch focus to Tom Skerritt, Shatner’s brother, and his psychic wife (Joan Prather) who now investigate the disappearance of his mother and now brother.
There are recognizable faces during this journey, including Keenan Wynn in a bit part as a Sheriff and John Travolta in his real first big screen appearance (not CARRIE, which came out after this movie), as an eye-less cult follower.
Which is a great effect, by the way. Every single cultist (minus Borgnine himself) has empty eye-sockets and it’s a goddamn creepy effect. Really disturbing stuff… and these cult members melt under varying conditions, especially during the big finale. That, as well, is a creepy effect.
Unfortunately, the melty-faces wear out their welcome when you realize they had a 70 minute movie and decided to put 15 minutes of melting faces at the end. It really does go on and on and on and on and on and on and on.
But still, when my biggest complaint with the filmmaking of this picture is that there’s too many melting faces, that’s not really a big complaint.
Final Thoughts: This is an odd, extremely fun movie. As a side-note, Michael Kahn edited this film. Kahn has been Spielberg’s editor since CLOSE ENCOUNTERS. Also, this film had founder of the Satanic Church Anton LaVey as a “technical advisor.” This flick is a lot of fun with Shatner going as far out as you could want “Corbis! God… DAMN you!” and Borgnine playing the lead with an insane glee in his eye. Not to mention a crazy goat prosthetic he wears for a couple of scenes… I don’t know how anybody couldn’t get enjoyment out of this film, whether you think it’s intentionally entertaining or not.
Here are the titles in the drawing pool for the rest of October:
Wednesday, October 1st – Friday, October 31st: H-MAD! Horror Movie A Day! Check out the list here!
Good, now I’m caught up. If I were to try to connect these films like my regular AMAD list, I’d follow this up with director Robert Fuest’s DR. PHIBES RISES AGAIN, but since we’re doing a random draw… Let’s go ahead and pull the title for tomorrow so anybody interested can follow along!
Tomorrow we will watch:
Wow, that’s actually a great follow-up to this movie. Cult movie to Cult movie. See you tomorrow for that!
June 2nd: Harper
June 3rd: The Drowning Pool
June 4th: Papillon
June 5th: Gun Crazy
June 6th: Never So Few
June 7th: A Hole In The Head
June 8th: Some Came Running
June 9th: Rio Bravo
June 10th: Point Blank
June 11th: Pocket Money
June 12th: Cool Hand Luke
June 13th: The Asphalt Jungle
June 14th: Clash By Night
June 15th: Scarlet Street
June 16th: Killer Bait (aka Too Late For Tears)
June 17th: Robinson Crusoe On Mars
June 18th: City For Conquest
June 19th: San Quentin
June 20th: 42nd Street
June 21st: Dames
June 22nd: Gold Diggers of 1935
June 23rd: Murder, My Sweet
June 24th: Born To Kill
June 25th: The Sound of Music
June 26th: Torn Curtain
June 27th: The Left Handed Gun
June 28th: Caligula
June 29th: The Elephant Man
June 30th: The Good Father
July 1st: Shock Treatment
July 2nd: Flashback
July 3rd: Klute
July 4th: On Golden Pond
July 5th: The Cowboys
July 6th: The Alamo
July 7th: Sands of Iwo Jima
July 8th: Wake of the Red Witch
July 9th: D.O.A.
July 10th: Shadow of A Doubt
July 11th: The Matchmaker
July 12th: The Black Hole
July 13th: Vengeance Is Mine
July 14th: Strange Invaders
July 15th: Sleuth
July 16th: Frenzy
July 17th: Kingdom of Heaven: The Director’s Cut
July 18th: Cadillac Man
July 19th: The Sure Thing
July 20th: Moving Violations
July 21st: Meatballs
July 22nd: Cast a Giant Shadow
July 23rd: Out of the Past
July 24th: The Big Steal
July 25th: Where Danger Lives
July 26th: Crossfire
July 27th: Ricco, The Mean Machine
July 28th: In Harm’s Way
July 29th: Firecreek
July 30th: The Cheyenne Social Club
July 31st: The Man Who Knew Too Much
August 1st: The Spirit of St. Louis
August 2nd: Von Ryan’s Express
August 3rd: Can-Can
August 4th: Desperate Characters
August 5th: The Possession of Joel Delaney
August 6th: Quackser Fortune Has A Cousin In The Bronx
August 7th: Start the Revolution Without Me
August 8th: Hell Is A City
August 9th: The Pied Piper
August 10th: Partners
August 11th: Barry Lyndon
August 12th: The Skull
August 13th: The Hellfire Club
August 14th: Blood of the Vampire
August 15th: Terror of the Tongs
August 16th: Pirates of Blood River
August 17th: The Devil-Ship Pirates
August 18th: Jess Franco’s Count Dracula
August 19th: Dracula A.D. 1972
August 20th: The Stranglers of Bombay
August 21st: Man, Woman & Child
August 22nd: The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane
August 23rd: The Young Philadelphians
August 24th: The Rack
August 25th: Until They Sail
August 26th: Somebody Up There Likes Me
August 27th: The Set-Up
August 28th: The Devil & Daniel Webster
August 29th: Cat People
August 30th: The Curse of the Cat People
August 31st: The 7th Victim
September 1st: The Ghost Ship
September 2nd: Isle of the Dead
September 3rd: Bedlam
September 4th: Black Sabbath
September 5th: Black Sunday
September 6th: Twitch of the Death Nerve
September 7th: Tragic Ceremony
September 8th: Lisa & The Devil
September 9th: Baron Blood
September 10th: A Shot In The Dark
September 11th: The Pink Panther
September 12th: The Return of the Pink Panther
September 13th: The Pink Panther Strikes Again
September 14th: Revenge of the Pink Panther
September 15th: Trail of the Pink Panther
September 16th: The Real Glory
September 17th: The Winning of Barbara Worth
September 18th: The Cowboy and the Lady
September 19th: Dakota
September 20th: Red River
September 21st: Terminal Station
September 22nd: The Search
September 23rd: Act of Violence
September 24th: Houdini
September 25th: Money From Home
September 26th: Papa’s Delicate Condition
September 27th: Dillinger
September 28th: Battle of the Bulge
September 29th: Daisy Kenyon
September 30th: Laura
October 1st: The Dunwich Horror
October 2nd: Experiment In Terror
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
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Oct. 4, 2008, 1:28 a.m. CST
by Oliver Queen
you promised to finish the Star Wars contest in a timely fashion? Remember how you promised it wouldn't be like your other contests? Hmmmm...
Oct. 4, 2008, 1:33 a.m. CST
Depends on what you think is timely, I guess. All I can say is I'm working on it and I'll have it to you guys when I can.
Oct. 4, 2008, 1:47 a.m. CST
It's a great double feature with Dirty Mary Crazy Larry. Though I got to admit (spoiler alert) playing Resident Evil 4 really established what an evil cult should be like, and I don't think Race with the Devil fully exceeds in pulling that off.
Oct. 4, 2008, 2:03 a.m. CST
by Tom Cullen
It truly is a crazy awesome flick, though most of the awesome comes from just how crazy it all is, and from having a batch of performers who seem to know exactly what kind of film they are in, and just go hell for leather with it. Also coming from the director of the two Dr Phibes movies, you really couldn't expect "normal" now, could you? <p>If you want some other great occult based flicks check out The Believers with Martin Sheen and Jimmy Smits, and of course if you haven't seen the classic Angel Heart with Mickey Rourke and Robert DeNiro then that is an absolute must see. There's another one from the 70's that I remember being pretty freaky, but while I can see the video cover in my head, I just can't put my finger on the name of the damn thing...
Oct. 4, 2008, 2:18 a.m. CST
Aye, Satan would be pleased at that.
Oct. 4, 2008, 2:23 a.m. CST
by Napoleon Park
The Comic Book Bondage Cover of The Day web site, which ran out of comic book covers after a few years and is currently doing Pulps, announced a series of contests in a variety of categories. The deadlines for the first ten have passed and the guy running the site is still posting the apology that he hasn't gotten the entries to the first contest to the judging panel yet.
Oct. 4, 2008, 2:39 a.m. CST
by otis von zipper
Race With the Devil with the great Warren Oates. What's not to love? I think I saw those two movies (Devil's Rain and Race with the Devil) within a month of each other at the local theatre back in the day. As a kid I thought Race With the Devil was the coolest movie I had ever seen.
Oct. 4, 2008, 2:42 a.m. CST
Come on...Shatner, Borgnine and Travolta (including Johnny's very first line ever delivered on screen: "BLASPHEMER! BLASPHEMER!!"). How could anybody resist??
Oct. 4, 2008, 3:10 a.m. CST
by wuher da brewer
The funny thing is I'm doing my own horror review a day and I reviewed Race with the Devil just today. Before that it was The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue and The Abominable Dr. Phibes.
Oct. 4, 2008, 3:44 a.m. CST
Devils Rain. I explained this in the previous h-mad thread. That is what this film should be known for, above all else. They made a jeltrait mold off of Shatners face and cast out a plaster positive to sculpt out and mold the vacant eye face appliance. That plaster positive casting eventually found it way to Don Post Studios where it was molded and clay cast to make the 1975 Capt Kirk Mask. The rest as they say is history...
Oct. 4, 2008, 4:04 a.m. CST
by greigy just wanted to say
Any smart arse remember when they acted on screen together... Kirk and Han Solo
Oct. 4, 2008, 4:35 a.m. CST
I assumed you've seen the first one, correct? If both of them are in there, then I beseech you to watch them in order.
Oct. 4, 2008, 4:40 a.m. CST
The funny thing about Phibes is this: It's a movie Dad and I bonded over. My dad was a frat boy-but he was a Sci-fi/horror geek prototype. He loved all the old classics like Forbidden Planet, Robinson Caruso goes to Mars, Planet of the Apes..ect. <p>But he alwo had a soft spot for quirky movies like Phibe or bad movies like Green Slime.
Oct. 4, 2008, 4:43 a.m. CST
by Boba Fat
Haven't seen the Devils rain fr a long time by had on VHS taped of the TC years ago. Had no idea what the film was about when I taped it but I loved the ending and I'm afraid 15 mins of melting faces wasn't enough when I was fourteen. Also remember Borgine's freaky goat face being scary. Want to watch it again now. Won't fit into my Halloween night schedule though. Anybody else already planned there's?
Oct. 4, 2008, 4:45 a.m. CST
by Boba Fat
apologies for the hamfisted typing, again I blame the devil.
Oct. 4, 2008, 5:06 a.m. CST
That numbnuts piece of shit NUKE THE FRIDGE flick with the cheap sets, underwhelming action, lazy plotting, campy supporting actors - you thought the KICK THE CAN episode of TWILIGHT ZONE THE MOVIE was Spielberg's worst? Obviously you haven't seen CRYSTAL SKULL. Its like everyone in that film, Spielberg, Kahn, Williams, etc etc were way off their mark, way way off - lazy filmmaking to say the least.
Oct. 4, 2008, 6:35 a.m. CST
To save money on the make up. Just plop some horns on his, and their you go. I heard they are remaking this, with a modern hip hop angle, and changing the title to "Da Devil Make It Rain", starring DMX, directed by Tim Story....
Oct. 4, 2008, 8:01 a.m. CST
by I am not a number
Travolta gets billed beneath a picture of himself with no eyes, while everyone else gets normal pictures of themselves. And no mention of the "TV/jar" macguffin? What's with that? Coolest prop ever!
Oct. 4, 2008, 8:26 a.m. CST
by Shut the Fuck up Donny
Quint, how could you forget to mention that Anton Lavey was technical director!? THIS IS A LEGITIMATE FILM ABOUT SATANISM! <p> Anyway, my friends and I discovered this gem of a movie years ago and had a helluva time pulling an MST3K on it. After seeing it we always tried to convince other "nerds" to check it out because we felt you really weren't in the fold until you had seen Shatner and Borgnine doing what they do best.
Oct. 4, 2008, 8:29 a.m. CST
by Shut the Fuck up Donny
as you're actually talking about--you know--cool stuff. Not damn politics. Hats off to you.
Oct. 4, 2008, 8:56 a.m. CST
I just got both Bava Box Sets for the price of one, which was about 45 bucks, which I thought was a good deal. Also quite a few other ones. And no, I don't work for them or get any money.
Oct. 4, 2008, 9:35 a.m. CST
Oct. 4, 2008, 9:53 a.m. CST
"HOW DID YOU EIGHT BALLS EVER GET INTO THE NAVY?" Thank you...you've all been great...I'll be here all weekend.
Oct. 4, 2008, 10:08 a.m. CST
He let Ernest win out of pity and with a cunning plan to later defeat him with a handbuilt bazooka with tree bark, coal and some rope. You need a Shatner movie a day Since Hallows eve is coming Kingdom of the Spiders should be among them
Oct. 4, 2008, 10:26 a.m. CST
I didn't forget. He's mentioned in the "Final Thoughts"
Oct. 4, 2008, 11:29 a.m. CST
Two super-awesome scary Shatner flicks from the 70's.... especially Impulse. That one is a complete crack-up. There's a scene where you can actually hear Shatner fart... for real! Impulse also features Oddjob from Goldfinger. Kingdom of the Spiders is a much less silly, straight up creep-fest. Lots of good, real spider action. Please check these out if you haven't seen them.
Oct. 4, 2008, 11:49 a.m. CST
by alice 13
and i knew it was fake because *spoilers* captain kirk didnt win.
Oct. 4, 2008, 1:47 p.m. CST
Two flicks that scared the crap out of me as a kid...and in cynical 70's fashion, made me realize that sometimes the bad guys do win.
Oct. 4, 2008, 2:46 p.m. CST
Thanks Tom. I haven't thought of that flick in years. Although I bet Helen Shaver will never get over having live spiders pumped through her open sore make-up, to crawl all over her face...
Oct. 4, 2008, 4:23 p.m. CST
by Shut the Fuck up Donny
I don't know how I missed it. I think I was a little overexcited you actually covered this movie. <p> Keep up the great work!
Oct. 4, 2008, 5:23 p.m. CST
and, sorry guys, I just thought it was depressing - especially when the very last shot came up on screen. Tom Skerritt was quoted as saying it was "a movie to throw up by." As good a description as I could have thought of. Sorry, Quint, fun isn't the word I would use.
Oct. 4, 2008, 6:11 p.m. CST
That is a treat. Not a great movie by any stretch of the imagination, but I can't help but think that the climatic chase at the end involving the motor home was an inspiration for George Miller's car scenes in the Road Warrior. As for the Devil's Rain, not a good movie, although the ending was surprisingly effective and creepy.
Oct. 4, 2008, 8:28 p.m. CST
This movie is fucking awesome. All Shatner fans must see this just for the proto - Khan yell you mentioned. Me and my gf laughed so hard I almost pissed myself. I love the 70's satanic flicks. Quint, you must see Brotherhood of Satan. Another great one with another great, creepy 70's ending. Also another good thread for this would be Night of the Lepus with Deforest Kelly about an attack of giant rabbits on a small town. No shit. Also Anton Levay is actually in the Shatner sacrifice scene. He's one of the priests. I'm doing my own October horror festival but I'm starting with two Hershel Gordon Lewis classics: Wizard of Gore (as seen in Juno) and 2,000 Maniacs (the original not the shitty remake). Last thing mentioned: Phase 4 just came out on DVD. Quint, you or Harry must review this one. It's awesome. The only film ever directed by Saul Bass about ants that gain sentience from some weird cosmic event. Not to be missed. Very hard science fiction with some horror elements and stars Nigel Davenport. You all should see it if you like these kinds of 70's films.
Oct. 4, 2008, 8:32 p.m. CST
also forgot to mention, Phase 4 has awesome micro photography of ants burying there dead and stuff. Very cool.
Oct. 4, 2008, 8:42 p.m. CST
Must Fucking Happen!!!!!!!!!!
Oct. 4, 2008, 8:51 p.m. CST
Anyhoo, thanks for putting me on to this flick, Quint. Somehow it had thus far escaped my compulsive, furtive Netflixing.
Oct. 4, 2008, 9:42 p.m. CST
What ever happened to warren Oates? Awesome movie too
Oct. 4, 2008, 10:54 p.m. CST
I was 15 in 1975 when I saw THE DEVIL'S RAIN and it svared the crap out of me. And the final scene of RCE WITH THE DEVILE has remained with me as one of the scariest endings of any film.
Oct. 4, 2008, 11:20 p.m. CST
I love this feature on this site, but this one makes me want to go looking for bad 70's Will Shatner Horror flicks...I love it...
Oct. 4, 2008, 11:48 p.m. CST
As a child who lived horror films, this was one of only 3 movies that scared me as a child. The other two were Tales From the Crypt (1972 - Santa a Killer?) and the Oblong Box with Vincent Price. While I'm no longer scared of evil Santas or coffins, to this day Ernest Borgnine still gives me the willies. This movie still creeps me out. While I'm sure Mr. Borgnine is a very nice person, it is a tribute to his acting skills that he still scares me over 30 years later. The movie had a great cast, and was very eerie and atmospheric. I'm sure Anton LaVay had a lot to do with it.
Oct. 5, 2008, 7 a.m. CST
Giant Spider Invasion featured the Captain from "gilligan's island', and for you CGI haters, some truly terrible giant mechanical spiders.
Oct. 5, 2008, 11:54 a.m. CST
by Mr Incredible
THE CAR and KILLDOZER, both of which I'm sure sorry-ass Hollywood (bereft of ideas) will eventually remake. THE CAR is especially asking for it.
Oct. 5, 2008, 1:09 p.m. CST
If you haven't already seen it, you ought to take a look at the other-other Shatner-starring Satanic Weirdness flick, "Incubus" which to my knowledge is the only film ever to be entirely scripted in Esperanto. Like this one, it's both hilarious and surprisingly good.
Oct. 5, 2008, 2:25 p.m. CST
by Deus X Meshuga
Is "Deadly blessing". He plays one of the Elders of an Amish-like group . In a roundabout way,his character turns out to be one of the good guys.
Oct. 5, 2008, 4:59 p.m. CST
Shatner and Ford appearing together... http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0466641/ That is all.
Oct. 8, 2008, 8:14 a.m. CST
Beware the Devil's Sleet. Slip / Fall/ bust your ass you will.
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