Directed by Robert Fuest
Distributed by Dark Sky Films
The Seventies were known for a lot of things. Bell bottom jeans, free love, liberal drug usage, and killer tunes were all very much in fashion. It was also the decade in which Satan ruled the cinema. In those days you just couldn’t make a movie dealing with the diabolical fast enough. Little Regan MacNeil was busy masturbating with crosses, priests were gettin’ impaled, and Richard Crenna was off fightin’ devil dogs much to audiences’ delight and horror. Fucking sweet! While some of these films may indeed be a hell of a lot more memorable and meritable than others, there are a few cheesy gems that shouldn’t be missed. 1975’s The Devil’s Rain is one of them.
The storyline is pretty short and to the point: Ages ago the Preston family stole a book from a coven of devil worshippers led by Jonathan Corbis (Borgnine) that held the key to some sort of secret. Pissed over the theft, Corbis spends all eternity trying to get the book back. Decades later he finds that the relatives of the original folks who snatched it are still in possession of the tome. Hot damn! It’s time to exact demonic revenge.
There are parts of The Devil’s Rain that make absolutely no sense. There’s no denying that as a serious film this flick sucks on almost every level. But I have to say, who fuckin’ cares?! The Devil’s Rain is one of the silliest and most unintentionally funny films ever made. Come on, Ernest Borgnine playing a goat-like demon and shouting lines like, “Who calls me from out of the Pit?” You just have to laugh! And speaking of laughter, I’ve got three words for you … William fucking Shatner! There is no one on the planet who can over emote like he can. I rewound and played back the scene in which his character, Mark Preston, delivers the line, “CORBIS! God damn you!” about eighty-five times before I was able to commit myself to watching the rest of the movie. My sides still hurt from laughing.
And then there’s the ending. This is extremely important to touch upon as The Devil’s Rain was marketed as having “Absolutely the most incredible ending of any motion picture.” And what do we get? Twelve solid minutes of Shatner emoting, Borgnine in full goat regalia, and a plethora of people melting in a scene that seems almost endless. Incredible? No. Funny? Hell yes! Behold the goodness of bad cinema! Revel in it! Kneel before it!
Dark Sky Films is quickly building a reputation for itself as being a force to be reckoned with in the DVD market. Its releases are usually brimming with extras. Unfortunately there’s just not much out there in terms of supplemental material for a film as obscure as this. Rest assured that they gathered everything they could though. Headlining the extras lineup is a pretty dry and very British commentary by director Robert Fuest. There were times while listening that I completely forgot what the hell the man was originally talking about. That’s OK. I’m sure he did too. From there we get to see some old newsreel footage of The Devil’s Rain‘s technical satanic advisor, Anton LeVey, High Priest of the Church of Satan, marrying some loony folks. In it Anton can be found performing this ceremony while wearing a devil suit complete with horns. I shit you not — HORNS! What the fuck is wrong with some people!?! *shakes head* Also included are a still gallery, several radio spots, and the trailer.
The Devil’s Rain doesn’t accomplish what it set out to do, but it does so much more. While there may be no real frights to be had here, the hammy performances and ludicrous effects are reason enough to sit through this masterpiece of melted cinematic cheese. Over. And over. And over. And over …
“CORBIS! God damn you!”
Commentary by director Robert Fuest
Newsreel with Anton LeVey, High Priest of the Church of Satan
3 1/2 out of 5