‘The ULTIMATE in Satanic possession!’
The Devil’s Rain is a 1975 American supernatural horror feature film directed by Robert Fuest (The Abominable Doctor Phibes; Doctor Phibes Rises Again; And Soon the Darkness) from a screenplay by Gabe Essoe, James Ashton and associate producer Gerald Hopman (Evilspeak). It has also been released as Satanic Blood.
It was one of the several films, such as The Horror at 37,000 Feet and Kingdom of the Spiders, that William Shatner starred in between the original Star Trek TV series and Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
Other familiar names in the cast included Tom Skerritt (Poltergeist III; The Dead Zone; Alien), Ernest Borgnine (Deadly Blessing), Eddie Albert (Sorceress; The Demon Murder Case), Ida Lupino (The Food of the Gods), and Keenan Wynn (Piranha; The Dark).
John Travolta appears in an early minor role before Carrie but he was top-billed “at his most exciting Fever-pitch” when Joseph Brenner Associates re-released The Devil’s Rain in 1978 on a double-bill with Virgin Witch.
“Though most elements of this film are things which a longtime horror fan will have seen many times before, they have been combined here in such a cockeyed, counterintuitive manner that The Devil’s Rain comes across as being far more original than it actually is.” 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting
” …the general public still had a lot of fear towards the darkness, and that pall hangs over the proceedings in an oppressive manner geared towards the easily swayed. Oh, and don’t forget your ’70s downer ending to cap off a doozy of a ride. I can’t explain how The Devil’s Rain comes together (because it really doesn’t), but it works for me as a unique take on an already shopworn trope.” Daily Dead
“Not one moment of The Devil’s Rain is coherent. Each scene seems disconnected from whatever happened before it, and dull spots deaden the film like raindrops during a hurricane. Nonetheless, The Devil’s Rain is a crackpot classic. What seemed like an amazing joke when it first opened has remained in the popular consciousness ever since.” Mike “McBeardo” McFadden, Heavy Metal Movies
“Ernest Borgnine probably has the most fun here. You’ll wonder why Fuest bothered to spend so much time on the scenery as Borgnine chews through it at every opportunity. Where Shatner plays it straight, delivering every line like it was Shakespeare, Borgnine plays to the cheap seats.” This is Horror
“All of this would be good silly fun if the movie weren’t so painfully dull. The problem is that the material’s stretched too thin. There’s not enough here to fill a feature-length film. No doubt that’s why we get so many barren landscapes filled with lonely music and ennui.” Roger Ebert
“As for The Devil’s Rain, there’s just so much crammed into this production, it almost collapses under its own weight. In addition to the search for the demonic tome, the bottle of souls, the hooded, eyeless followers, voodoo dolls and magic amulets, there’s also the inclusion of ESP by way of Preston’s wife, Julie.” Cool Ass Cinema
” …things become heavy-handed, revealing the ragged direction, a dire script, and performances which range from the bemused (Albert) to the awful (Borgnine). Fuest butters on the special effects, which culminate in a tediously extended final splurge when almost the whole cast dissolves into a puddle of green slime.” Time Out Film Guide
“Nobody phones in their performance and Borgnine seemed to have a lot of fun playing a devil-worshipping bloodthirsty crazy man. This one is just too strange to pass up. It’s a real bad movie, but come on now. If someone was able to stick this cast in a movie about black-eyed Satanists who melt into puddles of wax and come out with something good, then that’s pretty indisputable proof that there is no God.”
“The plot structure robs the film of its most interesting characters early on, and the heavily scrutinized special effects only reveal them for what they are: special effects. The Devil’s Rain is a sad punctuation for Fuest’s 1970s horror career.” John Kenneth Muir, Horror Films of the 1970s
“Confused and confusing horror movie which gets by on its excellent special effects and make-up, a starry cast that appears to believe every word of the script and stylish direction by Fuest.” Alan Frank, The Horror Film Handbook
” … the ultimate cult movie. It’s about a cult, has a cult following, was devised with input from a cult leader, and saw a future superstar indoctrinated into a cult he’d help popularise.” Michael Adams, Showgirls, Teen Wolves, and Astro Zombies (2010)
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“By the time this latest satanism epic ends, it is clear that the wailing is a bit of auditory ectoplasm. It is the accumulated sufferings of the audience at the previous showing that are giving tongue. The Devil’s Rain is ostensibly a horror film, but it barely manages to be a horror.” Vincent Canby, The New York Times
“Contemporary horror-Western ought to be better than it is. It boasts an impressive cast doing fair work and a talented director. But the light touch that Robert Fuest displayed with the Doctor Phibes films is buried under a leaden pace.” Mike Mayo, The Horror Show Guide
“Trashy film, barely salvaged in the final minutes when the Evil Ones are drenched in a satanic rainstorm, turning into oozing, melting puddles of multi-colored wax.” John Stanley, Creature Features
On October 31, 2017, The Devil’s Rain was released on Blu-ray and DVD by Severin Films.
- Audio Commentary With The Devil’s Rain Director Robert Fuest
- Confessions Of Tom – Interview With Actor Tom Skerritt
- The Devil’s Makeup – Interview With Special FX Artist Tom Burman
- 1975 Archive Interview With Actor William Shatner
- First Stop Durango – Interview With Script Supervisor Ana Maria Quintana
- Consulting with the Devil – A Conversation with the High Priest & High Priestess of the Church of Satan
- Hail Satan! – Interview With Anton LaVey Biographer Blanche Barton
- Filmmaker / Horror Collector Daniel Roebuck On The Devil’s Rain
- On Set Polaroid Gallery Of Script Supervisor Ana Maria Quintana Accompanied By Radio Spots
- Poster/Still Gallery
- TV Spots
- Theatrical Trailer
Buy Blu-ray: Amazon.com
Buy DVD: Amazon.com
Cast and characters:
- Ernest Borgnine … Jonathan Corbis
- Eddie Albert … Doctor Sam Richards
- William Shatner … Mark Preston
- Ida Lupino … Emma Preston
- Tom Skerritt … Tom Preston
- Joan Prather … Julie Preston
- Keenan Wynn … Sheriff Owens
- John Travolta … Danny – Carrie
- George Sawaya … Steve Preston
- Woodrow Chambliss … John
- Lisa Todd … Lilith
- Erika Carlsson … Aaronessa Fyffe
- Tony Cortez … First Captor
- Anton LaVey … High Priest of the Church of Satan
- Diane LaVey … Priscilla Corbis
- Robert Wallace … Matthew Corbis
Some of the special effects makeup was provided by Tom Burman (Howling II; Cat People; One Dark Night; Prophecy; Empire of the Ants; Gargoyles).
Image credits: Wrong Side of the Art!