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The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)

An anthropologist goes to Haiti after hearing rumors about a drug used by black magic practitioners to turn people into zombies.

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(inspired by the book), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Badja Djola ...
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Aleta Mitchell ...
William Newman ...
Jaime Pina Gautier ...
Julio (as Jaime Piña Gautier)
Evencio Mosquera Slaco ...
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Storyline

In 1985, after a successful research in Amazonas, Dr. Dennis Alan from Harvard is invited by the president of a Boston pharmaceutics industry, Andrew Cassedy, to travel to Haiti to investigate the case of a man named Christophe that died in 1978 and has apparently returned to life. Andrew wants samples of the voodoo drug that was used in Christophe to be tested with the intention of producing a powerful anesthetic. Dr. Alan travels to meet Dr. Marielle Duchamp that is treating Christophe and arrives in Haiti in a period of revolution. Soon Alan is threatened by the chief of the feared Tonton Macuse Dargent Peytraud, who is a torturer and powerful witch. Alan learns that death is not the end in the beginning of his journey to hell. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Don't bury me...I'm not dead!

Genres:

Fantasy | Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

5 February 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La serpiente y el arco iris  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$19,595,031 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Dr. Alan is poisoned in Lucien Celine's villa, he grabs a Haitian man who emphatically shouts "No! No! No! No!". This extra actor was seen earlier in the film playing a grave robber where he shouts the same phrase (his only spoken line) as he flees a cemetery following discovery by Alan and Marielle Duchamp. See more »

Goofs

Just before the spider starts crawling on Dr. Dennis Alan's face, you can see the crew member in the left background who placed it there. See more »

Quotes

Marielle Duchamp: The way Dr. Schoonbacher spoke of you, it was as though you could walk on water! Now I know why. Shit floats!
See more »

Crazy Credits

[Opening card] In the legends of voodoo the Serpent is a symbol of Earth. The Rainbow is a symbol of Heaven. Between the two, all creatures must live and die. But because he has a soul Man can be trapped in a terrible place Where death is only the beginning. See more »

Connections

Referenced in I Am Nancy (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Sonata No. 14, D Major, Presto
Written by Domenico Scarlatti
Performed by Gita Karasik
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

For horror fans
5 January 2005 | by See all my reviews

Wes Craven's "The Serpent and the Rainbow" is one of the more original and ambitious horror movies to come out of the '80s. Not only does it seek to reconnect cinematic zombies with their voodoo roots, ala classics like "White Zombie", but it also uses the creation of zombies as a political allegory. The film is set in Haiti during the last days of the dictatorship of "Baby Doc" Duvalier.

Based - very loosely one surmises - on a true story, the plot follows Dr. Dennis Alan (Bill Pullman) as he investigates a powder that is said to turn people into zombies. He is aided in his quest by Dr. Marielle Duchamp (Cathy Tyson), who he quickly falls for, and Louie Mozart (Brent Jennings) an expert in voodoo. Dargent Peytraud (the chilling Zakes Mokae) is the snarling villain of the piece, a man with sinister powers both government-sanctioned and supernatural.

The film abounds with creatively gruesome imagery - a man is buried alive, screaming, in a coffin as it fills with blood, a fiendish hand reaches out from a bowl of soup - this is one of those rare films that genuinely makes your skin crawl. Horror fans should not miss it. It's a shame that the film runs just a little longer than it should and becomes disappointingly routine in its final moments.

There is a sense that this movie was aiming a bit higher than it ending up reaching. I can't quite hold that against it.


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