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The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)

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



(inspired by the book), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Andrew Cassedy
Mrs. Cassedy
Aleta Mitchell ...
French Missionary Doctor
Jaime Pina Gautier ...
Julio (as Jaime Piña Gautier)
Evencio Mosquera Slaco ...
Old Shaman


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


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


Fantasy | Horror


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

5 February 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La serpiente y el arco iris  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,848,000, 7 February 1988, Wide Release

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Newly-wed, Bill Pullman's wife was invited to be an extra and appears on screen as the blonde who pushes a long needle through a willing man's cheek. See more »


The movie mistakes the Cane Toad (an amphibian, bufo marinus) with the Sea Toad ("crapeau de mer") which is indeed a puffer fish. See more »


Louis Mozart: [about to be executed] You make a mistake! The President and me, we are like this! Like this!
[gets beheaded]
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 »


Referenced in Welshy Reviews: Red Eye (2011) See more »


Madame Marcel
Performed by Le Roi Coupe Cloue
Courtesy of Chancy Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Do you believe in voodoo?
19 April 2001 | by See all my reviews

The story of a chemist who is investigating a rumoured drug that brings people back from the dead. This is a great movie which keeps you in suspense right through. Not a horror movie but more of a suspense type movie that enters the world of black magic and voodoo. Very underrated movie and well worth watching, great plot and the story works.

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