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The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)

 -  Horror  -  5 February 1988 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 15,503 users  
Reviews: 72 user | 61 critic

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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Title: The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Cathy Tyson ...
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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

Dennis Allan is a scientist who visits Haiti on the strength of a rumour of a drug which renders the recipient totally paralyzed but conscious. The drug's effects often fool doctors, who declare the victims dead. Could this be the origin of the "zombie" legend? Alan embarks on a surprising and often surreal investigation of the turbulent social chaos that is Haiti during the revolution which ousted hated dictator "Baby Doc" Duvalier. Often a pawn in a greater game, Alan must decide what is science, what is superstition, and what is the unknown in a anarchistic society where police corruption and witch-doctory are commonplace. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

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:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$19,595,031 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the beginning of the film, the viewer is shown Christophe Durand's funeral, present at which is Dargent Peytraud who is looking very nervous. Later in the film it is revealed that Durand was poisoned with a zombie powder by Peytraud, and that this created the appearance of death with the powder "wearing off after about 12 hours". Giving that Durand is shown dieing in a hospital at around 8 or 9 the night before, and that the funeral is presumable the next morning shortly after sunrise, Peytraud's nervousness is adequately explained in that he is worried Durand will come out of his zombie spell before he is buried. See more »

Goofs

When the Duvalier government is overthrown, it is stated to be "in the middle of the night", yet news reels show cheering crowds outside in the daylight in the middle of the day. See more »

Quotes

Dargent Peytraud: Doctor Alan...
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 Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Ma Bouya
Performed by Tabou Combo
Courtesy of Mini Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
An entertaining, detailed thriller
27 July 2000 | by (Seattle, WA. USA) – See all my reviews

One of Wes Craven's best, "Serpent and the Rainbow" is as much a psychological thriller as a horror movie. Some horror fans may find it too slow (it takes its sweet time to come to a climax) but it's worth it... the journey is entertaining and interesting. This is a polished, professionally filmed movie with higher production values than the average for its genre.

I've never seen a film before that went quite so in-depth into the subject of voodoo. Filmed on location in Haiti, this movie goes into a lot of detail about various voodoo practices and introduces the voodoo versions of the good and evil magician, the houngon and the bocor. If you have any interest at all in this subject matter (or the supernatural in general), I recommend the movie on that basis alone.

Acting is uniformly solid throughout, if nothing really outstanding. We do not come to care very deeply about these characters, so their trials, tribulations and deaths do not bother us much... but Craven's attention to detail really shows, and there isn't a moment of this movie that lacks entertainment value. 7/10.


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