13 user 8 critic

Black Rainbow (1989)

Martha Travis is a medium who makes contact with spirits "on the other side" and connects them with their loved ones still alive, in public performances. Trouble begins when she gives a ... See full summary »




On Disc

at Amazon

5 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

A group of drunk teenagers accidently set free the spirit of a warlock, which possesses a scarecrow. The scarecrow goes on a bloody rampage killing the descendents of the men who had killed... See full summary »

Director: Jeff Burr
Stars: Elizabeth Barondes, John Mese, Stephen Root
Dark Night of the Scarecrow (TV Movie 1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In a small Southern town, a wrongfully-killed man exacts revenge on those who murdered him from beyond the grave.

Director: Frank De Felitta
Stars: Charles Durning, Robert F. Lyons, Claude Earl Jones
The Tin Drum (1979)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Danzig in the 1920s/1930s. Oskar Matzerath, son of a local dealer, is a most unusual boy. Equipped with full intellect right from his birth he decides at his third birthday not to grow up ... See full summary »

Director: Volker Schlöndorff
Stars: David Bennent, Mario Adorf, Angela Winkler
Shadowman (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The story of a war refugee who's hiding in Amsterdam.

Director: Piotr Andrejew
Stars: Jeroen Krabbé, Tom Hulce, Manouk van der Meulen
Comedy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.5/10 X  

The story begins when three aliens get a bit hacked off at their 'friend' Bernard, who keeps making a prat of himself playing space ball. It is while he is playing space ball that the ... See full summary »

Director: Mike Hodges
Stars: Mel Smith, Griff Rhys Jones, Joanne Pearce
Pulp (1972)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A seedy writer of sleazy pulp novels is recruited by a quirky, reclusive ex-actor to help him write his biography at his house in Malta.

Director: Mike Hodges
Stars: Michael Caine, Mickey Rooney, Lionel Stander
Missing Pieces (TV Movie 1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Director: Mike Hodges
Stars: Elizabeth Montgomery, Ron Karabatsos, John Reilly
Croupier (1998)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An aspiring writer is hired as a croupier at a casino, where he realizes that his life as a croupier would make a great novel.

Director: Mike Hodges
Stars: Clive Owen, Nick Reding, Nicholas Ball
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Will Graham is a gangster who has left the life of crime and is living in the countryside. He comes out of hiding to investigate the death of his brother when he learns that he committed ... See full summary »

Director: Mike Hodges
Stars: Clive Owen, Malcolm McDowell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Hoping to cure his violent seizures, a man agrees to a series of experimental microcomputers inserted into his brain but inadvertently discovers that violence now triggers a pleasurable response his brain.

Director: Mike Hodges
Stars: George Segal, Joan Hackett, Richard Dysart
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Martin, an IRA hitman, is seen by a catholic priest while carrying out a hit. He grows a bond with the priest and his niece. But his past and his former employers put all their lives in danger.

Director: Mike Hodges
Stars: Mickey Rourke, Bob Hoskins, Alan Bates
Documentary | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Directors: Mike Hodges, Paul Carlin
Stars: Mark Seltzer, Gary Indiana, Brian Cox


Cast overview, first billed only:
Martha Travis
Walter Travis
Gary Wallace
Lloyd Harley
Ron Rosenthal ...
Lieutenant Irving Weinberg
John Bennes ...
Ted Silas
Linda Pierce ...
Mary Kuron
Tom Kuron
Mrs. Adams
Editor, Geoff McBain (as Ed L. Grady)
Jon Thompson ...
Jack Callow
Eva Callow
Darla N. Warner ...
Shirley Harley
Christopher L. Gray ...
Lucy Williams ...


Martha Travis is a medium who makes contact with spirits "on the other side" and connects them with their loved ones still alive, in public performances. Trouble begins when she gives a message to Mary Kuron from her husband, Tom. But Tom isn't dead... yet. And Martha not only knows he will die, she also knows who killed him. And the murderer knows she knows... Written by Yuval Kfir <yuval.kfir@Indigo.co.il>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Between the known and the unknown is a spectrum of terror that only she can see. See more »


Horror | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

5 December 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Arco Iris Negro  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$7,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (Dolby 5.1)


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Rosanna Arquette's younger sister, Patricia Arquette would also play a psychic in the hit NBC crime drama series Medium. See more »


Martha Travis: Men lie with me, not to me!
See more »


References Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) See more »


Lyrics by Barry Mason
Composed by Christopher L. Gray
Performed by Lucy Williams
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

There's definitely gold at the end of this rainbow
19 May 2010 | by (Cleburne, TX) – See all my reviews

A traveling medium who "performs" in front of large audiences, Martha Travis relays messages from deceased loved ones to their relatives in attendance. Having pushed her into this way of life, her alcoholic father is more than happy to be making (and blowing) the money her shows bring about. One night, however, Martha receives a message from a man who's wife claims he isn't dead. He soon is though, killed just the way Martha had envisioned. Word spreads, and soon skeptical reporter Gary Wallace is on her trail, as is the hit-man responsible for the killing.

Black Rainbow is a grimy, slow-burning little southern Gothic. Directed by Mike Hodges, the film is equal parts horror yarn, crime thriller and chastising of fake mediums. Before she begins foretelling deaths, we never are clearly sure if Martha's gift is all an act. Whether it is or not, the image she uses to describe her connection to the afterlife, that of a rainbow, is about to become very blackened indeed. Low key and mysterious, the film is laced with atmosphere that, while often dreary, in reality is quite hypnotic.

In a film like this, the characters have to be well-drawn. These are believable, broken people. As Martha, Rosanna Arquette is intensely ethereal. I don't think she's ever looked more stunning, and likewise, I don't think she's ever given a better performance than the one delivered here. She vividly conveys the essence of the character, a woman who turns to sporadic bouts of nymphomania for her only form of gratification. Emotionally worn and hardened by the existence that's been forced on her, Martha lives an empty life giving hope to others while keeping none for herself. Jason Robards plays her father, a louse of a man using his daughter as a cash cow while deriding her every step of the way. Tom Hulce is the cocky reporter, and I recognized the mechanic from The Night Flier as Ted Silas.

At one point in the film, Martha is branded a witch due to one of her predictions. The same woman was more than happy to take part in her showings when they were reassuring, but the moment she foresees something bad, the woman does a 180 and puts her down. Ah, good ol' human nature! This leads to Arquette tearing into her final audience with a speech about the affirmation of their own lives through the afterlife. Terrific stuff.

Hodges peppers his film with many themes, a key one clearly being the human need for assurance. Under his direction, everything comes together beautifully. One scene is a real stunner, as we bear witness to the force of an unseen explosion. I didn't realize what I was seeing at first, but once it became clear, I had to go back and watch the scene again. A lovely example of creativity through subtlety. Really, despite the run down locations, despite the macabre nature of the proceedings, the entire film has an underlying beauty radiating throughout it. It's a delicate balance, but one that's fully achieved.

Wrapping up with an ambiguous ending, the film concludes on a fitting note. This was a great discovery. Never talked about, but utterly satisfying, anyone looking for a real sleeper need look no further. Wonderful film.

21 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: