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Borgnine the Goat
bensonmum210 September 2005
The plot of The Devil's Rain is very simple. It concerns the Preston family and a book their ancestors stole decades ago from a devil worshiper named Jonathan Corbis (Ernest Borgnine). Corbis has spent centuries trying to locate the book and will stop at nothing to obtain it and use its power.

What Works:

  • What a Cast! The Devil's Rain is the Airport (or at least The Love Boat) of horror movies. Just take a look at the cast - Ernest Borgnine, Tom Skerritt, Eddie Albert, Ida Lupino, William Shatner, Keenan Wynn, and, although very brief, John Travolta. I'm amazed that the producers could get all of these people to appear in what is essentially a low budget horror film.

  • Borgnine the Goat. This is where a lot of people seem to have problems with The Devil's Rain. They seem to find the sight of Borgnine with goat horns too funny to take seriously. I look at it just the opposite. I've always found it a disturbing, well-done visage. The whole idea that someone could literally transform into a demon is frightening to me. And the make-up is very nicely done. I've seen a lot of big budget films that didn't have special effects half as convincing as what's found here.

  • Melting Bodies. Another special effects moment that is a winner as far as I'm concerned. Sure, the bodies look like they are spewing forth melted orange and lime sherbet, but I still find it effective. I've seen any number of melting body scenes over the years, but the ones in The Devil's Rain are among my favorite.

What Doesn't Work:

  • Did I Miss Something? The movie gives no introduction as to what is taking place at the beginning of the movie. The viewer is literally dropped into a scene with people and actions that are a mystery. It's almost like the first half of the movie is missing.

  • Silly Story. If you try to think too hard about what's going on with the plot, it can make your head hurt. My suggestion is to just enjoy the cheese and forget about trying to make sense of it all. Don't over-analyze it, just go with the flow.

In the end, I realize that The Devil's Rain really isn't that good of a movie, but it's just so much cheesy fun that I can't help but rate it as high as I do. It's a movie that could have only been made in the 70s. It seems to me that anyone with a half-baked idea and enough money could see their vision on the big screen. Many of today's horror movies are so glossy and over-produced that all the fun has been sucked out of them. And, for me, much of the appeal of horror movies is having fun.
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Satan says you scream like a girl.
Mystie300028 May 2004
Context is everything for this type of film. This is a 1970's era Devil Worship film, which is a genre quite apart from other horror movies. The American public was in something of a 'Satanic-Panic' in the '70's, what with people listening to Black Sabbath and playing Dungeons and Dragons. In retrospect it was all relatively harmless and rather silly, as is this film.

That said, the actors do the very best job possible, with Bill Shatner being very, um, Shatnerian, and Borgnine being, well, Borgnine (compare his performance in Disney's "Black Hole" for contrast- hilarious). If you like anything either of these actors starred in you will probably like this as well (unless you're offended by the religious content). I actually though Borgnine looked *better* as a goat, at least until he melted!

The exposition/flashback portions of the plot reminded me of the "Reverend Kane" plot in "Poltergeist III: The Final Chapter". The presence of the actual priest and priestess of the official Satanic Church is rather telling. They obviously didn't take it all that seriously, so why should the viewer, or anyone else? I found the special effects towards the end to be quite spectacular, again for the era and genre. I was left with little sense of closure in this film however, as the fate of the main characters was left quite unclear. I suppose we're expected to go with "The good Lord will work it out" as an explanation, but something about the ending gives me the feeling that the good guys did *not* win out, which may again have something to do with Anton Lavey being around. At least it's not "Look What's Happened to Rosemary's Baby", or worst still, "The Touch of Satan"! As horror films go, I give it a 3 out of 10. But as 1970's Satan movies go, I give it an 8 out of 10. It really is a matter of context.
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Raindrops keep melting down my head …
Coventry28 May 2007
Say whatever you want about "The Devil's Rain", but it undeniable has one of the coolest and absolute creepiest opening credit sequences in the history of horror cinema! Whilst the camera extendedly shows freaky images of Hieronymus Bosch's grim paintings, agonizing screams of people that are seemingly trapped somewhere can be heard. They're screaming: "Let me out of here" and those same voices play an important part later in the film as well. The eerie images, mixed with the even eerier screams, result in a truly scary intro and it sets a very promising & atmospheric tone. Too bad the film continues after the credits and the quality level immediately sinks and keeps on sinking until the end credits roll over the screen. "The Devil's Rain" probably has the most incoherent and muddled script any director ever had to work with. Poor Robert Fuest! None of the characters are properly introduced; we're literally dropped in the middle of satanic events and it's up to each viewer's personal intelligence to figure out the connection between the different players, their backgrounds and whether or not they're good or evil. For a good half hour, we're presented to a series of grotesque and cheesy events that don't make the slightest bit of sense, but hey, at least they're entertaining. Ernest Borgnine is the leader of a devil-worshiping coven and he's desperately trying to recover a book that is in the hands of the Preston family since more than 300 years. Mark Preston (William Shatner) refuses to hand over the mysterious book and thus evil Borgnine takes possession of his eyes and soul. Meanwhile, Mark's younger brother Tom (Tom Skerritt) comes to the rescue and he tries to defeat the forces of Satan by stealing the Devil's Rain; a glass urn containing the restless souls of all the people who joined the cult during the past 300 years. An overlong flashback – taking us back to a genuine 17th Century witch burning - finally explains the motivations and fury of each and every character, but the plot only gets dumber and less menacing as it approaches the finale. The story soon plunges into ludicrous occult ceremonies where Borgnine transforms into a hideous goat (!) and particularly the infamous climax needs to be seen in order to be believed, as it's one gigantic slimy and gooey melting-orgy. The make-up effects are pretty damn amusing and over-the-top disgusting, especially when the eyeless faces start turning into sticky puddles of green hodgepodge. "The Devil's Rain" has an impressive cast and one can't help but wonder how all these stars ended up in a trash-masterwork like this. Their performances, however, range from uninterested (Eddie Albert) to downright hammy (Tom Skerritt) and Ernest Borgnine overacts like as if he's possessed by the devil for real. Apparently, Anton LaVey, the founder and high-priest of the actual Church of Satan, made some extra money as the 'technical adviser' of the film. What did he do? Give instructions on how to sacrifice virgins to Satan without spilling too much blood on your garment? Advise Borgnine how to comb over his hair in order to look more like a goat? Either way you look at it, "The Devil's Rain" is an incredibly strange and curious little film. Even in its decade of release, when horror was an experimental genre and boundaries kept on getting crossed, "The Devil's Rain" is somewhat of an outsider. I strongly suggest every open-minded horror fanatic to check it out, if only to experience suspense, laughter, disbelief and utter camp all in one film!
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The Devil's Rain (1975) **1/2
JoeKarlosi27 September 2007
This has got to be one of the strangest movies ever made, yet somehow I still find myself revisiting it at least once a year despite the fact that it's seriously flawed. I will attempt to explain why that is. Let's begin with trying to decipher some sort of "plot" out of this mess: From what I can surmise here after multiple viewings, Mark Preston (William Shatner) has possession of an important book which has been hidden by the Preston family for some 300 years. It contains signatures written in blood of the scores of people who have sold their souls to the devil over the years. There is also an immortal disciple of Satan named Jonathan Corbis (Ernest Borgnine) who has spanned these centuries terrorizing the Prestons in a failed attempt to obtain the book, which is required to deliver these souls to Lucifer. In the meantime, the tortured victims wait and moan in eternal limbo trapped inside a large vessel called "The Devil's Rain" until Corbis can locate the book he seeks. Corbis has succeeded in seizing Mark and his mother (Ida Lupino) and turning them into brainwashed cult members, and it's up to Tom Preston (Tom Skerrit) and Dr. Samuel Richards (GREEN ACRES' own Eddie Albert, looking totally lost) to join forces in foiling Corbis' plan.

At least that's what I think is going on. Director Robert Fuest (1970's WUTHERING HEIGHTS, the two DR. PHIBES films) does a horrible job in trying to tell a linear story, and there are more holes in the plot here than you would find on 42nd Street back in the 1970's. Just about everything going on in this movie may be pointed out as not being adequately explained. And yet -- and yet -- the film is still not without some things to enjoy for fans of cheesy horror... It's a treat getting to watch Ernest Borgnine (Marty himself) really getting into his diabolical role, and it's an added kick seeing him in monster makeup whenever he summons up a goat-demon from the pits of hell, emerging with huge ram horns! Eddie Albert seems to be as confused as we are, and this is most obvious in an outside sequence late in the film where he and Skerrit are arguing over the meaning of The Devil's Rain; it's hilarious watching them stepping over each other's words, and you get the impression they just winged all their dialogue for that scene. William Shatner gets his moments to shine where he goes over the top as we've come to love from him ("Corbissss!!!! Goddamn you!!!"). You also gotta love seeing Ida Lupino sink further in her later years to the point of walking around as a mindless zombie with her eyeballs blackened out, which is the preferred manner of initiation for the souls of Satan. And then there is John Travolta -- this was his first movie, but it's nearly impossible to spot him as one of the black-eyed cultists in his few very brief appearances. Real-life member of the Church of Satan, Anton LaVey, was an "adviser" on the film, and appears wearing a mask as one of the devil's servants.

The climax of the movie is worth waiting for, and it was touted highly as the main selling point back in its day... we get to see the results of The Devil's Rain on the minions of cult worshipers when the skies open up and pour down upon them. There are some good effects there, even if it's obvious how the sequence was being milked for all it's worth. THE DEVIL'S RAIN is not a good movie, but all the same it's one of those weird horror pictures that may appeal to fans of "so bad they're good" flicks. **1/2 out of ****
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Essential viewing for trash fans!
Infofreak6 April 2002
In mainstream American 1970s horror land 'The Devil's Rain' lies half way between the silly but still pretty good chills of 'The Car' or 'The Sentinel' and the so bad it's hilarious fun of 'The Eyes Of Lara Mars'. The main attraction here is the cast of familiar TV faces, which includes William Shatner and Tom Skerritt as brothers (which along with the presence of Joan Prather, makes this a 'Big Bad Mama' reunion!), Ernest Borgnine as a leering Satanic cult leader, 'Green Acres' Eddie Albert, veteran Ida Lupino, and a blink and you'll miss it cameo from a pre-superstar John Travolta. The plot concerns a much sought after book and devil worship, but really who cares? Sit back and enjoy the (unintentional) laughs, some classic emoting from Shatner, and the overly long face-melting scenes, which according to the video box is "absolutely the most incredible ending of any motion picture"! And dig that Borgnine goat face!
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Two reasons to see this: William Shatner and John Travolta
lambiepie-218 February 2003
This is what I call a fun film. It's so bad, its good.

It's not supposed to be funny, but you cannot help but laugh. William Shatner kicks royal butt in this for his performance is the funniest...well, I'll be honest, he's running neck and neck with Ernest Borgnine. Early, early performance of John Travolta is to die for. This is a film that you rent, get a big bowl of buttered popcorn with lots of water/soda and just enjoy it for schlock's sake. You know this film was about nothing but a paycheck for everyone in it.

But I must give credit where credit is due. I love watching the 'melting' scene. Loads of fun. This is good entertainment from the "who green lighted this mess?" area of your brain. This was no "The Exorcist" but remember around this time, everyone wanted to do a "devil" film. This one is just funny and in a not supposed to be funny way!
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Satanic Fun
pery-125 May 2004
Lots of fun, although sometimes confusing. The book explains it better. Notable for having both the High Priest and High Priestess of the Church of Satan - Anton and Diane LaVey, in bit parts. Their inclusion gives a true Satanic presence to this movie - they wrote that humor is important to Satanists. Anton was technical advisor, and you can see many of his influences, such as the trapezoid designs and the Satanic chants. Some of the Satanic designs used are beautiful and interesting. It was filmed in Durango, Mexico. The filming has interesting stories to it, such as Anton LaVey trying to teach chants to extras who did not speak English. As was his custom, Shatner did nothing to make friends with the cast, and one suspects they symbolically enjoyed his character's treatment in the film. Anyone who likes good old sci fi and horror or camp, should love this film.
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Undeservedly maligned
Darius Klein28 July 2009
"The Devil's Rain" was released in 1975 to overwhelmingly negative reviews - but then, aren't reviewers usually hostile to low-budget horror flicks? There's no denying that the plot is incoherent, but in this case I think that the "incoherence" actually works, better allowing the viewer to enjoy the unsettling atmosphere and spectacularly disgusting imagery which are the highlights of this film (the nod to H. Bosch at the opening is apropos). An added bonus, as many have already pointed out, is the all-star cast: Shatner, Borgnine and Ida Lupino (one of my favorites) all ham it up with entertaining results. I was pleased to see from the reviews on this site that there are actually many fans of this unique and strangely poetic film, and that the elitist reviewers have not had the final say.
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Devil worship, witchcraft and diabolic possession well made by Rober Fuest
ma-cortes22 July 2008
Two good brothers,(first William Shatner and after Tom Skerritt) and the evil warlock Corvus(Ernest Borgnine) battle each other in order to take a diabolic book in possession by damned family Preston. Tom Preston(Tom Skerritt) helped by a doctor(Eddie Albert) front for satanic cult leader Corvus who need blood sacrifices and he's willing to fight for his life against the masked, robed and blinded cult members. Corvus in a desperate bid to take over the ancient book, orders his minions to kidnap the Tom Preston's wife(Prather). Only one man can prevent the hellmaster from succeeding, though may be too late.

The picture displays lots of creepy moments. Bizarre, tense, controversial and with eerie scenes about practices of devil worship and satanism ritual .Production values and set design are highlighted by the usual cool scenarios, as exterior in a wood village, as colorful interior. Make-up and visual effects provide some much needed jolts. Some of the effects are little dated now, but director Robert Fuest builds intrigue and tension through a stately pace. Top-notch casting, in this otherwise average production. Ernerst Borgnine as Corvus relishes his showy role. Borgnine's acting, assisted by a witchcraft expert, is one of his strongest in an unconventionally nasty role. Furthermore, extraordinary secondary casting, Keenan Wynn as the sheriff, Ida Lupino as Mrs Preston and John Travolta film debut. Film editing by Michael Khan, Spielberg's usual editor. Rare musical score and dark and luxurious cinematography by Alex Philips Jr.

The picture is professionally directed and gruesomely related by Robert Fuest. He's a nice horror movies filmmaker, such as proved in 'Abominable Dr Phibes(71) and Dr Phibes rises again'(72); 'Soon the darkness and Final programme' among them. Rating : Passable and acceptable. The tale will like to horror pictures enthusiastic and William Shatner fans.
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Help me.. get me out of here..
diezman6 January 2003
I remember seeing this movie in a theatre when I was a kid back in the 70s. It was a very scary experience! from the opening credits with the Bosch paintings and the wailing tormented me.. get me out of here.. to the end I was glued to the screen. A great cast including Ernest Borgnine, John Travolta (in a bit part) and Tom Skeritt

The Devil's Rain was released on DVD format. The picture and sound quality are both outstanding. It still has the same creepy effect on me as it did almost 30 years ago.

What I remember mostly about this movie was the walk home in the dark when it was over. The 2 miles to my house felt like 10!
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Creepy and grotesquely haunting
D. Packard13 July 1999
This is a prime example of the type of film that haunted and disturbed me greatly when I saw it as a child. I had nightmares about a demonic Ernest Borgnine for months. Viewing it now I find it still holds up relatively well as a fairly well done 'satanic 70's horror' escapade. A disturbing nightmare of imagery and sound to invade your dreams...forever. And very impressive make-up Fx for the time. Who else grew up in the 70's haunted by the strange and dreamy horror films of the time? How does that "shape" childhood? I suppose one is influenced by whatever time they grew up in, but there was no other time like the 70's.
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"Who calls me from out of the pit?"
Scott LeBrun5 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
In this memorably silly and incredibly entertaining rural horror flick, a family named the Prestons must do battle with a Satan-worshipping villain, Jonathan Corbis (Ernest Borgnine). Mark Preston (William Shatner) and his brother Tom (Tom Skerritt) are among those with the balls to face this minion of the Devil. What Corbis really wants is to lay his infernal hands on a very important book.

Robert Fuest ("The Abominable Dr. Phibes", "The Final Programme") directs this insane, sometimes uproarious feature. The script, credited to Gabe Essoe, James Ashton, and Gerald Hopman, is pure nonsense. One truly must approach this after checking their brain at the door. The film has a very effective pace, as it hits the ground running and starts unleashing its horrors within the first few minutes.

There is some excellent atmosphere to enjoy, and much striking desert imagery photographed in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The overcast skies in early scenes merely add to the mood. Al De Lory composed the suitable music score; Alex Phillips Jr. did the lighting. The action takes place in some very desolate environments.

The acting is deliciously hammy from Borgnine and Shatner. Borgnine in particular has rarely been as much fun as he is here...especially when he's covered in goat's head makeup for much of the last half hour. The slumming big name cast also includes a typically amusing Keenan Wynn as a sheriff, Ida Lupino as the Preston matriarch, and Eddie Albert as Dr. Samuel Richards. Joan Prather plays Skerritts' wife, Claudio Brook appears in the stylish flashback sequence as a crusading priest, Lisa Todd is cast as a temptress, and that's none other than John Travolta making his film debut as one of Corbis's many disciples. (His dialogue basically consists of "Blasphemer!").

The extremely protracted ending is the unqualified highlight. Most of the cast melts when the title element is unleashed. Apparently in this story selling your soul to the Devil turns your body into wax. Who knew?

"The Devil's Rain" is trashy, and stupid, but for certain tastes, a Hell of a lot of fun.

Eight out of 10.
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Rain, Rain...Go Away.
blh_texas22 November 2004
Volumes could be written about what this film lacks; plot, compelling diologue, catharsis, acting... But a quick synopsis of what the film does have should dissuade anyone wishing to view a real horror film from watching this wet sock of a movie.

Let's start with Ernest Borgnine. Yes, that lovable, teddy-bear of a man who has charmed us in TV's McChale's Navy, and Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch. When we first meet Borgnine's character, he's standing alone on the streets of a ghost town looking every bit the part of a western rancher. But before the film's over we see him dressed in the dark robes of a satanic priest, and in an unflattering spandex costume that makes him come off as an obese hermaphroditic version of Wonder Woman. Several times in the film, roused into a charismatic fever by his Satan-sermons, Ernie ads the final touch: he turns into a goat.

Then there's William Shatner. Dressed like an itinerant farm laborer in the most Hee-Hawish straw hat you ever saw, he shows up with a .45 in one hand and a sacred amulet in another, projecting a "get behind me, Satan" attitude. He lasts about five minutes. But in that time he manages to shoot a few of Ernest's goons (which apparently causes them to leak rainbow sherbet), get tied to a cross, branded like a cow, share a passionate kiss -tongue included- with his own mother, and get stuffed into a what looks like an old watermelon full of lost souls.

Then Tom Skerrit comes in with his girlfriend and Eddy 'GGGgrrrreeeeennnn Acres Is The Place To Be!' Albert. Together, they cause some more sherbet leaks, then break the watermelon. This does two things. It causes Borgnine to to yell, "SEIZE THEM!", which a high priest of Satan has to say at least once in such a movie. It also causes a cold front to inexplicably appear in that little Arizona ghost-town. It rains, and all the Satan-goons melt. Whether they melted because they are Goons-of-Hell deprived of their holy watermelon, or just because they live in Arizona and are unused to precipitation is not explained.

The movie ends with Tom Skerrit lovingly embracing, and crying on the shoulder of, Earnest Borgnine. If only Borgnine had been a goat in that scene, the movie would be priceless.
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Well it had one hell of a finish...
Aaron137524 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Most of the movie is sadly rather underdone. Seems they had a somewhat interesting concept and just rushed it to the finish line. I am guessing they thought of the ending first and wrote a bunch of filler to get to said ending. So what do we get for most of the film? A rather good cast doing nothing more than going out to the abandoned town and getting themselves kidnapped by the evil cult led by Ernest Borgainine in a rather good over the top performance. You know a movie is in trouble when it seems they are rushing things so no startling revelations here, only lets rush to the cool ending. Which is the highlight of the film, a rain that comes down and washes the cult members away, rather good effects, especially for the time, but this does not make up for the rest of the film. Which leads to a question I have, why are movies about Satan and his cults usually so bloody boring or bad for the most part? You would think these movies would be some of the most gory and scary the horror genre had to offer, but usually it falls flat. Still if you do watch the movie look out for the many stars who apparently had nothing else better to do.
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Cartoony Satan Worshippers = Fun Times!
spacemonkey_fg3 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Title: The Devils Rain

Director: Robert Fuest

Cast: Ernest Borgnine, Tom Skerrit, William Shatner, John Travolta

Review: I had heard a few things about The Devils Rain, among them was that this was John Travoltas first movie and that William Shatner (aka Captain Kirk) was in it. But first and foremost I thought that the fact that the used a "high priest of the church of Satan" as a technical adviser for the film just really peeked my curiosity for this film.

The story is about a satanist cult lead by a man named Corbis. Hes lost a book that has all the names of the people that he has turned into satanist and he needs it to send their souls to hell, but low and behold. William Shatners family has the book and he doesn't want to give it back. "I wont give a devil man what he wants!" I must say that this movie was very fun to watch. It has many things that make it an entertaining film. Ill start by the performances. Ernest Borgnine as Corbis is positively evil! But at the same time he is funny. I don't know how to put it but the performance he delivered was both cheesy and good at the same time. He looks kind of funny with his red hooded garments and his beer belly yelling all sorts of sacrilegious phrases. But at the same time he was very evil when push came to shove. He is one of the coolest things of the movie. Then there's Shatner who is always a hoot! He over acted many times as well and spoke his words as if he was aboard the ss enterprise. It was as if they chose these two really cheesy actors and put em together on the same film to see if they could bring up their mega cheese factor higher. Well Ill tell ya, they achieved it and Ill be darned if it wasn't fun to watch. The rest of the cast was nothing special, Tom Skerrit and the rest of the cast were just blurting out their lines, but didn't do too bad of a job.

And for those of you holding their breath to catch Travolta in his first film role...well don't hold on for too long cause you just might miss it. He is virtually unrecognizable under the satanic black hoods and make up. Honestly, the only way I recognized him was by looking at the dimple in his chin.

The atmosphere in the movie is excellent. Right from the first opening minutes you are treated to an opening sequence that will certainly pull you in! You are right smack in the middle of a lightning storm with buckets and buckets of rain falling and the wind blowing like a madman. It just pulled me in right away and I loved that! Then there's the spooky ghost town in which the satanist do their worshiping. It added a nice feeling of desolation and loneliness. A ripe old place for Satan mongers to fester in! Then there's the make up effects. With a movie boasting to have "the most incredible ending on any motion picture ever!" well you know its got to be something special. And special it was. Not mindblowingly good special, but special enough to liven up my Saturday night. The gooey, messy, wet and slimy ending was worth the wait and certainly lives up to its title. What I really liked about that gooey Satan worshipers melting in the rain finale was that it lasted a long time! They really took their time to show these devil bastards melting in every which way they could possibly think of. Cool in deed.

The only negative side to this film was the cheesy dialog. I mean come on dudes! Didn't they use a high priest of the church of Satan to write this thing? Yet the whole thing comes off as a phony, cartoonish version of devil worshiping. Even the devil himself is a cartoon on this one! Complete with goat horns and all! I was expecting something a bit more serious from a movie that boasted having a high priest of the church of Satan helping them along the way. But no, we get the cartoon version of what satanism is like. Now that I think of it....they always do that in movies. But this is not to say that the movie wasn't was oodles of fun. Just not real.

In conclusion, this was a fun movie with lots of cool little things to keep you interested, gooey slimy fx, cheesy story and acting and satanism (thats always an eye opener!). Just don't take it too seriously, cause its not that type of movie and anyway the minute shatner starts saying his dialog you'll think his going to beam Satan up to the enterprise or something.

Rating: 3 out of 5
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Fast-moving slice of black magic horror
Leofwine_draca20 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
THE DEVIL'S RAIN is a fine little devil worship horror yarn from '70s America which would go nicely in a double bill with the equally good RACE WITH THE DEVIL, which came out in the same year. There's plenty of similarities between the two movies, but while the other has the slight edge this is still a very good movie. What I liked most about this one is that it's completely unconventional: most movies of this era take a gradual build-up approach, like that seen in ROSEMARY'S BABY, where the movie begins with a depiction of normal, everyday life before gradually stripping away the layers and descending into hell. Not so here: from the start we're in the thick of black magic chaos, as an innocent man turns into a rumpy, rain-sodden mess for no apparent reason and a house is trashed by evil forces.

There's little story to this, other than that seen in a flashback, and the film doesn't need it, either. It's set out in the middle of a bleak desert wasteland, brought to life with excellent landscape photography. A dwindling number of 'good guys' are set against an endless number of evil cult members who have extremely creepy, no-eye makeup. The battle for power ebbs and flows between the two factions until a twist ending which is well remembered as the film's highlight.

Another great asset is the cast of B-movie notables. William Shatner's here, doing some of his finest emoting, and he shares heroic duties with Tom Skerritt, who's as well used here as he was in ALIEN. You have Ernest Borgnine overacting as the leader of the devil cult, sometimes turning into a goatish devil incarnate although sadly the cheesy goat makeup isn't up to the job and this is the one failing of the movie. There are lots of old-timers, too: Keenan Wynn in a cameo as the Sheriff; Woodrow Chambliss as the loyal retainer; Ida Lupino; good old Eddie Albert is a good guy as well. An unrecognisable John Travolta appears in his first movie role, a year before CARRIE, and even real-life Satanist Anton Lavey and his missus pop up for cameos. Claudio Brook, who was a staple of Mexican horror cinema, turns up as a preacher.

The film has plenty of action and moves at an astounding pace, but there's no lack of atmosphere, either. British director Robert Fuest had a good eye for the bizarre (he did the two DR PHIBES flicks) and he uses it to an advantage here. The film is chiefly remembered for its grisly climax, in which all of the bad guys are subjected to the titular phenomenon and end up melting thanks to some thoroughly effective special effects. No doubt the people who made THE INCREDIBLE MELTING MAN were inspired to do so after watching this flick, and good on them, I say.
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An all-star Satanic horror oddity.
BA_Harrison13 July 2012
Two of the most acclaimed occult horror films of the 1970s—William Friedkin's notorious shocker The Exorcist and Richard Donner's biblical prophecy classic The Omen—succeeded in terrifying audiences by treating their supernatural subject matter with absolute realism. For his 1975 Satanic horror The Devil's Rain, Robert Fuest (director of the absurdly enjoyable Dr. Phibes movies) employed Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan, as technical adviser, presumably to lend his film a similar sense of credibility and level of authenticity.

Despite this, however, Fuest still managed to turn out one hell of a cheesy film, one rife with trite occult stereotypes and embarrassingly creaky old-school horror trappings. Hooded eyeless acolytes, a raging thunder storm, an ancient tome written in blood, a centuries old curse, a deserted church in a ghost town decorated with Satanic symbology: it's all there, along with tinted flashbacks to 'ye olde days' and a demon with curly horns and a goat-like face.

For audiences still reeling from Linda Blair's rotating head, this approach proved less than thrilling, but for today's cult movie fans, for whom a high level of kitsch can only be considered a bonus, Fuest's seriously daft slice of diabolical horror should still prove a reasonably entertaining oddity. The Devil's Rain is by no means a good film, but it conjures up a strange hallucinatory atmosphere (largely due to the sheer incoherence of the script), offers some impressively gloopy special effects during the film's melt-tastic finalé, and delivers plenty of unintentional hilarity at the expense of its usually reliable cast (any film that features John Travolta in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it role as a blind devil worshipper, sees Ernest Borgnine sporting hilarious demonic makeup, and has William Shatner reciting the Lord's prayer in his trademark staccato style has surely got to be worth a look for curiosity's sake).
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great if you like cheese
Rael OneCloud3 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I've always recommended this movie to people who like bad horror flicks. Both Shatner and Borgnine are at their overacting best in this as they debate good and evil, while the black robed Satanists just sit around and chant; really, have you ever seen evil be so devout and boring? The highlight is Borgnine as a goat. The melty effects are fun and cheesy too. It's clear the director had just gotten/seen this effect and decided to go to town with it. As someone said earlier, Travolta debuting is just plain weird, and the fact that Anton LaVey hisself has a cameo just makes this a cheesy scream queen classic. Buy/rent or borrow this and have a laugh!
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What a wet blanket....
Mister-619 July 2000
Ah, Bryanston Pictures - the same eclectic group of geniuses what brung us various chop-socky flicks, a couple of British comedies, Andy Warhol's ideas of horror (his Frankenstein and Dracula movies) and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre".

And now, here we have "The Devil's Rain". Break out the holy water - you'll need it.

Seems the devil worshippers in Rural Backwoods USA have a tough time of it when they are beset by Tom Skerritt and Eddie Albert, who vow to destroy them after Satan-izing innocent people they hold dear - who happen to include William Shatner and Ida Lupino....

WHAT??! Yes, it's true, all those names as well as Keenan Wynn, Lisa Todd (one of the original honeys on "Hee-Haw") and Vinnie Barbarino hisself, John Travolta. TIDBIT - this was one of Travolta's first gigs, and he is barely recognizable under that makeup; and he has all of one line, albeit a memorable one.

Oh, but I forgot to mention Ernest Borgnine! Yep, Quentin McHale...Marty...the tough sergeant of "From Here to Eternity"...same one. He plays a priest who sprouts horns and a goat's face every so often. And there's satanic worshipping, pagan rites, eternal damnation, inverted crosses, pentagrams, the whole nine yards. Then comes the rain, when....

But if you've read this far, wanting to know what happens, you deserve to watch this dirge and find out what happens yourself. As for me, I watched the whole thing and was sorry I did.

This whole mess is overblown, ridiculous and portrays everybody (ESPECIALLY the satan worshippers) as world-class round-trip-ticket buffoons; to take a line from MST3K, these are the kind of people who would lick the frozen flag pole TWICE.

"The Devil's Rain" is bad. Very bad. Bad like old cheese. Bad like morning breath after a night of eating garlic. Bad in every sense of the word and a few senses that haven't been invented yet. Even when a "surprise" ending isn't all that much of a surprise, you know you're watching something bad.

Have I made my point? GOOD.

No stars, not a one. And why not; what did "The Devil's Rain" do for me?

TIDBIT #2 - Anton LaVey, satan worshipper/occult specialist, plays the "High Priest" of this cult. Gee, I'll bet the suits all congratulated themselves on THAT original bit of casting.
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Interesting premise turns somewhat laughable.
Lucien Lessard10 November 2010
A curse hovers over the Preston family for generations. They betrayed their former cult leader Satanic priest John Corbis (Oscar-Winner:Ernest Borgnine). Corbis wants the Satanic book that holds great power. Mrs. Preston (The late Ida Lupino) is kidnapped by Corbis' followers. Now, it is up to Mark Preston (William Snatner) is to find his kidnapped mother and the followers lives in a Ghost Town in the desert. But these cult followers tricked Mark and they turned his mother into one of Corbis' followers. While Mark keeps the book hidden from Corbis. Now Mark's brother Tom (Tom Skerritt) and his wife (Joan Prather) are searching for his brother and his mother along with Dr. Sam Richards (The late Eddie Albert), a psychic researcher. While these satanists truly want the book. Tom has to find a way to his family before it is too late.

Directed by Robert Fuest (And Soon the Darkness) made an offbeat approach to a story about Satanists. At times, "The Devil's Rain" is effective at times but also, it has some moments of unintentional laughter. Especially when Satan appears in his goat-like appearance. Some strong performances from Borgnine, Snatner and Skerritt makes this movie watchable. The movie does have good make-up effects and it is well shot in Widescreen by Alex Phillips Jr. (Born in East L.A., Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia). But the problem with "The Devil's Rain", the premise is not coherent enough and this picture could have been really scary.

But still, it is fairly entertaining with an early-role for John Travolta in a bit part. As one Australian film critic called "The Devil's Rain", "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 popularize". That what's pretty sums it's all for "The Devil's Rain". Todd-AO 35. (*** ½/*****).
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Terrific cast drowns in waxy ooze, glub-glub-glub
moonspinner5528 September 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Poor William Shatner gets the worst of it. While attempting to save his family from a devil cult in the desert, Shatner is captured and tortured in excruciating scenes of ineptitude. Ernest Borgnine (looking handsomely sinister and--more surprisingly--completely at ease in this B-grade demon western) is appropriately over-the-top as the head demon (or is he the Devil?), Ida Lupino has some nice moments as an elderly lady who gets bewitched, and John Travolta shows up in a couple of scenes as a coven member. Most of the cast melts at the end, which is something to see, but what about the rest of this thing? It's poorly-written and badly-directed, but strictly on a guilty-pleasure level it provides some unintentional amusement. *1/2 from ****
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"Oh, Bloody Hell."
nycritic10 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Eddie Albert must have read my mind when he asks Tom Skerritt in one scene where they come into a ghost town, "The Devil's Rain? That's a new one." I myself had never heard of such nonsense -- maybe because as far as I know, there is no such thing and the only earthbound element that the Devil is associated with is the "fire and brimstone" of dark, Miltonesque poems and the well-known "Garden of Earthly Delights" of Hieronymous Bosch, featured in the opening titles. But this is what happens when you make a smashing success like "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Exorcist." All of the waste product tries to jump in on the bandwagon and see what profit they can make by luring unsuspecting fools into the theatre and showing them an exploitation film about Satanists -- which is all this movie is, anyway.

So let's see what we have here. A plot to gain control of a book and a battle between the Devil himself (channeled, apparently, through the body of John Corbis) and the Preston family. First the father goes, melting into a soft bubbling goo. Then the mother -- played by an unrecognizable, tired-looking Ida Lupino -- also is forced to join the cult and put some cheap-looking eye-patches that are supposed to make her eyes black. Then it becomes William Shatner's turn, and he goes, but without a fight. Finally, it's up to Tom Skerritt and Eddie Albert to see if they can have a hand in winning this battle and going home with some really cool prizes, to which we get to the only character who does basically nothing but have a lame vision and scream mindlessly at the end: Skerritt's wife.

A terrifically lazy story that was, apparently, written on autopilot. THE DEVIL'S RAIN is a total bore and as horror as Edgar Allan Poe is screwball comedy, but there it is, existing in the time period of the height of the horror genre, featuring a hammy performance from Ernest "Marty" Borgnine, a blink and miss appearance of John Travolta as he yells "Blasphemer! Blasphemer!" and shows off his notorious cleft chin, and the melting sequence, which goes on and on and on into the void, flanked with sounds of moaning and lots of writhing around. It could be a teeny bit redeemable if it weren't for the flat-out unbelievable final scene. Oh, bloody hell.
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nicely filmed , with a 'jump out of your chair' ending.
CatTales6 June 2003
One of those films where the parts are greater than the whole thing. The wide-screen version displays the excellent scene compositions and creative directing, and the musical soundtrack and sound effects are also excellent. The visual effects are also generally very good - it's quite seamless when a character goes from melting actor to melting dummy. The soul bottle (portable TV) is a nice touch, and the acting throughout is fine. But there are story problems: just what is the devil's rain? Why do the eyeless people melt - because their souls are promised to the devil and the bodies are thus corrupt? Why doesn't someone just burn the book of condemned souls? Unfortunately the film's mythos aren't explained. Also disappointing is a subplot about ESP which is only used for backstory exposition. The introductory scene of the brother, wife and Eddie Albert seems out-of-place, and Eddie especially seems like a loose plot end. The "eyeless"(souless) makeup would have been improved by using black contact lens instead of black felt and padded face, and the climactic melting scene goes on too long. Despite these faults, the film's merits carry the viewer along to the wonderfully downbeat ending (apparently the devil has more than one soul bottle in his soul cellar), which alone is worth the price of admission. Having just watched Polanski's mainstream "Ninth Gate," this was easily the better.
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The Devil's Rain
Scarecrow-8828 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Jonathan Corbis(Ernest Borgnine, who REALLY gets into character for this role)is a goat demon minister of Satan who wishes to retrieve a long lost book containing names of those who gave their souls to Lord Lucifer. The ancestry of Preston stole the book hiding it from the minister so that the deed of sending souls to hell wouldn't be fulfilled. Contained in a massive bottle with a goat's head emblem contains "The Devil's Rain" needed intact for the official ceremony to commence. If the bottle is shattered, a down pouring of rain will melt the bodies of those under Corbis' spell releasing them from the contract of hell but condemning them to a state of eternal limbo.

Corbis has located the Preston family through the father who melts away into a wax form after informing his wife(Ida Lupino, mostly under eyeless make-up when kidnapped and turned by Corbis)and son Mark(William Shatner)that the minister desires his book back. Mark will seek Corbis in a showdown of faith so that he could possible rescue his mother and end the long pursuit of his family. Mark unfortunately doesn't know exactly how powerful Corbis is losing the battle, but once captured tries his hardest to resist the strength of the goat demon after grueling torture..yet, something left of Mark remains even after Corbis turns him against his will. The last remaining Preston, Tom(Tom Skerritt)will travel home with primitive clairvoyant Julie(Joan Prather)to find his missing family & come in contact in a climactic struggle with Corbis and his eye-less followers. When Julie is kidnapped, Tom will need assistance of his colleague in the research of brain activity, Dr. Sam Richards(Eddie Albert, wasted)against a foe they may be ill-prepared to defeat. It may come down to Mark(..if anything of him remains after the ceremony that changed him into a follower of Corbis) and the large bulb containing the Devil's Rain in order for Corbis' reign of terror to end.

Wacky premise and over-the-top camp performances make this an instant cult-classic. The cast which includes Keenan Wynn as a non-believing sheriff who has no answers for Tom regarding his missing family(..and doesn't understand why Tom is going to some ghost town Southwest looking for Mark)& John Travolta as an eye-less follower who cries "Blasphemer!" when he spots a black-cloaked Tom playing impostor during Mark's "conversion" ceremony(..he's also the one responsible for snatching the book of names Tom and Sam accidentally leave on the alter of the Satan-worshiping church handing it back to his minister). The show-stopping finale featuring stunning "melting" effects rescues this from being a complete turkey. This is Borgnine's show and he seemingly relishes his role as the evil minister for Satan.
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Rain of Terror
sol28 October 2004
***SPOILERS*** For some 300 years Satan's minister on earth Jonathan Corbis, Ernest Borgnine,has been roaming the earth trying to recover "The Book". A book with the names, recoded in blood, by those he got to give their souls away to Satan by having them sign their names in it. The book was stolen from Corbis by the wife of Martin Fyffe Aaronessa, Erika Carlsson, in old Wellington New England back in 1680. The information from the book, that Aaronessa gave to the town elders, led to the burning at the stake of Corbis as well as Aaronessa and her husband Martin, now thats gratitude for you, and his entire Satanic bunch.

It seems that Corbis not only survived the burning but lived some 300 years since that hot event and has been looking for the descendants of the Fyffe's who he tracked down in the American South-West. The Fyffe's now known as the Preston's have Corbis & Co. trying to get their Sanatic book of names back, that has been handed down from father to son in the Fyffe family, and will do anything to get it back even murder which is nothing new to him. Without "The Book" all the souls that are in it are in a state of limbo and not allowed to join the Evil One in their eternal stay in the hot corner, horror of horrors.

Kidnapping Martin Fyffe's 20th century descendant now known as Mark Preston, William Shatner, and his mom Mrs. Preston, Ida Lupino, and killing his dad Steve, in a total meltdown. Mark drives out to Corbis' headquarters a Satanic church in the ghost town of Redstone only to be captured by the Satanists and turned into, together with his mom, one of "Them". Marks brother Tom, Tom Skrritt, and his wife Julie, Joan Parther, get the news about what happened to his parents and brother and drives down to Redstone to find and rescue them. This leads, together with Tom's good friend and Satanic history and ritual expert professor Dr. Samuel Richard, (Eddie Albert), to the "Devil's Rain" that obliterates the deadly Satanic cult located there.

The movie "The Devil's Rain" has the distinction of having as it's technical adviser the well known Satanist as well as BS artist the late Anton LaVay. LaVay claimed to be a circus loin tamer and SF policeman. LaVay also claimed to know dozens of Hollywood personalities as well as having an affair with actress Jane Mansfield, which was all pure hokum.

After suffering through the movie to get to it's last sequence when we finally have the "The Devil's Rain" pouring down on the evil Satanists. Dr. Richard together with Tom break into the Satanic church and have it out with the Satanists. Mark who by now is one of "Them" is talked into dropping "The Vessel",that looks like a combination of a TV set and gold fish bowl, which contains all the doomed souls in it. It's "The Vessel" that activated the deadly "Devil's Rain turning all the Satanists into a bunch of bobbling blobs of blubber together with MR. Big The Devil himself. Earnest Borgnine was really enjoying himself in the movie since he had a number of customs changes including that of the Evil One with a real cool looking goats outfit as well as being the man in red, his favorite color. The ending of the movie was undoubtedly it's biggest highlight but it just went on and on and on until it lost it's effect and you lost interest in it. Watching the melt-down ending I kept saying out loud to my TV set "All RIGHT ALL RIGHT I GET THE PICTURE ALREADY".
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