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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.

Director:

Wes Craven

Writers:

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bill Pullman ... Dennis Alan
Cathy Tyson ... Marielle Duchamp
Zakes Mokae ... Dargent Peytraud
Paul Winfield ... Lucien Celine
Brent Jennings ... Louis Mozart
Conrad Roberts ... Christophe
Badja Djola ... Gaston
Theresa Merritt ... Simone
Michael Gough ... Schoonbacher
Paul Guilfoyle ... Andrew Cassedy
Dey Young ... Mrs. Cassedy
Aleta Mitchell Aleta Mitchell ... Celestine
William Newman ... French Missionary Doctor
Jaime Pina Gautier Jaime Pina Gautier ... Julio (as Jaime Piña Gautier)
Evencio Mosquera Slaco Evencio Mosquera Slaco ... Old Shaman
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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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Spanish

Release Date:

5 February 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La serpiente y el arco iris See more »

Filming Locations:

Boston, Massachusetts, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

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

Gross USA:

$19,595,031
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Wes Craven confirmed in interview that unlike some of his previous films, his first cut of the film got R rating without any problems by MPAA. See more »

Goofs

At about the 1:05 mark a computer screen shows the word "specimen" misspelled as "speciman". See more »

Quotes

Dargent Peytraud: [strapped to chair in final battle] What do you want?
Dennis Alan: [answers in revenge] I want to hear you scream!
Dargent Peytraud: No!
Dennis Alan: Yes!
[impales groin with spike]
Dargent Peytraud: AHHHHHHHHH!
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 »

Alternate Versions

UK video and DVD versions are cut by 5 seconds by the BBFC to remove shots of cock-fighting (illegal animal cruelty). See more »

Connections

Featured in The Making of 'The Serpent and the Rainbow' (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Fiere Haiti
Performed by A. Charles Dessalines
Courtesy of ADC Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
There are secrets on this island that we even keep from ourselves
27 August 2005 | by sol-kaySee all my reviews

***SPOILERS*** At the start of the film "The Serpant and the Rainbow" we see Anthropologist Dennis Alan, Paul Pullman,drink a potion made up for him by an old tribal shaman,Evencio Mosquera Slaco. it's that potion that saves Alan's life by guiding him back 200 miles to civilization from the dense and dangerous Amazon jungles but at the same time causes him to have mind-bending hallucinations for the rest of he movie.

Back in Boston Alan is contacted by his old friend Prof. Shoonbacker, Michael Gough,about going to the island nation of Haiti to find out for the pharmaceutical company, Boston Bio Corps, that he represents. Prof. Shoonbacker wants Alan to find out if there's any truth to what is known as Zombies and if so to find out and bring back what kind of drug is used to create them. Alan was to find on that strife-torn island at lot more that he could have ever expected or imagined.

Arriving in Haiti Alan gets in touch with Dr.Maricelle Duchamp, Cathy Tyson, who runs a hospital in Port-Au-Prince and has evidence that Zombie's do exist. Finding Christophe ,Corad Roberts, legally dead yet wondering aimlessly around in a local graveyard convinces Alan that there's something to this myth of the walking dead.

Tracking down the person who can make the drug, that put's people in this suspended animation that's mistaken for death, Louis Mozert, Brent Jennings, Alan is further convinced when Mozert gives the drug to a goat who suddenly dies after eating it and then the next day finds the goat alive and well. Giving Mozart $500.00 for a sample of this "Zombie" drug Alan goes back to the US to have it tested by the laboratories of Boston Bio Corps.

What Alan doesn't know is that he's been put under a spell by the brutal Baby Doc Duvalier's, the Haitian president for life, chief of the dreaded Tonton Macoute Baby Doc's secret police Dargent Peytraud, Zakes Mokae, that cause his mind to go haywire. The only way to break it is for Alan to go back to the island and confront and battle Peytruad at is own game, voodoo, or end up going insane.

"The Sepernt and the Rainbow" is a lot like the movies "I Walked with a Zombie" and "Premature Burial" in that it's more realistic in it's subject matter and tries to keep the supernatural angle in check and not let it overwhelm it's story. There is a drug, like in the movie, that cause simulated death called Tedrodotoxin and at the conclusion of the film were told that no scientific study has been able to figure out just how it works on humans, and animals, in causing their heart to stop yet keep them alive.

Even though there are a number of gruesome scenes in the movie like decapitation's and immolation's as well as cannibalism nothing can compare, or condition you, to the horror of being unknowingly buried alive and not being able to scream in order to prevent that terrifying act from happening and In the film "The Serpent and the Rainbow" it happens twice not once. With all the mind-blowing special effects in "The Serpent and the Rainbow" The most eye-popping scene in the movie has to do with modern day Voodoo Priest Lucien Celine, Paul Winfield, going bananas and literally screwing his head off.

The final sequence in the movie has Alan having it out with the crazed yet cunning Peytraud as the people of Haiti finally revolt and throw Baby Doc out of power and out of the country. Peytraud who had the souls of his victims, who he turned into Zombies over the years, stored in sealed urns break out and then bring the madman of Port-Au-Prince to ultimate and final justice in what has to be the ending to end all endings.


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