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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

According to article about the film from Fangoria #71, original cut of the movie was 3 hours long but Wes Craven felt that it was too long and talky so it was cut down to 98 minutes. It was then test screened to the audience and their reactions were favorable. See more »

Goofs

At Captain Peytraud's first meeting with Dr. Alan, Peytraud wears his full Haitan Tonton Macoute uniform including a row of several award ribbons. All of these ribbons are in fact United States armed forces decorations - clearly visible are the Vietnam Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, Air Force Overseas Ribbon, and the Army Good Conduct Medal. See more »

Quotes

Dargent Peytraud: Did you know this woman, Marielle Duchamp, is a radical? So was her father. He was... misplaced. Did you know that?
Dennis Alan: No, I didn't know that.
Dargent Peytraud: So is this man... Christophe Durand.
Dennis Alan: Christophe who?
Dargent Peytraud: The man you met in the graveyard.
Dennis Alan: Graveyard? I don't know... what you're talking about.
Dargent Peytraud: You're not a very good liar... 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 »

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 100 Scariest Movie Moments: Part IV: 40-21 (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Llamándote
Performed by A. Charles Dessalines
Courtesy of ADC Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

For horror fans
5 January 2005 | by sparklecatSee all my reviews

Wes Craven's "The Serpent and the Rainbow" is one of the more original and ambitious horror movies to come out of the '80s. Not only does it seek to reconnect cinematic zombies with their voodoo roots, ala classics like "White Zombie", but it also uses the creation of zombies as a political allegory. The film is set in Haiti during the last days of the dictatorship of "Baby Doc" Duvalier.

Based - very loosely one surmises - on a true story, the plot follows Dr. Dennis Alan (Bill Pullman) as he investigates a powder that is said to turn people into zombies. He is aided in his quest by Dr. Marielle Duchamp (Cathy Tyson), who he quickly falls for, and Louie Mozart (Brent Jennings) an expert in voodoo. Dargent Peytraud (the chilling Zakes Mokae) is the snarling villain of the piece, a man with sinister powers both government-sanctioned and supernatural.

The film abounds with creatively gruesome imagery - a man is buried alive, screaming, in a coffin as it fills with blood, a fiendish hand reaches out from a bowl of soup - this is one of those rare films that genuinely makes your skin crawl. Horror fans should not miss it. It's a shame that the film runs just a little longer than it should and becomes disappointingly routine in its final moments.

There is a sense that this movie was aiming a bit higher than it ending up reaching. I can't quite hold that against it.


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