Monday, September 7, 2009

The Devil's Rain: Final Girl Film Club Review

The Devil's Rain (1975) - STARRING John Travolta!!!! (sort of)

Ernest Borgnine. William Shatner. John Travolta. Hell... even Eddie Arnold. If you throw a bunch of pretty decent to great actors at a film, will that make it a great movie? The Devil's Rain answers this question in torturous detail.

With The Devil's Rain, the first thing I though of when hearing this title is... do they mean 'The Devil's Reign? Like... his authority over his minions or followers? Nope. It's demonic precipitation, hell-hail, a satanic storm. I'm not sure that even though I watched this movie, beginning to end, that I understood it. From the start you sort of get dropped off on the curb of a strange town. You're really not sure what the back story is, but you're sure of one thing. Someone or something is after the Preston family.

Right off the bat, our friend Mark Preston gets tricked into leaving his mother and this fella (still not sure who he is... uncle maybe?) John alone in the house when his father is already missing. This was only a couple minutes after a man literally melts in front of him under this 'Devil's Rain'. As soon as Mark goes back outside there's screaming and shenanigans coming from inside the house. Keeping his cool, he saunters back to the house to find lovable old John strung up by his feet and bleeding from his mouth, crying. Honestly at that point was probably the only time I felt any emotion through this whole fiasco of a movie. I always have a tendency to feel a little sad when old people are hurt and crying. But I got over it quick because of course the thirty seconds it took mark outside allowed someone... something to ransack the shit out of the house and make off with his mother. So now both his mother and father are missing. He learned from the now-melted man earlier that his father is at some abandoned mining town in the desert along with a man named Corbis. Corbis, a devil worshiper from about 300 years ago, is demanding this book full of signatures.

Maybe I'm stupid but I'm not quite sure why this Preston/Fyffe family held on to this book for so long. Oh, that's right, that's because once the Satanists get ahold of it, they can restore this... bottle of Devil's Rain and... something. Honestly I feel like I walked in halfway through the movie. I know I keep saying that, but damn.

Anyway... Mark does pretty well to beat ass all over the satanic church for quite a while, but eventually they get the best of him and he's crucified and branded and eventually becomes black-eyed like the rest of the followers. It's at about this time in the film that Mark's brother Tom gets wind of the fact that his entire family (except John... is he family?) has gone missing. The pieceashit sheriff is quick to dismiss their disappearances as an act of God. Wind probably blew 'em all away and the rain probably desecrated their house all to fuck. So it's obvious to Tom that he's gonna have to man up and get to the bottom of this bullshit. Oh, I should mention that Tom and the good doctor Sam Richards are having what appears to be a press conference about how Tom's wife can use ESP to control her heart and breathing and shit. Then, just as she's talking about it she starts screaming because she foretells some of the destruction of this Devil's Rain.

Anyway, now Tom's on his way to this mining town. He gets there and finds the church where his brother was just crucified empty. So... long story short, he and his wife set off into the desert and pretty much come back empty handed. Something made him decide to go on his own and he sent his wife away with the car. It's not clear where she went but she seems to disappear for a while. When he gets back to the old family homestead he finds that Dr. Richards is there and someone's finally putting their brain to work in this movie. He managed to find this book, find out what all the names in it mean and he's even well aware of this Corbis fellow. So, with this knowledge, they set off to find the devil worshipers and set some shit straight. They make it to the satanic church and they're exploring and everything... and they manage to find what we later discover is the bottle that actually contains/controls the devil's rain and they're about to head out the door with it when they hear the high priest (cowboy Corbis) and his followers chanting their way back to the church. In haste they put the bottle back but leave the book out on the floor. Fast forward a bit, the followers and Corbis return and find the book on the floor and rejoice because now they can restore the unholiness to their Devil's Rain/Bottle device globe-looking thing. Dr. Richards tries to make a run for it and smash that big glass fucker but gets overtaken by some black-eyed followers. He manages, though, through his wit and persuasion, to talk this follower (who has no soul, mind you) to smash this orb of demonic awfulness. What ensues is... you've been waiting for it, I know... The DEVIL'S RAIN! It's just another thunderstorm like the one at the beginning of the movie. And, somehow, smashing that globe/bottle thing cause a hole to be blown into the roof of the church. Now the DEVIL'S RAIN is coming into the DEVIL'S HOUSE! What we see next is an awesome wax-melt-fest. The rain comes in and literally melts all the devil worshipers into nothing, including Corbis himself.

It seems now that, though most of his family is gone, Tom, his wife and the good doctor are all free from the Devil's Rain. All those devil worshiping fucks done melted into the ground. The movie ends with a 'Thank God we made it' embrace of Tom and his wife, and as the camera pans around them we find, much as we suspected, that Tom's wife is actually Corbis... what a disappointing ending.

I'm gonna go ahead and drop this movie into the 'never gonna watch it again' bucket. I don't think that any of the details I might have missed will make up for any of its shortcomings. If you're a fan of horror movies you have to be able to enjoy bad movies... but this one goes beyond my scope of enjoyability. And what the fuck... John Travolta was in the movie for about 30 seconds TOPS... and he had the shitty pre-contact-lenses black-eye-goo over his eyes anyway. Why in the holy mother of fuck would they EVER put his name on the cover/poster for this movie?! I'm glad I'm not an obsessive John Travolta fan and I don't have to have every movie he's ever been in because this one would've been disappointment enough for that reason alone.

I think I'm going to go back and try to finish the Hellraiser movies...

1 comment:

  1. I also was assuming that there would be some sort of word play on 'reign,' but alas, the filmmakers weren't nearly so savvy. They didn't even understand their own plot!