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John’s Horror Corner: The Devil’s Rain (1975), a slow-paced classic with melty-goopy grossness, William Shatner and… a young John Travolta?

February 3, 2020

MY CALL: Of all the 70s classics worthy of study, respect and revisiting—this is not among them. I’d only recommend this for the fun of seeing young Shatner and Skerritt, and a few deliciously gross melting people covered in fleshy pancake batter. MORE MOVIES LIKE The Devil’s Rain: For more goopy gross factor flicks, I’d suggest Slime City (1988), Street Trash (1987) and The Blob (1988).

IMDB—“A Satanist cult leader is burnt alive by the local church. He vows to come back to hunt down and enslave every descendant of his congregation, by the power of the book of blood contracts, in which they sold their souls to the devil.”

When I generally think of 1970s horror, I don’t expect much in the way of special effects. But this movie, God bless it, opens with a melty-faced man in the first scene! And for a 70s PG movie, his face is a gooey gross melting mess!

This movie starts so fast it feels like a sequel. Before being reduced to a pile of bubbling gobbledy-gook (a la Gremlins) on Mark Preston’s (William Shatner; A Christmas Horror Story, American Psycho II, Incubus) front porch, he warns that some guy named Corbis (Ernest Borgnine; Escape from New York, Willard, Deadly Blessing) demands what is his: a powerful book! After Mark is captured by Corbis, Tom Preston (Tom Skerritt; Alien, Poltergeist III, Contact) comes seeking his disappeared family and finds himself facing Corbis’ cult alone in a ghost town.

Shatner (above) and a young John Travolta (below; The Fanatic, Carrie).

Those proselytized to Satan have their eyes melted away (a weak special effect) making them look more sinister while carrying out Corbis’ orders. But after the opening scenes of the film, the pacing becomes quite sluggish and the action is exceptionally boring. Such pacing was typical of the 70s, though.

Whereas we started out strong with a gross gory scene, the majority of the film is pretty boring and, honestly, not even effective as a Satanic Panic era flick. The story isn’t interesting either. The movie’s only saving grace is that which essentially lulled me into buying it: a great cast and a single great gore gag (at the beginning and end of the movie). At least the end scene is loaded with slimy melting Satanists with green goop draining from their eyes and their pulsating life-drained corpses. It’s really gross.

And maybe that’s the virtue of director Robert Fuest’s (The Abominable Dr. Phibes, And Soon the Darkness) pink pancake batter movie. This may just be the grossest movie of the 70s.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 3, 2020 11:47 pm

    When Shatner came out with Devil’s Revenge last year I was hoping it was a long-delayed sequel. Sadly it was just an absolutely awful cursed relic film.

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