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on December 15, 2005
This movie is so awful I love it. Think about it:

1) First of all, SHATNER VS. SATAN!!! Is the world really a better place if either of these guys wins?

2) Ernest Borgnine as the Devil!!! WWWWoah....

3) Anton LeVey, founder of American Satanism, is not only a consultant, but IN THE MOVIE!!!

4) A young Tom Skerrit - the protagonist!!!

5) A veritable who's who of 70's stars backing up the main players.

6) Melting people, devil stuff, death and general destruction!!!

It's a hoot.

John Travolta is usually advertised as being in this movie, and he is-but if you didn't know it going in, you would never pick him out of the group of EYELESS DEMON WORSHIPPERS(!!!).

NOW, you would think that with a plot like this, and this level of tricked-out 70's talent, "Devil's Rain" Couldn't miss.

It sucks.

BUT- its suck is such a complete and perfect suck that it actually UN-SUCKS! Robert Persig said that sanity is round, like the globe, and if your nutty-butt keeps going in one direction you will eventually wind up sane.

This movie proves that theory.

[UPDATE] I've read a few comments of this review, and realised that I had a bit more to add. I LOVE horror films, and especially love horror films from the the 60's and 70's. The films of the 70's in particular had such an incredible level of nihilism, so often at the end of the film the bad guys won. "Devil's Rain" falls squarely into this category. I guess where I'm going with all this is that I love these films; true, they are often dark and depressing and full of silly magical thinking, but they are also novel and entertaining. I guess I was thinking that way when I wrote this review. In other words, if this film is your cup of tea, you already know it...
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VINE VOICEon November 7, 2006
The Devil's Rain is one of those films that brings to mind that old saying, "they sure don't make em like this anymore". It's true, they certainly don't. This movie was one of those satanic 70s horror films, though more unintentionally amusing. It's not an actual "good" movie like Rosemary's Baby, but wildly original and bizarre. If the Exorcist was Jurassic Park, then The Devil's Rain would be The Land That Time Forgot. Most likely to be enjoyed by B movie lovers as well as connoisseurs of classic forgotten horror films. The plot is more or less Tom Skerritt and his brother, William Shatner, carrying out a generations-old battle with a group of satanists in a ghost town. Since 95% of the film is shot in the ghost town, this must have saved money, money probably spent on the actors' salaries and the fx, which look rather impressive considering the time and budget. It's actually hard to believe this film passed with a PG rating. The subject matter alone is at least worth a PG-13, and the country was a tad more religious in the 70s than it is now. Plus add the melting bodies(a scene that may not be a gorefest by today's standards, but makes the melting nazis in Raiders Of the Lost Ark look like child's play), and some eyeless satanists, and it's hard to believe you got a movie that shares the same rating with Flushed Away. The MPAA were much cooler in the 70s, weren't they? Anyhow, the film may not make your top ten, but it sure is a fun ride. By the time you get to the scene where Ernest Borgnine appears from a rather silly explosion in full devil makeup and bellows, "Who calls me from out of the pit?", you know this is a fun film. The picture's been touched up, but still looks a bit rough. As for bonus features, all there really is, is a commentary. Don't be fooled by the Anton Levay Newsreel footage bonus feature. It's literally about 20 seconds long. By the time you light up a smoke and kick back, the damn thing is over with. No big deal though, after all we buy the dvd for the movie, right? Give it a shot, Satan will thank you for it.
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on January 14, 2007
In the wake of "Deep Throat", the Peraino family was swimming in cash and looking for a way to give it that squeaky clean shine. You see, the Perainos were members of the Columbo family, and odd as it seems to those of us raised from the Eighties onward, porno flicks and the storefront loops that preceded them were very much an illegal commodity to produce. So, Louis "Butch" Peraino headed west and decided to open his own production and distribution house called Bryanston Pictures. Bryanston made quite a name for themselves by distributing material that other studios wouldn't touch, like "Andy Warhol's Frankenstein"; the still unavailable-on-DVD "Coonskin"; and their crown jewel, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". A D.A. in Memphis, eager to make a name for himself, indicted Peraino and other members of his family, and soon after their conviction in April 1976, Bryanston's west coast office closed for good. A much more detailed version of this story is contained in Legs McNeil's wonderful book "The Other Hollywood", which I can't recommend strongly enough. So you came here looking for a description of melting satan worshippers and not a history lesson, eh? Well, it's coming, just let me finish ;) The reason for the spiel about Bryanston is that "The Devil's Rain" just happens to be one of the last films they handled. And among such stiff competition as "Frankenstein", probably the strangest.

"TDR" can get confusing, but the basic story goes something like this. 300 years ago, Puritans caught wind that there was a group of the devil's minions in their midst. Now, this was a strange scene, kittys, seeing as how they were lead by Corbis (Ernest Borgnine in Pilgrim garb) and counted among their number William Shatner. Ol' Billy's wife takes Corbis' big book full of blood pledges to Lucifer to the Puritan chief, and bam, we've got a full scale stake burning. Flash forward to the present day, and either Corbis or his descendant (it's never made clear) is after that book, and the Preston family that harbors it. Sounds fun, huh? Well, where else can you see Shatner crucified upside down? Or Borgnine hamming it up in goat makeup? Heck, "The Devil's Rain" cornered the market on melting the enemies of God six years before "Raiders of the Lost Ark"!

Anton LeVay was some sort of consultant to the producers, and even makes a cameo during the black mass. I guess he had a sense of humor. Director Robert Fuest is better known for the two "Dr. Phibes" films he made with Vincent Price, and the critical and commercial reception to this picture relegated him to television movies. Even so, "TDR" had an impact on the history of horror films well beyond what anyone could have imagined at the time. Check out Shatner's face after he becomes an eyeless zombie. Look familiar? That mask would become very, very famous a few years hence.

Time to upgrade, folks. Dark Sky makes the previous DVD edition obsolete. This new transfer from the 35mm negative is stunning by comparison. The extras include an audio commentary with Fuest, which I had a rather difficult time paying attention to, probably because both Fuest and the moderator have very dry, soft British voices. There's a short black-and-white clip of LeVay performing a marriage ceremony, the film's trailer, some production stills and a Dark Sky catalog. Turn off your mind, don't wonder why the Prestons haven't simply destroyed the book, and this might make a good beer and popcorn flick. It's very much of the mid-70s, which may be a good or bad thing depending on your particular perspective.
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on May 25, 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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on February 27, 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 the Latin chants to extras who did not speak English. As has been told elsewhere, 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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on July 12, 2015
Now when I say 4 stars that's 4 stars in the sense that it's so bad it's good, if that makes any sense. What we seem to have here is "Green Acres", "Star Trek", and Tom "I fought the ALIEN and the ALIEN won" Skerrit vs "McHales Navy" and "Welcome Back Kotter". Yes folks it's Eddie Albert, William Shatner (PRICE-LINE-NUH-GOOOOO-SHE-AYYYYYYY-TER!!) and Tom Skerrit fighting the Devil himself, Ernest Borgnine, and his minions including a very young sweathog John Travolta. Witch-burning Salem type flashbacks, gooey-icky melting bodies and Hell-like imagery make this an over the top disgusting delight. Other familiar faces include Keenan Wynn, Joan Prather and Ida Lupino! (Poor Ida musta really needed the cash) This is as good of a print as I have seen.
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on May 25, 2015
I forgot what a fun little movie this is. Great cast for a small budget horror film. William Shatner,The great Ida Lupino and Tom Skerritt just to name a few.Good direction and well used surroundings. This film is fun all around has gore and suspense and like I said wonderful cast. Robert Fuest does a fine job directing. Good transfer and sound. Highly recommend it to B horror fans.
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on July 17, 1999
The Devil's Rain is another one of those neglected, yet enjoyable, seventies horror films. The cast is a camp lovers dream: William Shatner, Ernest Borgnine, Eddie Albert, Tom Skerritt, and, briefly, John Travolta. The film moves along at a break-neck pace as the battle between good and evil unfolds, never stopping for long exposition sequences. This is one of the reasons The Devil's Rain is so much fun, the viewer is immediately thrust into the action and the action never stops. The acting is over the top and it fits in perfectly with the crazy storyline. The make-up effects are decidedly creepy and proffesional in appearance, adding to the fun. The only negative has nothing to do with the film itself, but the DVD transfer. It is way too dark for a film shot mostly in darkness. This should not detract you from seeing this film and where else can you see Ernest Borgnine as Satan?
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on October 19, 1999
From Bob Fuest, the man who gave us Dr. Phibes, comes this campy funfest. A real treat for people like me, who crave the sight of Eddie Albert flexing his heroism. I mean, it's Oliver Douglas versus Satan. Plus, there's the Shat-man and Ida Lupino. The film is one of those engaging, low-budget, Seventies classics. Remember, the era when independent film meant something other than boring slackers griping about their love lives? This will take you back to a time when Sundance was only the name of a cowboy, and Austin was only significant as the last name of The Six Million Dollar Man. Also, sneak a peek at Anton LaVey (founder of the Church of Satan) as the High Priest. Now THIS is a movie!
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on August 2, 2001
God, I remember seeing this movie as a kid. The next time I saw it was about a year ago curtesy of Joe Bob Briggs. I had forgotten what a great movie this was. Great in the cult sense that is.
"The Devil's Rain" has a good, if somewhat trite, story. But it's a tried and true formula so how can you go wrong with that? The performances aren't all that bad given the motley crew of actors they've assembled here. Even Bill Shatner adds a splendid understated performance, not often giving vent to bouts of dramatics. And what can you say about Ernest Borgnine as the Devil's disciple? Priceless! The only actor I didn't get was John Travolta. He gets billed in the credits but he's not even a really a character. Indeed, you don't even see him in the film unless you're specifically looking for him.
All this from the guy who brought us the classic "The Abominable Dr. Phibes". Though "Devil's Rain" doesn't quite live up to the standards of the aforementioned flick it's still a decent movie and is genuinely entertaining. You'll even notice Anton LaVey in the credits under technical advisor. Hard to imagine,though, since he criticised "The Exorcist" that he'd want to jump on board for this.
It's good to see that such a great,yet, virtually forgotten film can see new life on DVD.
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