This week's target: The Devil's Rain (1975)
Directed by: Robert Freust
Written by: James Ashton I, Gabe Essoe, Gerald Hopman
Genre: Occult Horror
Buy it: Right here.
I believe it was Robert Burns who said, "A man's reach should exceed his
grasp, or what's a heaven for?" As we begin our plunge into the world of
bad sci-fi movies, you and I, we will realize that there is no other endeavor
in which these words are so applicable. For here we will find men who had ideas
-- great ideas, sometimes -- but who lacked even the most rudimentary concepts
of how to bring their ideas to life. Flickering across our television screens
we shall see the tatters of their once proud and noble dreams, the sad, pale
realities of what must have been, in their own minds, wondrous.
If only we could have seen the movies they wanted to make, as they imagined
them before ever a single frame of film was shot or a single goofy monster costume
was constructed, perhaps then we would be hailing these men as geniuses and
their works as triumphs of our time.
Unfortunately, all we are left with is what they actually produced -- pitiful,
laughable, farcical pieces of junk.
Thus we shall mock them.
We begin our journey with a movie titled The Devil's Rain. I
picked this one up at the local movie store earlier today, and am approaching
it relatively freshly -- my only previous knowledge of this film was through
reading a brief review of it at another bad movie website, the bulk of which
I have forgotten. Well, we shall see what we shall see.
To start with, let us peruse the DVD cover. Plastered across the front is Ernest
Borgnine's rather unpleasant mug. He is wearing a red cloak, and for all the
world looks like Charles Manson dressed as Little Red Riding Hood. Is it just
me, or does Borgnine always look like he's in the process of taking a really
massive dump? At any rate, I hope I have plenty of mustard on hand, because
I have a feeling the ham will be cut thick before all is said and done.
Above Borgnine's strange and frumpled face we find the phrase, "Heaven
help us all when THE DEVIL'S RAIN." I don't mean to sound like the Grammar
Police, but something is amiss here. But wait! What's this? Ah, we have struck
gold! For listed as stars of the movie we find (in addition to the aforementioned
Mr. Borgnine) Tom Skerritt and William Shatner! By Crom! When two such
titans of overacting as Borgnine and Shatner meet, can the Apocalypse be far
behind? Surely this breaks some moviemaking rule, or possibly even some fundamental
law of phsyics! Fearing for my life, I press on.
Beneath the picture of Borgnine is the phrase, "Absolutely the most incredible
ending of any motion picture ever!" This is written in "scary"
font, which I assume is meant to lend it more credence. Now admittedly, I have
not yet watched the movie, but this seems like a rather bold statement. Certainly
I have never heard The Devil's Rain mentioned in the same breath
as, say, Psycho. I have a sneaking suspicion that the ending could
prove disappointing if you were to believe the packaging. Fortunately for me,
I have a healthy dose of cynicism.
Turning the cover over, we find on the back only the usual movie plot synopsis.
No spelling errors or outlandish statements here to -- wait a minute! That young
actor at the bottom, it couldn't be -- no, wait -- it is!! It's John Travolta
in his film debut! And what's more, Eddie Albert (Mr. Douglas from Green
Acres) will be joining us! Ye gods, this is the greatest cast ever assembled!
In spite of myself, I find that I am eager to sit down and watch the movie,
though not, I imagine, for the reasons that the director intended.
I shall return upon viewing . . .