The Devil’s Rain – DVD
Dark Sky Films
The Devil’s Rain is a 1975 movie about a family that has had possession of a book belonging to a satanic priest named Corbis (Ernest Borgnine) that contains the names (written in blood) of all those who sold their souls to Satan. Corbis has been looking to reclaim the book for 300 years as it has been passed down through generations of the Preston family. When the eldest Preston goes missing along with his mother, the oldest son Mark (William Shatner) decides to face Corbis in an effort to free his family. His parents had already been delivered to the fiery master and they have become the eyeless wax servants that all those who willingly (and unwillingly) gave their souls to Corbis (Satan’s right hand man) turned into.
Mark is easily outnumbered and becomes and unwilling sacrifice to Big Red and much like his parents, he too becomes one of the eyeless. This leaves only his younger brother Tom (Tom Skerritt) and an Occult expert to try and stop Corbis and free the trapped souls in the container that holds the Devil’s Rain. After his girlfriend is abducted and set to be the next offering, Tom and the expert find the container and face off against Corbis and his army of eyeless minions.
The movie gets off to kind of a slow start and some of the editing was a little suspect in how the scenes would end and piece together. It took awhile for me to really get interested in what was going on, but when they introduce Tom’s girlfriend who has a strange kind of telepathy and can see into the past and future of Corbis, it is then that the story finally starts to make sense. Shatner’s cheesy dramatic acting is quite prevalent in early scenes and it kind of reminded me of some scenes in Star Trek and had me chuckling. Borgnine does a convincing job of the Satanic high priest and easily steals the show in this film. Once you get past about the first half hour, the film starts to pick up and becomes a lot more enjoyable. It’s a pretty dark-themed film and seems fairly unique for the time period in which it was released. Satanic followers might be interested to know that Anton LaVey makes a cameo in the movie and I think was the consultant for all things satanic in the film.
The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen and the picture quality is very sharp, much more that I anticipated. I don’t imagine it ever looked this good back in the day. The film is the original 2.0 mono mix and sounds pretty good, though in some of the louder scenes you really can start to hear the limitations of the recording at the time and things kind of get a little muddy sounding, but nothing too detracting from the viewing experience. Extras are limited to a commentary track, the original movie trailer (man trailers were a lot longer back then), radio spots, and a 1 minute new piece about Anton LaVey.
If you have the attention span to get through the first half hour and are looking for something a little different from your typical hack and slash movie this Halloween, you might want to check out this one for your party. Once again it’s nice to see some care put into a rather obscure niche film in its DVD presentation in regards to the quality of the presentation instead of just slapping something together that looks poor.