The Devil's Rain

S: for Shatner
SC: for Satanic Cult
FM: for Face Melting
LA: for Anton LaVey Approved
EC: for Exploding Church
GB: for Goat Boy
T1: for Travolta's 1st movie

Review after the jump.

What can I say,  I'm a sucker for 70s flicks about satanic cults. Must be all the Electric Wizard I listen to. So when I saw the lineup for this movie featuring several Twilight Zone alumni, Dallas/Viper and that dude who cuts up pigs and crashes proms, I immediately marked it down on my list. Unfortunately it's been there for quite a while, and I'm only now getting to it. An interesting aside I came across while researching this movie: Ida Lupino, who plays the mother in the film, as well as starring in the Twilight Zone episode "The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine", also directed one of my all-time favorite episodes, "The Masks." A few more quick tidbits: Anton LaVey not only appeared in the film, but served as technical advisor as well. Even more intriguing, The Devil's Rain is notorious for being so bad it basically killed the career of director Robert Fuest, the man who brought us The Abominable Dr. Phibes and Dr. Phibes Rises Again. Is it really that bad?

Travolta's first close-up.

It seems the leader of a satanic cult (Borgnine) has a feud with the Shatner family that runs all the way back to Pilgrim days, when the Shat's wife betrayed their group by stealing a powerful book. Upon discovering this, he delivers a mighty slap across her face. As if this weren't bad enough, to add insult to injury, he has to yell out "SLLLAAAP!" as he does so. Then they're all rounded up and burned at the stake, where Borgnine, laughing maniacally in flames, curses Shatner's descendents. Now it's present day, Borgnine has once again found the family, and after melting Shatner's father's face, turning his mother to Satan, and hanging some dude they know upside-down(?), Captain Kirk is out for revenge.

"How did you do that?"  "Oh, out on the golf course!"

 Unfortunately he's captured without much fuss and the rest of the movie features his brother, a mustached, leisure suit-clad Tom Skerritt as the hero. Skerritt  makes his way, with help of his psychic wife, to the old west ghost town where Shatner disappeared. This ultimately culminates in one of the most pathetic, unmanly fight scenes in cinema history. Ladies and gentlemen, in his big screen debut, John fucking Travolta! At this point Skerritt finally starts to kick a little bit of ass and after making good use of both his shotgun and his mustache, manages to infiltrate the cult.

Shotgun? Check. Leisure Suit? Check. Mustache? Check. 70s Badass Status: Acquired.

After bumping into his eye-less, Satan-worshippin', fudge-packin', crack-smokin' mother, he manages to give a throwaway line an Oscar-worthy delivery (this is one you'll have to find for yourself), witnesses his brother shirtlessly purified in flame or some shit, and then sees Borgnine's ritualistic transformation into...Jim Breuer!

Goat boy.

Skerritt kicks some more ass, and then finds The Devil's Rain, a device that holds the souls of all the people Goat Boy has turned to Satan. They destroy it, and Goat Boy's minions start melting, and his satanic church explodes. Then there's an ending that makes no sense. 

So there you have it. A few big names, a few lines delivered brilliantly, some bad make-up, and Shatner without a shirt on. Not great, not shitty. Go watch The Abominable Dr. Phibes instead. Next time maybe I'll review something that doesn't get points for shirt removal.

6 out of 10.

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