Q – The Winged Serpent

*Originally written in 2003

When I was younger, because of my interest in dinosaurs I would always watch any film with a dinosaur in it. I saw a few of the Godzillas, and watched all the Sinbad and Harryhausen movies. This is one I was always fond of, mainly because it had what I thought was a cool name, and there were always a few scenes that stayed with me. I have still only seen it a few times, it’s rarely shown, and I haven’t seen it on DVD anywhere. I did catch it again recently though and can say now that the effects have aged badly, and it is obviously dated. It has a typical storyline, if a little madcap, but it’s still interesting and good to watch if you get the chance. Some good acting, some cheesy stuff, some laughs, and a good one to show the kids if they have an interest in such things as it is not as scary as Jurassic Park, but still has its moments.

In New York, Police have been receiving reports of a giant flying dinosaur which they of course think is a hoax. Soon however a number of civilians are eaten, snatched off rooftops while sunbathing. This moment I am always reminded of when I watch ‘Marge in Chains’ – the Simpsons episode where Marge is arrested for shoplifting. There is a scene in which Otto is on a rooftop, and the camera swoops down on him from directly above, very similar to what happens in Q. Anyway, Michael Moriarty plays a thief who has just robbed a jewelry store and is hiding in the Chrysler building. There he finds what appears to be a nest, with eggs and parts of human corpses. David Carradine plays the lead cop who soon realises the Aztec God Quetzalcoatl is the beast attacking. Soon Moriarty and Carradine are squaring off, Moriarty the only one who knows where the creature is, and wants to make sure if he makes a deal he will get something in return.

A seemingly silly idea for a film, but no less silly than Godzilla, King Kong, and many other monster movies. It is the same idea, updated for the eighties. Cohen allows some ominous camera-work over the city, meaning we never know when Q is going to attack, or from where, and the relationship between Carradine and Moriarty is interesting. Cohen always seems to choose strange and innovative topics for his film-making, ensuring he has gained a small cult status in the horror community. He has done better films, but this is still good. A strange mix of genres which does not always work, but is worth seeing anyway.

Let us know in the comments what you think of Q The Winged Serpent!

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Train To Busan

By now if you haven’t seen Train To Busan you’ve probably at least heard of it – breaking box office records and hearts at a furious pace. If indeed you haven’t seen it, you need to set aside a couple of hours, right now, and watch it – Train To Busan is the horror movie of the year and shows that there is still plenty of life left in the shambling undead genre providing you have the right people behind and in front of the camera.

Train To Busan gets right what many horror films get wrong – character. Too often character is sacrificed for plot, or worse, for kills. I love a good beheading or stabbing as much as the next horror fan, but sometimes we want more – more substance, more feeling and care. Cannon Fodder is all well and good, but the impact when someone we actually like, or actively dislike bites the dust is more powerful and the memory of their death and the associated emotional weight stays with us longer. There’s an old belief/saying/remark that I generally accept as containing a lot of truth – that the best horror films are often made by people who don’t make horror movies. While that’s not true across the board, it does sometimes take a person outside of the genre to bring something truly unique or horrifying to the butcher’s table. While Yeon Sang Ho was no stranger to dark material, it would be difficult to classify his previous work as strictly horror – his debut animated feature The King Of Pigs an unsettling look at violence, class, bullying, masculinity, and the follow up The Fake is an equally divisive, unflinching depiction of religion and abuse of power. Train To Busan was the director’s first Live Action movie, and although he filmed it alongside the animated prequel Seoul Station, it depicts a level of character building and command of genre usually reserved for the greatest directors.

At just under 2 hours, Train To Busan covers a lot of ground and gets off the ground within moments – we meet the ‘bit of a dick’ protagonist – a divorcee who apparently cares more for his job than his young daughter. As her Birthday present, she wants to visit her mother in Busan and her dad reluctantly agrees to take her. As they get on the train we pass by several other characters – a working class tough guy with his pregnant wife, a superior wealthy business men, estranged elderly sisters, and a school baseball team with their own interconnected dramas. Just as the train is setting off, a young, sick, injured woman collapses into one of the carriages and the fun begins as she decides to take a chomp out of one of the train workers. The way the ‘virus’ spreads here is more akin to 28 Days Later where a serious bite will result in death and ‘turning’ in a matter of seconds. Within minutes the train is in chaos, with factions being formed, people being slaughtered, some hiding, some fighting, some locking others away to their doom, all while the train scurries along to its final destination.

The pace with which the virus spreads is matched by the plot pacing and direction. There is rarely a moment to breath or relax without some new twist or threat emerging. The characters from different backgrounds all react to the carnage differently, yet all want to survive. The arguments here are of course reminiscent of NOTLD and Day Of The Dead with each voice and ego demanding to be heard and refusing to accept any other opinion as valid. There are a number of terrific set pieces, from scrolling beat-em up fight scenes through zombie filled carriages, to white knuckle tension filled moments as one group tries to lock out another, to the seeming safety of arriving at another station only to find it completely overrun too. Indeed, most of the excitement and scares of the film come from the pacing and the character driven plot, rather than jump-scares or gore.

While the film has its bloody moments, it isn’t overly gory or off-putting for newcomers. Seasoned horror fans will enjoy the action and invention, while new fans will likely be sucked in by the story which is frequently heartbreaking. The performances from top to bottom are great, something vital when you are relying so heavily on character, and most of the writing is on point too. You’ll have fun guessing who, if anyone, will make it to Busan, and the energetic nature of the film will have you thirsting for a rewatch. This is a highly entertaining, game-changing zombie film which reinvigorates a genre bloated by the procession of Walking Dead episodes and clones and frequently equals the heights that the best of the genre has to offer while encouraging those unfamiliar with these types of movies to get on board.

Let us know in the comments what you thought of Train To Busan!

Problem Child

*Originally written in 2003

In 1990 we were blessed with one of the greatest comedies of all time. Problem Child came along just before the more sophisticated Home Alone blew all competition out of the way. Problem Child is nevertheless a film filled with great gags, brilliant acting from everyone, and a witty dark side which few directors can effectively balance. Unfortunately most people see it as nothing more than juvenile and it has become a fairly despised movie. While critics hated it and it seems that it hasn’t found a subsequent audience, it still generated an inferior sequel and spin-off TV series. For me, it will always be an all-time favourite, and even though I first saw it when I was seven or so and can see why it is so hated, I still find it hilarious.

Junior is an orphan. Abandoned by his parents, he did the rounds at various homes, never staying at one place for too long because he didn’t fit in or rather because he was as one character says – ‘wicked’. Junior finds himself at a Convent school where he soon starts trouble. The Administrator, Peabody (Gilbert Gottfried) knows that the Nuns want to get rid of him, and when he hears that a husband and wife who can’t have kids are looking for a child to adopt, he cons them into taking Junior – everyone’s happy. However, the family soon realise that Junior is no angel and want to get rid of him, but adopted father Ben sees that he is just a lonely kid who keeps getting shoved around. When Junior’s hero – a murderer named the Bow Tie Killer – murders his way out of prison, he pays Junior a visit, kidnapping Junior and his adoptive mother and sending Ben on a rescue mission.

The film has too many funny moments to mention – the opening montage with Junior growing up, the scenes with the nuns, the camping trip, the baseball game, and even small things like – ‘Look a giraffe!’… ‘Look a fist!’ make this film a comedy which deserves so much more respect than it will ever get. The dark side, the violence, these are neatly balanced by the fact that Junior just wants to be loved, and the film can be seen as an effective satire on the whole adoption process where children can often become numbers or forgotten in a system. John Ritter is perfectly cast as the father, Jack Warden is brilliant as old fashioned Big Ben, Amy Yasbek is good as the annoying Flo, and Michael Oliver puts in a stunning performance, stealing every scene he is in. Unfortunately he seems to have disappeared from the spotlight and never did much beyond the sequel. For all round laughs they do not come much better, and every kid should see this. When you grow up though, don’t hate it just because it seems childish and amateurish, love it as it should be loved.

Let us know in the comments what you thought of Problem Child!

Police Academy 1 -7

*Reviews for each film originally written in 2003, but merged today into a single post because the reviews are pretty terrible.

Part 1

It may be dumb, not very original, pretty much all of its jokes are based around sex and toilet humour which was mostly insensitive then never mind now, it may have spawned 6 sequels so far, but it is still (for me) one of the funniest movies ever. Legendary (!) characters and timeless sketches ensure that, whether you love it or hate it, it has a major place in comedy movie history.

The Police force under Commandant Lassard decides to bring in a whole new batch of recruits, throwing all past criteria out of the window. Now ex-cons, scumbags, idiots, and men and women of all shapes, sizes and races can apply for a position in the police force by going through a rigorous training scheme. One man, Carey Mahoney, is constantly getting into trouble with the law, though his misdemeanors are small – more of an annoyance than a threat. He is ordered either to join the Police Academy, or be sent to prison. He reluctantly agrees to join, secretly planning to get thrown out immediately. He meets the slacker Jones on the way, a man with the enviable ability to recreate any noise imaginable – with nothing better to do, Jones signs up too. We meet the other recruits – Tackleberry, your typical flag waving NRA member. Hightower  – flower shop owner, almost 7 ft of pure muscle. Hooks, a timid young woman. Barbara, an overweight mummy’s boy. George Martin, who pretends he is Italian to ‘get the ladies’. Karen Thompson, Mahoney’s love interest, and Fackler, a clumsy nerd. Along with these come Copeland and Blankes, antagonists who soon suck up to the man who will be training them – Capt. Harris.

Harris wants the top job and believes that if he can show that Lassard’s plan is a failure, he will be promoted. To do this, he goes about destroying the Cadets’ spirits, trying to expose their weaknesses. However, when a riot breaks out the cadets show their true worth, and prove that they are good enough to become real cops. We also meet Sgt. Callahan, a female officer who likes the men… and Commissioner Reed the man Harris is trying to impress. All the Cadets redeem themselves, overcoming their personal flaws.

During the film each character has very funny moments, Jones with his noises, Mahoney with his tricks, Hooks with her voice, Tackleberry with his guns etc, highlights including The Blue Oyster Bar, the attempt to throw Barbara’s books out a window, and the podium – ‘SLIIIIIIDE!’ scene. Every actor puts in a good performance, the score is a classic, and the plot is merely there to allow the series of skits and vignettes to take place. It may be a no-brainer, but it is therefore perfect to watch with your mates. It is understandable why people would hate this film – I’m the first to admit it’s not big or clever, but it’s better than most critics claim and deserves more love. Some will not find this funny at all, some will, as with anything, but don’t judge it for its foolishness, just watch and laugh.

Part 2

The inane Cadets from the first film get their first assignment when a new gang begins terrorizing the city. Nobody can work out where the massive gang stems from, who their leader is, or where their base is situated, so it comes down to Mahoney to infiltrate the gang by becoming one of them. However, when Mahoney is uncovered by the gang as a cop, his life is in danger and he must rely on his comrades to rescue him. Because of Mauser’s conspiring, Capt Pete Lassard and the recruits have lost their jobs. The gang realise that saving their friend is more important than saving their jobs.

This film marks several changes in the series. Cmdt. Eric Lassard takes a back step and his brother takes over. Harris is replaced by Mauser, and along with him comes Proctor who becomes an instant favourite. Sweetchuck is also on the scene, setting up his consequent relationship with Zed, who here is the gang leader, and one of the best characters in the series. As well as this, Tackleberry falls in love with fellow cop and gun enthusiast Kirkland. We meet Kirkland’s odd family, ensuring many new laughs. As always, the old characters get up to their usual tricks – Jones making noises, and now imitating Bruce Lee, Hooks’s tiny voice, Mahoney’s charm, and Hightower’s strength. It is the new characters who make the most impact though – Zed played perfectly by Bobcat Goldthwait will get the most laughs and Proctor’s stupidity and grovelling becomes a humorous staple for the series. Aside from this, nothing much new happens, there are the same slapstick and sexual innuendo jokes, but that is not to say it is not funny. Again, many people will not find it funny, it is hardly a cinematic masterpiece or work of art, but it is an effective film which will get the laughs from those who love the series.

Part 3

Here we go again…I don’t care what anyone says, this is funny. Yes the series gets worse with each film, but any of the first 4 are better than any American Pie, or any teen comedy of your choosing. The characters have already been established, with Bobcat Goldthwaite as Zed, who is endlessly funny, and Mauser as the rival Cmndt returning from Part 2. The plot this time around sees two rival Police Academies; due to funding one must close, so a series of competitions are set up to see which is better. Mauser recruits Copeland and Banks from Lassard’s school as traitors to ensure that the other side wins, but Mahoney and crew eventually prove they are better. While these movies are not about plot, it’s nice to see some sort of progression in the lives and stories of the characters. Some would say they’re not about comedy either, or anything else, but as a kid, nothing made me laugh more than these films. And they still do. Jones makes loads of noises, Tackleberry watches his in laws punch each other, Mahoney makes his usual comments, but Zed and Procter are my favourites here. The Blue Oyster Bar is back, and other scenes which stick out for me are the arrival of Sweetchuck to the Academy and Zed singing to make a door fall. I see why people find these completely irritating, but I’m pissing myself thinking about them. Indeed, while I was reading some of the (mostly negative) reviews of this, where people were slagging off the parts they didn’t find funny, I was in stitches. May say something about me – but that’s something I’m not ashamed of.

Part 4

The last of the ‘good’ Police Academy movies, probably as Guttenberg left the cast after this one. This is my second favourite in the series after the original, the jokes come thick and fast in skit form, and they manage to have some semblance of a plot to hold it together. Faith in the Police force is low, crime is high, so a new ploy to solve both dilemmas is introduced – COP – Citizens On Patrol, which sees the police force opening its doors to the everyday citizen for training and the opportunity to work along side real Cops. The old gang are assigned to the job and go about trying to find recruits, while Harris and Proctor try to sabotage everything.

New recruits include Corrine Bohrer, a vastly under-used actress, who is excellent in the role, and outshines Sharon Stone, who plays a reporter. Bohrer falls for Zed, providing many comedy moments. Others include an old woman who has the same penchant for violence as Tackleberry, two skateboard punks, and House, a big guy Hightower used to babysit. When there is a prison break out, it’s up to Jones, Mahoney, and the COPs to apprehend the bad guys.

Many funny moments include – the ‘Yumma yumma yumma yumma yuuummma’ scene – The underwater biking scene, quickly followed by the Zed calling Harris ‘jerk’ moment. All the usual antics are back with each character doing, admittedly, the same jokes, but they are used better here than in the other films. The acting is all good, but it is obvious to see why many people hate this. However, this kind of humour will always be funnier to me than two men dressing up in women’s clothing and prancing about with Marilyn Monroe.

Part 5

For fans of the series, this is the point when it all began to go wrong. Mahoney and Zed jumped ship leaving two massive gaps in the cast, and their replacements are not good enough. Of the remaining cast, most seem bored with the formula, and only Proctor, Lassard and Harris seem to be putting in any effort. It is them who get most laughs. The plot sees the recruits flying to Miami as Lassard is retiring and they are holding a huge celebration for him. When Lassard accidentally takes a stash of diamonds with him, the crooks follow him trying to get their diamonds back before their boss kills them. They eventually kidnap Lassard (who thinks it is all part of the celebration), and the cops race to get him back, along with Lassard’s nephew Nick. Naturally Harris and Proctor are around to sabotage things.

As well as the notable loss of Bobcat and Guttenberg, we are missing Kirkland’s family, Sweetchuck, Fackler, and all the Citizens on Patrol except House. Tackleberry, Hightower, Jones, Hooks, and Callahan all seem tired and are only there to say a few lines and show once again their individual traits in decreasing comedic quality. Lassard, Proctor, and Harris get the best laughs and at least try with their performances. McCoy as Guttenberg’s replacement is weak, lacks charm and his stunts are not as funny. Everything becomes increasingly childish, and the whole film looks and feels like a series of short, badly thought out sketches. The bad guys have their moments, but there are a few moments worthy of parts 1-4. Part 6 would be slightly better, 7 would be rubbish, ensuring that they should have left it at 4. However, now that 8 has been announced, and with the recent resurgence of this kind of humour, it could be good. Tackleberry is gone though, and any entry would not be the same without him.

Part 6

This film does not deserve to be in the IMDB bottom 100. Part 7, probably, but this is an improvement over part 5, and a genuine attempt to get back to the origins of the series, that which made it so popular and funny. A trio of criminals are causing havoc in the city, stealing diamonds and outwitting the cops at every turn. It seems they are working for a criminal mastermind who plans to lower property prices for his own eventual gains. The cops along with Lassard, Harris and Proctor try to uncover the crooks and work out who the mastermind is.

This film has many more funny moments than 5 and 7, and the characters get a chance to fully exploit their individual traits, juxtaposed against the 3 criminals. Nick Lassard returns, but still he is no match for Mahoney. The three criminals are pretty good, and provide a few good moments. Once again it is Harris, Proctor and Lassard who shine, but the rest of the recruits seem more interested than they did in 5. Fackler returns to add some more humour, and overall the film is funny. Of course if you don’t like this sort of thing, there is little to recommend it. It is less childish than 5 and 7, there are better performances, and the plot is more linear, rather than seeming like a series of sketches. That said, most of the humour is slapstick, sight gags which have been done better before. However, fans of the series will enjoy it, and remember it is meant to be stupid, not meant to be a cinematic or artistic masterpiece. People reviewing this usually use it to let out all their venom as it is an easy scapegoat. Calm down and save your venom for part seven.

Part 7

Oh well. They go to Russia to help investigate a mafia boss who intends to take over the world with his brainwashing games or something. As a big fan of the series I may be biased, giving other entries higher scores than they may deserve, but this is one movie too many. Hightower and Hooks are gone, as are Nick and Proctor, leaving only a few of the originals. In comes Conners as another Mahoney clone who does okay, and Ron Perlman, a quality actor as the bad guy. For some reason Christopher Lee is also present, he adds some style, but does little. Claire Forlani adds some extreme beauty to the film, and she is pretty good, but clearly should not be making this kind of film. The comedy is wildly unfunny for the most part, mostly slapstick, and there are far too many unfunny noises on the soundtrack meaning we cringe throughout. The remaining actors all seem bored, and only Lassard and Harris get any chuckles. The only really funny moment I can remember is the fact that Lassard just walks into some Russian’s house and becomes part of their family. It is so stupid, yet typically Lassard that you can’t help but laugh. The rest of it is forgettable, and while the remaining characters once again show why they are there, what they do is just not funny. They should have stopped at 4. They definitely should have stopped at 6. Even so, I’m looking forward to 8.

I apologize and must have been several gallons out of my mind while writing these, but let us know in the comments what you think of Police Academy and the series in general!

Predator 2

*Originally written in 2004

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The race of Predators returns to earth in this sequel to the 1987 sci-fi hit, deciding to stalk its prey in a city rather than a jungle. The claustrophobia is gone, along with the politics and the Schwarzenegger, but the amount of victims is vastly increased in this inferior, but often overlooked sequel.

The film is set in LA. It is an increasingly hot summer and gang warfare, crime, and murder is on the up. The LAPD wages a constant battle against the scum, but it seems a vigilante is wiping out some of the biggest criminals. Danny Glover stars as Lieutenant Mike Harrigan, who with his small team- Danny, Leona, and Jerry – is trying to find out who is causing these deaths, as well as keeping an eye on the chaos around them. As his team closes in on the killer, the feds tell him to back off, so he knows there is something big going on. When his team members and others continue to be slaughtered, he catches a glimpse of the killer – The Predator – who can become invisible at the touch of a button, and wipe out anyone with ease. Gary Busey from the feds, and his team (including Robert Davi) attempt to catch The Predator but fail, and  the creature sets its sights on Glover as its next victim. A final encounter approaches, but it may not take place on Harrigan’s terms.

Predator 2 is a letdown after the first film was so good. The action, tension and excitement here is toned down and inferior, but luckily it is still above average. We lose Arnie, but Glover does well as the cop with a fighting spirit. The supporting cast is good, Alonso is feisty, Paxton is as good as always but not given as much to do as I would have liked, Busey is his usual offbeat self, as is Davi, and Blades is okay. However, the sense of teamwork that should have been present, that was a strong part of the original, is gone. There are many good visual effects here, improving in some ways on the original, and The Predator has a few new and interesting weapons at his disposal. It just lacks the spark of the original though, and does not create much excitement. The dialogue is not as good, average action stuff, and the direction is solid but does not have the style and grasp of technique that McTiernen has. A good action/sci-fi movie with plenty of violence and fun, but a let down sequel which deserved to be better.

Let us know in the comments what you think of Predator 2!

Don’t Blink

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There is a lot of (valid) huffing and puffing in the horror community bemoaning the lack of originality in the genre. Mainstream horror, and mainstream movies in general simply don’t take the risks of old ending up in a greatly reduced gene pool and endless remakes and clones. On the flip side, indie film-makers and lower budget movies tend to feature more creativity, more refreshing ideas, while sacrificing box-office stars and eye-watering effects. Somewhere in the middle there is a line, where a middling budget and recognizable faces collide with ideas which intrigue and where writers and directors want to tell an interesting story without pressure to top the charts. Don’t Blink falls within this category and centres on an idea which had me hooked the moment I heard about it.

Remember that Halloween episode of The Simpsons where all the advertisements come to life and rampage through Springfield until the gang comes up with an ironic jingle called ‘Just Don’t Look’ to dispel the troublesome giants? It’s something I’ve always used in arguments against celeb culture, reality TV and beyond – if you don’t want something to exist, simply don’t pay attention to it and it will go away if enough other people do the same. It’s naïve, but it does work. What has this to do with Don’t Blink? The film’s premise is simple – a group of friends head out to a cabin hotel in the woods countryside only to find the place empty. There are no signs of any struggle but plenty of hints that something has gone badly wrong. Without warning they begin to disappear too. It shouldn’t be a spoiler to say this, but essentially what is happening is that if nobody is looking at you, you vanish. You cease to exist. Poof! Gone in an instant. The moment I read about this – the fact that there’s a movie about people basically dying if they are not seen – and my imagination went into overdrive, thinking up a hundred cool scenarios.

While the movie plays loosely with slasher tropes, it follows more in the footsteps of Final Destination, though without the gore or kills . What it does have is intrigue, suspense, and uncertainty. There are a few known names in the cast – Mena Suvari, Brian Austin Green, Zack Ward, but it was Joanne Kelly I was most excited to see after being sold on the idea, having been a fan of her from Warehouse 13. The rest of the cast are an assortment of interesting characters and performers and the film does spend time allowing us to learn about the various inter-relationships and insecurities of the individuals. As the film progresses and the numbers dwindle, these fears are heightened and you’ll be second guessing motives and survivors. Paranoia births slowly, comments and side-remarks are traded, sides are formed and arguments become violent. If you enjoy movies which make you question how you would act, then you’ll have a ball with this.

‘Hitchcockian’ has become an over-used term, but the film definitely plays out like an old school mystery and thriller with the viewer struggling for sense and reason alongside the characters. The director toys with us, dropping several red herrings. The camera tantalizes at several moments, spinning slowly around the characters and begging us to watch carefully to see if someone has disappeared or merely stepped out of shot for a moment. As much fun as the cast and director are clearly having, some viewers may be frustrated at how open-ended the film is. As I’ve mentioned before in other posts, this isn’t something I generally have an issue with – I’m happy to form my own opinions and conclusions based on what we are shown – but fair warning to viewers who like a tidy ending with all questions answered. It’s a film which reveals more with re-watching and it has quickly become a personal favourite. Horror fans striving for originality should open their eyes to this little gem.

Let us know in the comments what you thought of Don’t Blink!

The Devil’s Rain

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In the 1970s, there was a cultural rekindling of interest in Satanism, and in devil worship. Thanks to hits such as Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, along with the rise in popularity of Anton LeVey, many musicians, storytellers, and filmmakers began to capitalize or express enthusiasm for the topic. The Devil’s Rain feels like an attempt to cash in on all of this and to generate an American version of a Hammer style horror film, without the regal quality.

We are thrown into the middle of things with little clue of what the hell is going on. This is less In Media Res, more In Media Mess. There is an alarming amount of exposition in the opening exchanges, yet it’s useless as none of it makes sense and the people don’t talk like any actual person would, with plenty of ‘in the name of Satan’ and ‘old mine shaft’ talk. The creepy intro sets a suitable tone though, with ‘evil’ music and droning voices being quite effective. On the plus side, the opening scene does feature some guy’s face being melted away, but rather than focus on this we also get a voodoo doll, a mysterious book, some prophetic rambling about ‘this is how it always starts’, and a magic protective amulet. The movie sets these things up as if they are and will be significant – they’re not… much.

The film features Ernest Borgnine, the least likely evil doer in history, as some sort of immortal satanic warlock priest. For generations he has been trying to acquire a mystical book which will give him… even greater powers? A local family apparently keeps this book, all until William Shatner decides to foolishly challenge Borgnine and is promptly defeated and converted. Enter Tom Skerritt, an outsider of the family, appears out of nowhere and attempts to save the day. It’s all very weird, the editing is jarring, little makes sense, the atmosphere and tone shifts wildly and dubiously – we get a hilarious scene featuring Shatner running away from hooded goons one moment, Tom Skerrit teaching a dull science class the next, but it’s not without some scares and tension which may affect a younger or more susceptible viewer. Naturally, there’s a twist ending too.

For such an old film, it’s interesting that so many well known faces turn up – Ida Lupino, Eddie Albert, and even Anton LeVey himself turn up and some point. John Travolta makes a cameo, but you probably won’t notice him as he isn’t dancing – if he was it wouldn’t be any less bizarre than what does transpire. The performances aren’t bad… they’re just there – Borgnine actually is a charming, eye-sparkling villain, Skerritt is stoic, Shatner isn’t full Shatner yet. With all this criticism you’d be asking yourself why to watch – it’s a cult film, and it’s a little camp, and it’s interesting that it even exists. If you’re a fan of cult movies, of the curio, of horror in general, it’s worth seeing once to say you’ve seen it.

Let us know in the comments what you think of The Devil’s Rain and if you feel it’s more enjoyable than what I have said!