For horror fans the world over “The Devil’s Rain” must be one of guiltiest of all pleasures. The cast alone should send any self-respecting genre fan screaming into the night. And why in god’s green hell would someone think it was a good idea to team up Ernest Borgnine, Tom Skerrit, Eddie Albert, William Shatner and Keenan Wynn for a satanic schlock-romp? But someone did, and thankfully so.
The plot-line is thin. A Book of the Dead thingie is stolen and Corbis (Borgnine’s character) wants it back. Corbis holds court over a rural town of Satanists and from time to time changes into a goat-devil looking thing that teeters on the absurd to say the least. It’s an interesting get-up for sure, but it’s almost comical too.
A couple of good townsfolk (Albert and Skerrit) take it upon themselves to free their friends and neighbors of the devil’s reign by destroying a bottle containing the souls of the damned. Once the hell-bound are released a rain pours from the heaven’s and melts the damned into puddles of goo and glop. Like Borgnine’s goofy goat get-up these sequences teeter on the absurd. The film’s tagline cried, “Absolutely the most incredible ending of any motion picture!”
Was it, and most importantly, was it effective for the1975 audience’s? Not nearly as much as the producers would have liked, but time has been kind to their Hollywood potboiler. “The Devil’s Rain” comes across less like an honest-to-god horror film and more like some bizarre curio of cinema that is likely to never happen again. For good (or bad) measure the High Priest of the First Church of Satan, Anton LeVey, throws in a cameo and newbie John Travolta displays his early acting (in)abilities.
Darksky Films takes over this title and ups the quality from the VCI release a bit with better artwork and extras that include audio commentary with the director, radio spots, a theatrical trailer and a rare news clip of Anton LeVey.