Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 16th, 2017
BluRay released: October 31st, 2017
Approximate running times: 86 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English, DTS-HD Mono Spanish, DTS-HD Mono French
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Severin Films
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $24.95
Synopsis: Corbis is a priest, whose descendants were burned at the stake for their satanic beliefs. And he wants to obtain a book listing the names of all those who sold their souls to the devil. This book now resides at the Preston family home.
Then one evening, when an eyeless figure that looks like Steve the head of the Preston household shows up on their doorstep and tells his family to give the book back to Corbis before he melts before their eyes. In shock, Mark Preston goes to confront Corbis about the whereabouts of his parents only to become a prisoner himself.
Shortly thereafter Tom Preston and his wife hear about the problems his family has been having they decides to go home. Needing assistance, they are aided by an occult expert named Dr. Sam Richards. Will they be able to save Tom’s family or is Corbis’ grip on them to strong?
The Devil’s Rain was directed by Robert Fuest whose other notable films include, And Soon the Darkness, The Abominable Dr. Phibes and Dr. Phibes Rises Again. Key collaborators on The Devil’s Rain include, cinematographer Álex Phillips Jr. (Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia) and Anton LaVey the founder of the Church of Satan, who worked as technical adviser on the film.
The Devil’s Rain was made at the tail end of the Satanic themed films era. And unlike similar films that came before it like Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist and The Omen, which came out a year later. The Devil’s Rain lacks any real sense of direction, most notably a plot that feels cobbled together from various sources. On the plus side, there is a creepiness factor to the film involving Corbis followers who walk around in black cloaks and have no eyes.
The one area where This film really shines is in the acting department. With a rock-solid cast of recognizable faces that is led by Ernest Borgnine who delivers a mesmerizing performance in the role of Jonathan Corbis. Other cast members include, the legendary William Shatner who plays up his usual stick as the eldest son Mark Preston, the ever-reliable Tom Skerritt in the role of Tom Preston and if you blink you just might miss in a brief role John Travolta. Other notable actors include Eddie Albert, Ida Lupino and Keenan Wynn.
The special effects are pretty good and effectively done as flesh melts into pools of wax. With this film’s most memorable moment being a flashback scene that explains Corbis’ family history. And the film’s visuals do a superb job reinforcing the foreboding mood. Overall The Devil’s Rain is one of those films that somehow transcends its flaws and a lot of the credit for this has to go to the actors, who all give delirious performances’.
The Devil’s Rain comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. It has been over decade since Dark Sky Films released The Devil’s Rain on DVD and as good as that transfer was back then. This new HD restoration from Severin Films is a massive upgrade in every way. With biggest areas of improvement being image clarity and black levels.
This release comes with three audio options, a DTS-HD mono mix in English, a DTS-HD mono mix in Spanish and a DTS-HD mono mix in French. The English language audio mix is in very good shape, dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced. The score sounds appropriately robust and the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented. Included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles.
Extras for this release are reversible cover art, a poster / stills gallery, on set polaroid gallery / radio spots (7 minutes 57 seconds), three T.V. spots (1 minute 33 seconds), a trailer for the film (2 minutes 46 seconds), an interview with filmmaker / horror collector Daniel Roebuck (10 minutes 33 seconds), an interview with Anton LaVey biographer Blanche Barton titled Hail Satan! (8 minutes 4 seconds), a conversation with the high priest & high priestess of the Church of Satan titled Consulting with the Devil (10 minutes 17 seconds), an interview with actor Tom Skerritt titled Confessions of Tom (10 minutes 59 seconds), an interview with special FX artist Tom Burman titled The Devil’s Makeup (5 minutes 5 seconds), an archive interview from 1975 with actor William Shatner (3 minutes 47 seconds), an interview with script supervisor Ana Maria Quintana titled First Stop Durango (14 minutes 47 seconds) and an audio commentary with director Robert Fuest.
Topics discussed in the interview with Daniel Roebuck include, his memories about the first time he saw The Devil’s Rain at a drive-in in 1975, his thoughts about the film and memorabilia from the film that he has collected.
Topics discussed in the interview with Blanche Barton include, background information about Anton LaVey, The Devil’s Rain / onset memories about Robert Fuest and the cast.
Topics discussed in the interview titled Consulting with the Devil include, Anton LaVey and his contributions to The Devil’s Rain, Robert Fuest, cinematographer Álex Phillips Jr., the cast and their thoughts about the film.
Topics discussed in the interview with Tom Skerritt include, his origins as an actor, Robert Fuest, The Devil’s Rain, onset memories, the filmmaking process, the cast and his thoughts about the film.
Topics discussed in the interview with William Shatner include, Star Trek and at the time of the interview the possibility of a Star Trek feature film and The Devil’s Rain.
Topics discussed in the interview with Ana Maria Quintana include, how The Devil’s Rain was her first film as a script supervisor, how she overcame the challenges of learning on the job the role of script supervisor, producers Michael S. Glick and Sandy Howard, Álex Phillips Jr., Robert Fuest, the cast and background information about other films that she has worked as a script supervisor on.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary include, background information about the opening credits, art school, how he began his career in the film industry as a production designer, his thoughts about Satanic themed horror films, the cast, special effects, Sandy Howard, his thoughts about the screenplay, the visuals and background information about other films that he directed.
Overall The Devil’s Rain gets a definitive presentation from Severin Films, highly recommended.
Note: This film is also being released by Severin Films on DVD.