Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 15th, 2006
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1975
Director: Robert Fuest
Writers: Gabe Essoe, James Ashton, Gerald Hopman
Cast: Ernest Borgnine, Tom Skerritt, Joan Prather, Eddie Albert, William Shatner, Ida Lupino
DVD released: October 31st, 2006
Approximate running time: 86 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Dark Sky Films
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.98
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. Phibesand Dr. Phibes Rises Again. Key collaborators on The Devil’s Raininclude, 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 is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Colors are vibrant and details look sharp though out. Print damage is nonexistent and black levels remain strong through out. This film has never looked better on home video.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono in English. There are no problems with hiss, distortion or another sound defects. Dialog is crisp and music and effects sound evenly balanced. Removable English subtitles have been included.
Extras for this release include the films original theatrical trailer, 3 radio spots, a stills gallery and a news reel with Anton Lavey, high priest of the church of Satan. The main extra for this release is a audio commentary with director Robert Fuest who discusses in depth the film The Devil’s Rain and he also talks extensively about other projects he directed.
Overall Dark Sky Films gives The Devil’s Rain its best DVD release to date.