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: 85 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 (Ernest Borgnine) is a priest whose descendants were burned at the stake for their satanic beliefs. He wants to regain a book listing the names of all those who sold their souls to the devil. This book now resides at the Preston family home. 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. Mark (William Shatner) goes to confront Corbis about the whereabouts of his parents only to become a prisoner himself. Tom Preston (Tom Skerritt) who with his wife Julie has been working with an occult expert named Dr. Sam Richards (Eddie Albert). When Tom hears about the problems his family has been having they decide to go home. Will they be able to save Tom’s family or is Corbis’ grip on them to strong?
The Devil’s Rain was made at the tale end of the “Satanic” themed films era. 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 as the plot feels cobbled together from various sources. There is a creepiness factor to the film with the Corbis followers who walk around in black cloaks and have no eyes. Most the moments that meant to be scary are easy to spot them ahead of time.
The film really shines in the acting department with a virtual cast of who’s who. Ernest Borgnine is without a doubt the beast part of the film as he totally loses himself in the Jonathan Corbis. The legendary William Shatner plays up his usual stick as the eldest son Mark Preston. Shatner really cooks during the scene when he is being tortured. No one can scream like Shatner. Tom Skerritt is ever reliable as Tom Preston and if you blink you just might miss in a brief role John Travolta. Other notable actors and performances are Eddie Albert, Ida Lupino and Keenan Wynn.
The special effects are pretty good and effectively done as flesh melts into pools of wax. One of the films best moments is the flashback scene that explains Corbis’ family history. Overall The Devil’s Rain when you think about the plot it is down right silly and yet it works. It 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.