The Devil’s Rain (1975) – Robert Fuest

Sometimes bad is bad, and the next film in DK Canada’s hugely enjoyable Monsters in the Movies, is really bad. In fact despite the star power of the film, the only real reason it should be celebrated is for the fact that it led to a series of William Shatner face masks, one of which would become the iconic face of the Shape in Halloween.

The Devil’s Rain boasts some pretty big star power, Ernest Borgnine (who says the film was financed by the mafia, and he never got paid for it), Eddie Albert, William Shatner, Tom Skerritt, Keenan Wynn and briefly, John Travolta.

In an unnecessarily convoluted story, we are wrapped up in the saga of the Preston family and their combat with the devil in the goat horned form of Corbis (Borgnine). Through a flashback to Puritan times, we see that Corbis, a satanic high priest, was betrayed by some of his followers (the Preston family) and was burned alive, and the Preston family has been passing down a book of names (those who have cosigned their souls to the devil) through their family line ever since.

Cowboy hatted Bill Shatner is the first to confront Corbis after his father and mother are seized and turned into eyeless acolytes. After Shatner’s Mark Preston disappears, his brother, Tom (Skerritt) comes along looking for him, and the rest of his family with his psychic wife, Julie (Joan Prather) and fellow researcher and scientist, Sam Richards (Albert) in tow.

They delve into the darkness of the cult and learn about the threat of the devil’s rain, a vessel that holds the souls of all of Corbis’ disciples.

It’s silly, and I swear the last ten minutes of the movie is filled with nothing but dissolving devil worshippers as the vessel is destroyed and the souls are set free. It also tries to go for a gotcha ending.

All in all, drivel, and you can’t help but wonder how all of these famed actors got roped into the project in the first place. I never saw this movie growing up, this was a first for me, but I had encountered the trailer before.

When I was a kid, living in CFB Borden, the base theatre would show first run and second run films all the time, there was a different movie almost every night, and they would show trailers for everything. So before I went to some film, they showed a trailer for this.

As a young kid I couldn’t handle my horror films, and had to watch the trailer from between my fingers, or look at my lap, whispering to my seat mate to tell me when it was over. I just couldn’t understand what Captain Kirk was doing in this movie, it looked so scary, and people didn’t have eyes, and were melting… What was this nightmare?

Oh, if only I could tell my younger self how much I would roll my eyes and chuckle at this one some decades on. My search for more horror and terror continues as I explore DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies.

Pick one up and find something monstrous to watch tonight!

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