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Horror Movie A Day: Quint melts in THE DEVIL’S RAIN (1975)
Who calls me from out of the pit?!?

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day. [The regular A Movie A Day list has been frozen in order for me to do an all-horror line-up for October. I’ve pulled many horror titles from my regular “to see” stack and have ordered many more horror and thriller titles to make sure we have some good stuff. Like the regular AMAD column all the movies I’m covering are films I have never seen, but unlike the regular AMAD column I will not connect each film to the one before it. Instead I will pull a title at random every day and watch whatever the movie Gods determine for me.] Man, is this movie a ball of fun or what? It’s absolutely ludicrous, but goddamn… there are melting faces, Goat-heads, Satanists, eye-less faces, magic books, Puritan flashbacks, ESP, bell-bottoms and William Shatner and Ernest Borgnine trying to out-act each other. Yes, all that mixed together gives you a crazy-awesome movie. Basically what you have is a cult leader named Corbis (Borgnine) who was betrayed by one of his followers’ wives… I think. I mean, in the flashback we see the whole thing and everybody is burned at the stake, but Borgnine is able to give his young son the dark materials and hide him from the Christian mob… so the assumption is that the Corbis we see in the modern day is his descendant, but it’s not made clear. We also see Shatner in the flashback as well and we know that the modern day Shatner is his descendant, so I don’t know for sure what the hell is up, but that’s a very silly thing to get caught up on in a movie with 15 minutes of melting faces.

Anyway, Flashback-Shatner’s wife betrays the cult in Puritan days and steals a book which contains the contracts of all the followers, signed in blood, condemning their souls to Satan’s keeping. The Christians as thanks, betray her as well, burning her along with the rest, but not before Borgnine levels a curse at her and her descendants. Now Modern Day (‘70s) Borgnine is still after the book and has located the family, now headed by Ida Lupino. After a brief introductory scene, Lupino is taken and her son, Mark (Shatner), goes to rescue her. Now, you think Shatner’s the lead at this point. He shows up to this deserted mining town and is met by an affable, smiling Borgnine in a plaid shirt and cowboy hat. They recognize each other and decide on a contest of faith, Shatner’s faith in Christ vs. Borgnine’s faith in Satan, which is determined during a black mass.

Surprisingly, Shatner loses and 30 plus minutes into the movie we switch focus to Tom Skerritt, Shatner’s brother, and his psychic wife (Joan Prather) who now investigate the disappearance of his mother and now brother. There are recognizable faces during this journey, including Keenan Wynn in a bit part as a Sheriff and John Travolta in his real first big screen appearance (not CARRIE, which came out after this movie), as an eye-less cult follower. Which is a great effect, by the way. Every single cultist (minus Borgnine himself) has empty eye-sockets and it’s a goddamn creepy effect. Really disturbing stuff… and these cult members melt under varying conditions, especially during the big finale. That, as well, is a creepy effect. Unfortunately, the melty-faces wear out their welcome when you realize they had a 70 minute movie and decided to put 15 minutes of melting faces at the end. It really does go on and on and on and on and on and on and on. But still, when my biggest complaint with the filmmaking of this picture is that there’s too many melting faces, that’s not really a big complaint. Final Thoughts: This is an odd, extremely fun movie. As a side-note, Michael Kahn edited this film. Kahn has been Spielberg’s editor since CLOSE ENCOUNTERS. Also, this film had founder of the Satanic Church Anton LaVey as a “technical advisor.” This flick is a lot of fun with Shatner going as far out as you could want “Corbis! God… DAMN you!” and Borgnine playing the lead with an insane glee in his eye. Not to mention a crazy goat prosthetic he wears for a couple of scenes… I don’t know how anybody couldn’t get enjoyment out of this film, whether you think it’s intentionally entertaining or not.

Here are the titles in the drawing pool for the rest of October: Wednesday, October 1st – Friday, October 31st: H-MAD! Horror Movie A Day! Check out the list here! Good, now I’m caught up. If I were to try to connect these films like my regular AMAD list, I’d follow this up with director Robert Fuest’s DR. PHIBES RISES AGAIN, but since we’re doing a random draw… Let’s go ahead and pull the title for tomorrow so anybody interested can follow along! Tomorrow we will watch:

Wow, that’s actually a great follow-up to this movie. Cult movie to Cult movie. See you tomorrow for that! -Quint

Previous Movies: June 2nd: Harper
June 3rd: The Drowning Pool
June 4th: Papillon
June 5th: Gun Crazy
June 6th: Never So Few
June 7th: A Hole In The Head
June 8th: Some Came Running
June 9th: Rio Bravo
June 10th: Point Blank
June 11th: Pocket Money
June 12th: Cool Hand Luke
June 13th: The Asphalt Jungle
June 14th: Clash By Night
June 15th: Scarlet Street
June 16th: Killer Bait (aka Too Late For Tears)
June 17th: Robinson Crusoe On Mars
June 18th: City For Conquest
June 19th: San Quentin
June 20th: 42nd Street
June 21st: Dames
June 22nd: Gold Diggers of 1935
June 23rd: Murder, My Sweet
June 24th: Born To Kill
June 25th: The Sound of Music
June 26th: Torn Curtain
June 27th: The Left Handed Gun
June 28th: Caligula
June 29th: The Elephant Man
June 30th: The Good Father
July 1st: Shock Treatment
July 2nd: Flashback
July 3rd: Klute
July 4th: On Golden Pond
July 5th: The Cowboys
July 6th: The Alamo
July 7th: Sands of Iwo Jima
July 8th: Wake of the Red Witch
July 9th: D.O.A.
July 10th: Shadow of A Doubt
July 11th: The Matchmaker
July 12th: The Black Hole
July 13th: Vengeance Is Mine
July 14th: Strange Invaders
July 15th: Sleuth
July 16th: Frenzy
July 17th: Kingdom of Heaven: The Director’s Cut
July 18th: Cadillac Man
July 19th: The Sure Thing
July 20th: Moving Violations
July 21st: Meatballs
July 22nd: Cast a Giant Shadow
July 23rd: Out of the Past
July 24th: The Big Steal
July 25th: Where Danger Lives
July 26th: Crossfire
July 27th: Ricco, The Mean Machine
July 28th: In Harm’s Way
July 29th: Firecreek
July 30th: The Cheyenne Social Club
July 31st: The Man Who Knew Too Much
August 1st: The Spirit of St. Louis
August 2nd: Von Ryan’s Express
August 3rd: Can-Can
August 4th: Desperate Characters
August 5th: The Possession of Joel Delaney
August 6th: Quackser Fortune Has A Cousin In The Bronx
August 7th: Start the Revolution Without Me
August 8th: Hell Is A City
August 9th: The Pied Piper
August 10th: Partners
August 11th: Barry Lyndon
August 12th: The Skull
August 13th: The Hellfire Club
August 14th: Blood of the Vampire
August 15th: Terror of the Tongs
August 16th: Pirates of Blood River
August 17th: The Devil-Ship Pirates
August 18th: Jess Franco’s Count Dracula
August 19th: Dracula A.D. 1972
August 20th: The Stranglers of Bombay
August 21st: Man, Woman & Child
August 22nd: The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane
August 23rd: The Young Philadelphians
August 24th: The Rack
August 25th: Until They Sail
August 26th: Somebody Up There Likes Me
August 27th: The Set-Up
August 28th: The Devil & Daniel Webster
August 29th: Cat People
August 30th: The Curse of the Cat People
August 31st: The 7th Victim
September 1st: The Ghost Ship
September 2nd: Isle of the Dead
September 3rd: Bedlam
September 4th: Black Sabbath
September 5th: Black Sunday
September 6th: Twitch of the Death Nerve
September 7th: Tragic Ceremony
September 8th: Lisa & The Devil
September 9th: Baron Blood
September 10th: A Shot In The Dark
September 11th: The Pink Panther
September 12th: The Return of the Pink Panther
September 13th: The Pink Panther Strikes Again
September 14th: Revenge of the Pink Panther
September 15th: Trail of the Pink Panther
September 16th: The Real Glory
September 17th: The Winning of Barbara Worth
September 18th: The Cowboy and the Lady
September 19th: Dakota
September 20th: Red River
September 21st: Terminal Station
September 22nd: The Search
September 23rd: Act of Violence
September 24th: Houdini
September 25th: Money From Home
September 26th: Papa’s Delicate Condition
September 27th: Dillinger
September 28th: Battle of the Bulge
September 29th: Daisy Kenyon
September 30th: Laura
October 1st: The Dunwich Horror
October 2nd: Experiment In Terror

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