The great Ernest Borgnine as the devil in The Devil’s Rain from 1975. This was one of those typical 70’s films that featured stalwart veterans like Mr Borgnine and Keenan Wynn, up-and-comers like John Travolta and down-and-outers like Ida Lupino and William Shatner. This was also a pretty neat film in that it featured a lot of prosthetic make-up and effects courtesy of the Burman studios. It was rare for low rent movies to have makeup effects particularly decent work like the devil and the many melting Satanists at the end of the picture. Most films just sloshed fake. poster paint blood around.
Last week, I started a look back at the dawn of the home video revolution with a look at some clutter that I can’t bring myself to discard. In the late 1970s, the three broadcast networks were still the dominant if narrow funnel for televised entertainment. Cable Television started to show up and spread beyond New York City and other areas with bad over-the-air reception like the Jersey Shore. VCRs were starting to descend in price, but the major movie distributors weren’t on board. “Why would anyone want to own movies on tape?” they thought. Smaller companies like VCI seemed like they saw the potential of this new media first and dove in with a catalog of schlock. These posts and some of the images are from an old VCI promo.
The Devil’s Rain was part of VCI’s library and my brother and I probably rented it from the combination liquor/video store that carried a huge line of schlock. CBS used to run this film late Friday nights back then, but we had to rent it to see it UNCUT!!! It turns out that CBS really didn’t cut out all that much because it was a PG rated film. There may have been some curse words excised from the broadcast version, but I don’t think they cut a single frame of the Burman crew melting down Ernest Borgnine’s flock.
This panel of the VCI promo also featured Ruby which was one of the girl’s name horror movies that followed in the wake of Brian DePalma’s Carrie. Ruby also had Carries mom, Piper Laurie. I think I’ve seen bits of it, but never watched it all the way through. I think I was hoping for a Carrie ripoff with some high school revenge, but it has noting to do with proms gone out of bounds. All I remember is Piper Laurie sitting in a dimly lit house talking about the past. I’ll have to give it another chance one of these days.
Tower of Evil also known as The Horror of Snape Island is another one I’ve never seen. It may be that our video store didn’t carry it or it was passed over in favor of some other horror craptacular. Maybe we would have rented it if it was still called Horror of Snape Island.
One more thing about The Devil’s Rain before I go. For some reason the damned would lose their eyeballs which was creepy, but not bloody or violent enough for an R rating. The Shat gets the treatment, and he does a hell of a job chewing up the scenery and looking just like his Don Post mask that John Carpenter would make famous a few years later in Halloween.