Dawn of the Home Video Revolution or Ernest Borgnine Made Me Do It!

Ernest Borgnine Made Me Do ItThe 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.The Night He Came Home

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7 Responses to Dawn of the Home Video Revolution or Ernest Borgnine Made Me Do It!

  1. JT says:

    I missed the Dawn of the Home Video Revolution as well as The Devil’s Rain.

    I DID see a movie called “Kingdom of the Spiders” with William Shatner, however.

    In my opinion, you could sift and troll in your local sewer plant and any porta-potties you could find for many,many moons and be hard pressed to find a bigger turd.

  2. JT says:

    I saw a movie I think was called “Mistresses” about 3 young guys trying to make a film in LA.

    They had 3 potential financial backers, all of whom wanted their mistresses to be the female lead.

    Two of them had the same mistress, unbeknownst to them.

    The 3 aspiring film makers spotted Ernest Borgnine loading groceries into his car in a supermarket parking lot.

    They called to him and waved, and he smiled and waved back.

    They had a conversation something like this….

    “Ernest Borgnine ! He could be the male lead.”

    “Nah. He’s too old”

    “But he’s a NAME ! And he wouldn’t want a lot of money”

    Then they shouted “Ernest ! Hey Ernest !”, as they ran toward him.

    Ernest, seeing that they wanted interaction with him, jumped into his car and sped away.

  3. JT says:

    The cheesiest fake blood scene I ever saw was in “Hombre” when Paul Newman shot the two guys off the stagecoach.

    Good movie, though.

  4. JT says:

    All I remember is Piper Laurie sitting in a dimly lit house talking about the past.


    Maybe it was Piper’s biography.

    Just sayin’.

  5. JT says:

    Speaking of “up and comers” and ” down and outers”….Little Anthony and the Imperials performed at my high school senior prom.

    The year was 1972.

    A little past their “sell by” date.

    They put on a good show, though.

  6. Joe Williams says:

    I may be wrong, but I think movies used a commercially available stage blood that would show up well on both dark and light fabrics. I remember Tom Savini saying that a 3M product was used in the original Dawn of the Dead and it sort of looked magenta. That all seemed to change when Dick Smith started mixing up his own batches of fake blood for movies like The Godfather and Taxi Driver. It’s also when movies got a lot bloodier.

  7. Joe Williams says:

    Oh, and thanks, JT, for all of the comments. We really do appreciate them!

    Did Little Anthony do all of their hits? Twice?

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