Damn you, Corbis!!!

Please add this to the list of things you never knew you wanted to see: a close-up of William Shatner with gaping black holes in his eye sockets. Seriously. It’s like seeing an actual Michael Meyers mask come to life! And it’s my favorite moment in The Devil’s Rain, this month’s Final Girl film of the month pick.

This is one of those great, bad 70s horror movies with a cast full of gems. It’s Shatner, Tom Skerritt, and Ida Lupino vs. Ernest Borgnine and some devil worshipers. And Eddie Albert is there too! For reasons I was never quite clear on! Yes, he’s the obligatory ESP expert which one must have to do a top-tier bad 70s horror movie, but…let’s just say the threads of the plot don’t really come together there.

Okay, let’s begin at the beginning. Which is practically an in medias res beginning (that means everythin’ done started without us!), which is actually sort of cool for this type of film. Ida’s fretting, and a storm’s a-brewin’. In comes her son, Mark Preston (that’s Shatner). Seems Dad’s missing and somebody named Corbis took him. Then dad shows up and everything’s okay, but then his face totally melts!!!! You’ll be impressed by the decent melty effects, but don’t be too happy about that: by the end of the movie you’ll never want to see another face melt again, and that will be a sad feeling indeed.

See, the Preston family and this Jonathan Corbis have been at odds for about 300 years over this book. It’s an evil book, filled with evil bloody signatures of sold souls. Corbis can’t deliver these souls to the devil (or whatever) until he has the book. Naturally, the Prestons have hidden this in a place no one could ever get to: under a floorboard in their living room. Clever bastards!

Somehow, Corbis kidnaps mom in about two seconds while Mark’s out at the car. Naturally he goes to track her down, and ends up in a spaghetti western for a quick genre mash-up when he confronts Corbis in a ghost town. It’s all pretty neat at this point, actually. I was digging the horror/western thing. But never fear, we’ll soon devolve into nonsense and all will be right with the world again.

I’ll skip some of the confrontations and ceremonies that go on and just tell you that, after some pomp and circumstance, all the Prestons end up with no eyeballs, and their souls caught up in this orb called The Devil’s Rain. EXCEPT: other brother Tom Skerritt, who apparently has been kept in the dark about this Corbis business! Until he gets a telegram about it at just about the same time his vaguely psychic wife has some visions about the same thing. Naturally. They go sticking their noses in the devil worshipers’ business and eventually end up saving the day….or do they?! You won’t care because you’ll still be reveling in the awesomeness of seeing Ernest Borgnine in his goat make-up.

This is not the best bad horror movie ever (ahem, Scarecrows), but it’s worth it for the Shatnery goodness and all the rest. Some good trivia going on with this one too: John Travolta pops up for a minute (I read conflicting reports about whether this was his first or second film role); and the real High Priest of the Church of Satan was a technical adviser. The real guy! Lending credibility to the whole thing, just like devil worshipers always do. This guy clearly saw many a face melt in his time, cuz I tell you, the meltiness seems accurate.



1 Response to “Damn you, Corbis!!!”

  1. 1 Chelsea September 10, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Awww you need to come down here and do bad horror movie night with me.

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Downton Gabby: podcasting about Downton Abbey from a funny, foul-mouthed, feminist perspective

Quick Lit: reading one short story a day in 2015

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The MacGuffin: archive of my days as a film critic

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