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The Curator of Schlock #94 by Jeff Shuster

The Devil’s Rain

Shatner versus Satan? My money’s on Shatner!

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There are days I really don’t like my job as the Curator of Schlock, days where’s I’d rather just up and quit and raise ferrets for a living. That’s because every so often I run into a movie that’s so bad that I just want smash my DVD player and exsanguinate my plasma TV. You do not promise me a movie that features William Shatner versus an army of Satanists and the devil himself–Ernest Borgnine–and then switch out William Shatner for Tom Skerritt! I’m so angry that I want to type out this review IN ALL CAPS.

WHAT MOVIE AM I TALKING ABOUT?

It’s 1975’s The Devil’s Rain of course! What? You’ve never heard of it? Robert Fuest of Dr. Phibes fame directed this clunker. He also directed Revenge of the Stepford Wives which will make an appearance on this blog someday.

Anyway, I guess I need to discuss the plot. William Shatner plays this cowboy looking guy…well, it’s not in the old west, it’s in modern times. And the town he lives in was once inhabited by Pilgrims with the buckle hats and everything, which I guess means it really wasn’t out west. Shatner is wearing a cowboy hat at any rate.

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Anyway, he drives out to a ghost town to meet up with Ernest Borgnine who is also wearing a cowboy outfit. Borgnine wants some book that Shatner’s family has passed down from generation to generation, one of these forbidden tomes that people keep hanging on to just so some power hungry Satanists can swipe it from them. Shatner declares that his faith can beat Borgnine’s Satanism any day of the week.

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Shatner enters a church that’s filled with Satanists all chanting “Satan is good. Satan is my pal.” At least, that’s what I remember them chanting. Shatner starts reciting The Lord’s Prayer, but he falters, pulls out a gun, and shoots one of the Satanists who then oozes yellow slime.

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Did I forget to mention that these Satanists have no eyes? Ewwwwwwww! Borgnine is leading the ceremony all decked in a red robe and says Shatner failed or something and now his soul belongs to Satan. Shatner loses his eyes like the rest of them and Borgnine turns into Satan himself with the horns and everything.

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So who else is in this movie? Ida Lupino plays Shatner’s mother. I know I should know who she is. I’m sure she starred in something with Ray Milland. Anton LaVey is in this movie as himself, I assume. I guess he was brought on as a Satanic consultant.

I do give props to the way they portray the Satanists in this movie. They’ve got the black robes and the pentagrams and everything. Anyway, Shatner smashes some urn with a bunch of souls in it and the Satanists begin to melt. Yeah, every Satanist in the movie melts and it takes like fifteen minutes for them to completely deteriorate. I think the director thought all would be forgiven if the audience just got the chance to see some Satanists dissolve into slime.This movie doesn’t quite hold up the way The Wizard of Oz does.

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Oh, and Tom Skerritt escapes with his beautiful wife who is (obviously) Ernest Borgnine in disguise.

 

Five Things I Learned from The Devil’s Rain

  1. Death Wish 5 should have featured Satanists as the main bad guys. It could have ended with Paul Kersey falling into hell and shooting The Giggler again.
  2. Tom Skerritt and his mustache are not welcome at The Museum of Schlock.
  3. William Shatner does not make a convincing Pilgrim.
  4. Satanists need to come up with less complicated plans for world domination.
  5. William Shatner is still a hero even when he’s a hollowed-eyed Satanist.

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Photo by Leslie Salas

Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124, and episode 131) is an MFA candidate at the University of Central Florida.

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