The Devil's Rain (1975)

PG | 85 mins | Horror | 1975

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HISTORY

The Devil’s Rain marked John Travolta’s debut in a theatrical motion picture. Although the cast included a number of celebrity actors, The Devil’s Rain received tepid response from critics. Various reviews, however, such those on 24 Jun 1975 in DV and on 15 Aug 1975 in LAT , commended the special effects, particularly the melting wax makeup designed by The Burman’s Studio. The studio’s founder, Tom Burman, was an uncredited assistant to makeup designer John Chambers on the production of Planet of the Apes (1968, see entry).
       Reviews from LAT , as well as Var on 25 Jun 1975 and Box on 7 Jul 1975, mention the involvement of authentic Satanists in the picture. The Church of Satan’s founder and high priest, Anton Szandor LaVey, is credited as technical advisor. LaVey was also cast in the role of “High Priest” while his partner and co-founder of the Church of Satan, Diane Hegarty, played “Priscilla Corbis.” Although the couple never married, Diane Hegarty is credited with the name Diane LaVey. According to Anton LaVey’s “Nine Satanic Statements” from The Satanic Bible , The Church of Satan does not worship the devil, as is portrayed by the Corbis cult in The Devil’s Rain , but rather the symbolic representations of Satan and occultism that are deemed immoral by Christianity, such as indulgence, vengeance and selective kindness.
       According to HR production charts, shooting began 24 Jan 1975 and concluded 24 Mar 1975 in Durango, Mexico.



Academic Network Georgia Istitute of Technology; student: Mae Tidman; Advisor: Vinicius ... More Less

The Devil’s Rain marked John Travolta’s debut in a theatrical motion picture. Although the cast included a number of celebrity actors, The Devil’s Rain received tepid response from critics. Various reviews, however, such those on 24 Jun 1975 in DV and on 15 Aug 1975 in LAT , commended the special effects, particularly the melting wax makeup designed by The Burman’s Studio. The studio’s founder, Tom Burman, was an uncredited assistant to makeup designer John Chambers on the production of Planet of the Apes (1968, see entry).
       Reviews from LAT , as well as Var on 25 Jun 1975 and Box on 7 Jul 1975, mention the involvement of authentic Satanists in the picture. The Church of Satan’s founder and high priest, Anton Szandor LaVey, is credited as technical advisor. LaVey was also cast in the role of “High Priest” while his partner and co-founder of the Church of Satan, Diane Hegarty, played “Priscilla Corbis.” Although the couple never married, Diane Hegarty is credited with the name Diane LaVey. According to Anton LaVey’s “Nine Satanic Statements” from The Satanic Bible , The Church of Satan does not worship the devil, as is portrayed by the Corbis cult in The Devil’s Rain , but rather the symbolic representations of Satan and occultism that are deemed immoral by Christianity, such as indulgence, vengeance and selective kindness.
       According to HR production charts, shooting began 24 Jan 1975 and concluded 24 Mar 1975 in Durango, Mexico.



Academic Network Georgia Istitute of Technology; student: Mae Tidman; Advisor: Vinicius Navarro. lfr. 7/2010 More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
LOCATION
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
7 Jul 1975
p. 4794.
Daily Variety
24 Jun 1975.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jan 1975
p. 29.
Hollywood Reporter
2 May 1975
p. 22.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jun 1975
p. 5.
Los Angeles Times
15 Aug 1975
p. 19.
New York Times
8 Aug 1975
p. 11.
Variety
25 Jun 1975
p. 24.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Sandy Howard Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
1st asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d unit cam
Gaffer
Key grip
Photographed in
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
Mus ed
Mus consultant
SOUND
Sd mixer
Sd eff ed
Dial ed
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff by
Spec photog eff by, Film Effects of Hollywood
Spec photog eff by, Film Effects of Hollywood
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Title backgrounds from the paintings of
MAKEUP
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
In charge of prod
Tech adv
High Priest of the Church of Satan
Prod assoc
Unit pub
Videotape prod by, Sonex International Corporation
Videotape prod by, Sonex International Corporation
Prod coord
Locations by
DETAILS
Release Date:
1975
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 7 August 1975
Los Angeles opening: 13 August 1975
Copyright Claimant:
Bryanston Distributors, Inc.
Copyright Date:
18 June 1975
Copyright Number:
LP44894
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
85
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
Mexico, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
24302
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

While Emma Preston anxiously awaits news of her missing husband she is consoled by her friend, John, but her son, Mark, returns home with no leads. Hearing a dog bark outside, they step into the rainstorm and find Steve Preston, bloody and deranged. Eyeless, with melting, waxy skin, Steve warns his wife and son that Corbis is waiting for a book belonging to him in the desert town of Red Stone. As Steve falls to the ground, his flesh dissolves in the rain and he utters a Latin phrase that Emma translates as “In the name of Satan.” Inside, she insists the man who appeared to them was not Steve, but a manifestation of the devil, and procures a large book from underneath a loose stone in the floor. She begs Mark to take the book to Corbis, but he refuses. Pulling a gun from a drawer, he says that he will fight Corbis on his own terms, and Emma gives him a gold amulet for protection. When he returns the book to its hiding place in the floor, Steve’s truck honks outside. Mark discovers the truck empty except for a wax figure of a man impaled on the steering wheel. As lightening strikes, he hears a woman’s screams and commotion coming from the house. Inside, Mark finds John hanging from his feet and helps him down. Mark yells Corbis’ name in anger, then looks for his mother in the upturned house and finds only the amulet. Heading out to search for Corbis, Mark places the amulet around his neck. When he stops in the ghost ... +


While Emma Preston anxiously awaits news of her missing husband she is consoled by her friend, John, but her son, Mark, returns home with no leads. Hearing a dog bark outside, they step into the rainstorm and find Steve Preston, bloody and deranged. Eyeless, with melting, waxy skin, Steve warns his wife and son that Corbis is waiting for a book belonging to him in the desert town of Red Stone. As Steve falls to the ground, his flesh dissolves in the rain and he utters a Latin phrase that Emma translates as “In the name of Satan.” Inside, she insists the man who appeared to them was not Steve, but a manifestation of the devil, and procures a large book from underneath a loose stone in the floor. She begs Mark to take the book to Corbis, but he refuses. Pulling a gun from a drawer, he says that he will fight Corbis on his own terms, and Emma gives him a gold amulet for protection. When he returns the book to its hiding place in the floor, Steve’s truck honks outside. Mark discovers the truck empty except for a wax figure of a man impaled on the steering wheel. As lightening strikes, he hears a woman’s screams and commotion coming from the house. Inside, Mark finds John hanging from his feet and helps him down. Mark yells Corbis’ name in anger, then looks for his mother in the upturned house and finds only the amulet. Heading out to search for Corbis, Mark places the amulet around his neck. When he stops in the ghost town of Red Stone for water he is approached by a man who asks if he has brought the book. The man identifies himself as Corbis. As he leads Mark into a decrepit church, Mark challenges him to a test of faith. Corbis agrees that if Mark is able to leave the church as he entered it, his mother and father will be restored to him, but if he loses faith, he must give Corbis the book. Inside the church, hooded figures chant while Corbis, cloaked in red, leads a satanic ceremony and Mark clutches the amulet and recites The Lord’s Prayer. Corbis insists that his faith is pure, not evil, and shows Mark that Emma is now part of the congregation. She tells her son to join them in their divine peace, but he sees that she has no eyes and draws his gun, shooting one of the hooded congregation members. As Mark backs outside and announces that he has successfully emerged from the church with his faith intact, Corbis summons the devil and transforms Mark’s amulet into a snake. Mark pulls the snake from his neck, and, although it changes back into the amulet when it falls to the ground, Mark is pursued by the hooded figures and unable to reclaim it. Corbis tells Mark that the Preston family name will soon be no longer. Meanwhile, in an operating theater, a class of student doctors questions an experiment performed by Dr. Richards. He argues that the young woman in his test, Julie Preston, exhibits proof that the human subconscious can be raised to a conscious level because she is controlling her own breathing and heart rate in a comatose state. The woman’s husband, Dr. Tom Preston, contends that the experiment is safe, and Dr. Richards announces that they will soon identify the pattern of brainwaves that signify ESP activity. As Julie describes her feelings of being drawn toward a scene in the distance, she sees flashes of images from Corbis’s church and screams. Tom, who received a message during Julie’s experiment, heads home with his wife to search for his missing parents and brother. Unable to enlist the assistance of Sheriff Owens, Tom and Julie head to Red Stone unprotected and tell John to expect the arrival of Dr. Richards. Before they leave, John shows them a waxy substance on the porch where Steve had melted the night before. Meanwhile, Corbis tortures Mark to procure information on the location of the book. Upon arriving in Red Stone and exploring the satanic church, Tom and Julie discover wax on a crucifix and Mark’s shirt nearby with their last name written on it in blood. Hearing explosions outside, Tom and Julie find their car in flames. As Mark’s station wagon speeds away, Tom fires shots and, as it crashes into a porch, the driver escapes into an abandoned boarding house. When Tom wrestles the man into submission, Julie looks into his empty sockets and has an intuitive vision of Corbis’s past. In the 17th century, Corbis announces to his congregation that the book holding his power to lead them to Satan’s everlasting kingdom is missing, and demands to know who has betrayed them. His inquisition is interrupted by a mob that accuses Corbis of conspiring with Satan to bring evil into the world. As the mob breaks down his door, Corbis gives holy water and “the wax of images” to a young boy and tells him to continue their traditions. As the boy escapes from the mob, he watches Corbis burn at the stake. Corbis leaves a curse of vengeance on the descendants of Martin Fyffe and his wife, Aaronessa, who used the book to expose Corbis, and he vows to reclaim the book from future generations of the Fyffe family. When Julie awakens from the vision, she tells Tom “they’re here” and says that they should leave. After driving away in Mark’s station wagon, Tom gets out of the car to return to Red Stone, despite Julie’s warning. As she continues on to get help, the demonic Emma appears in the back seat of the car and Julie crashes into a tree, screaming. That evening, disguised in a black cloak, Tom follows a crowd of chanting, hooded figures to an outdoor ritual where Corbis transforms himself into the horned devil. As the devil, Corbis burns a wax figure to purify Mark’s soul, and Mark screams in pain. Sprinkling the “holy water of forgetfulness” on Mark’s face, the devil chants in Latin and, as he summons the spirit of Martin Fyffe to inhabit Mark’s body, Mark’s eyes disappear from their sockets. Tom watches from the crowd as Mark praises the devil in prayer, but a congregation member exposes Tom. When Tom backs away, he finds that Emma is one of the worshippers and fires his rifle. Shooting several hooded figures, he escapes from Red Stone. Back home, Dr. Richards tells Tom that the police are looking for Julie and shows him the book. They discover it is a registry of Corbis’s converts whose names are signed in blood. Inside, a letter from Aaronessa to her descendants begs them to keep the book away from Corbis so that he never has the power to deliver the souls of his parishioners to hell. She writes that she would rather have Martin “suffer the torments of The Devil’s Rain” in purgatory, so that he might find a way to redemption, than live eternally in hell. As Dr. Richards shows Tom that the book is signed by Mark, he points out that Mark’s name was not there the previous evening, and they proceed to Red Stone to look for Julie. Meanwhile, Julie is presented to the devil for his pleasure. In the church, Dr. Richards and Tom uncover a pit beneath the altar containing The Devil’s Rain, a glass vessel of souls trapped by Corbis for 300 years awaiting deliverance. Sheriff Owens then arrives, reveals his eyeless face, and attacks Tom with an ax. As Dr. Richards pulls Sheriff Owens away, the sheriff falls into the pit and explodes into a plume of fire. As Corbis and his followers walk in procession towards the church carrying Julie, Dr. Richards and Tom hide, but mistakenly leave Corbis’s book at the altar. A congregation member finds the book and gives it to Corbis, who begins his ritual, but when Tom sees Julie, he jumps onto the crowd and is restrained by Corbis’s disciples. Dr. Richards threatens to destroy The Devil’s Rain if Tom and Julie are not released, but the demonic Mark, now embodied by Fyffe’s spirit, grabs the vessel from him. Dr. Richards tells the spirit of Fyffe that he has the choice to end his torment by destroying the vessel; without The Devil’s Rain, Corbis has no power. Dr. Richards begs Fyffe to believe, as Aaronessa, that he can be saved, while Corbis argues that Fyffe’s soul will never be at rest without allegiance to Satan. Muttering Aaronessa’s name, Mark’s embodiment of Fyffe slams the vessel into the floor of the church, unleashing a thunderstorm. With rain coming through the church rafters, Corbis transforms into the devil and attempts to overpower Tom. The rain, however, causes Corbis to melt. In his weakened state, Corbis falls into the pit beneath the altar and explodes. While his melting, screaming disciples make their way outside, Julie is drawn to the edge of the pit, but Tom rescues her from the fire. Just as Corbis’ hand reaches out from the pit to escape, the church detonates into a ball of fire. Watching from outside, Julie embraces Tom. In his arms, however, she transforms into Corbis, who cackles at his victory. Trapped inside The Devil’s Rain, Julie screams Tom’s name in terror. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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