Comfortable and Furious

The Devil’s Rain (1975)



Like I told you, The Devil’s Rain stars Ernest Borgnine, William Shatner, and John Travolta.


Yep, plus a very young Tom Skerrit, a jacked-up muscle-car driving Keenen Wynn and the high priest of the Church of Satan himself–Anton LaVey–are all present.


Will you stop saying “what?” I’ve never heard of a country named “What”.

In the wake of the success of Rosemary’s Baby, lots of other SATAN!!! films got made and quickly. You have got to cash in while the pocket books are open. Of course, while Rosemary’s Baby was a huge financial and critical success (and one of Polanski’s great films), The Devil’s Rain would get you kicked out of a community college film class.


Holy Christ he sucked! Look, I like the original Star Trek as much as the next non-virgin, but I can think of only two worse performances in film history. One is Natalie Portman in… Why split hairs? Natalie Portman in every film she’s made since The Professional (“Leon”), and the other is Lindsay Crouse in Desperate Hours. Though I should point out that like Crouse, at least Shatner’s performance is so awful it’s noteworthy. Portman should be shoved into an old crate and dumped at sea.

Stick to the movie at hand

You’re right, sorry. Anyhow, for some unexplained reason, Shatner is dressed as a cowboy and wears this ridiculous straw cowboy hat the whole time. For some other reason, he never quite manages to get it on his head straight. I read somewhere that after Star Trek, Shatner returned to his homeland (Canada) and did mostly Shakespeare festivals for the next decade or so before returning to fame and fortune as TJ Hooker.

The Devil’s Rain came out in 1975 so that’s about a decade after Star Trek ended. Shatner looks so much like a stage actor it is perplexing. In addition to his usual pretentious mispronunciation of every other word, he over-emotes, pauses for no apparent reason, stares out intently into the nothingness–goofy, goofy shit. Though, I should add that he gets an inverted pentagram burned into his chest just before Ernest Borgnine crucifies him upside down.


I said, “stop it.”  Say “What” again. I dare you…I double-dog dare you.

Sorry, but that sounds good!

Meh, it was all right. I mean, let’s be honest; branding and executing William Shatner has been mankind’s dream for four decades now, but director Robert Fuest was so high out of his fucking mind on coke (as were all involved–how else to explain away the impressively horrendous and humiliating things the actors were forced to say and do?) that he screwed it up. Though, it must be noted that after making out with his own mother (Satan’s totally a jerk), Shatner lets out an awesome Ned Flander’s like high-pitched shriek.

Was Borgnine at least good?

He seemed to be channeling the same ecstatic rage he brought to the far superior Emperor of the North Pole, where he got to run around like a mad man and bash hobos in the head with a hammer for ninety minutes. Here, he basically uses that trademarked look of sinister delight we see so often from Ernest and chant a lot of what passed for evil sounding stuff thirty-years ago. He did make the international hand-sign for the devil (unless you’re a fascist Christian Texan asshole–hook ’em horns my ass) whenever he chanted “satanica in extremis ab incunabulis” (or whatever).

Care to comment on the plot?


Come on, man.

Fine. Borgnine’s character–Corbis–was the leader of a Satanic cult of pilgrims 300-hundred-years ago. Shatner was his right-hand man. Only he was named Martin Fyffe and there was this book that was totally important for some reason, but Martin’s wife gave it to the town’s reverend and all the Satan worshipping pilgrims got burned alive at the stake. Fast forward to 1975 and Shatner, who is now a guy named Mark Preston, is in possession of the book and he has to go out to this ghost town in desert where Borgnine–who is also dressed as a cowboy–is hanging out and exchange the book for his mother and…


What? You wanted to hear about the plot.

I was, er, mistaken

Too late now, fat body. Shatner and Borgnine get into this “my faith is better than your faith” type of argument, culminating in Borgnine ushering Shatner into the chapel, which conveniently has a full-blown Satanic mass going on. Shatner’s faith in Jesus (ha-ha–William Shatner is a Jew!) is no match for the power of Satan and soon the protective cross-medallion around his neck turns into a Ball Python! Note to Hollywood: Will you please stop trying to scare us with ball fucking pythons? They won’t even eat their rats, let alone inflict any type of harm upon a human. My old ball, Ralph, didn’t eat a fucking thing for eleven months. It’s the equivalent of trying to frighten the shit out of an audience with a basset hound.

What?  [Blam, Blam, Blam!]

Sorry, that just rally bugged me. (trying to stop the bleeding)  Um… fuck… Oh yeah! Tom Skerritt is Shatner’s brother, Tom, and him and his wife (who has ESP or something) go to the town to look for Mark. They know something has happened to him when they find a shirt with “Preston” written in bloody four-inch high letter on it. Uh, some other stuff happens and all the Satanists melt and then die. Can I stop now?

Yes, please do so. Oh wait. You said Anton LaVey was in this?

Yeah, but he was useless. He played a high priest, said nothing and wore the most inexplicably stupid looking hat/mask thing. Imagine if somebody crafted a combination 40s-era football helmet/driving glasses out of a piece of furniture from the old Las Vegas Aladdin. Awkward! LaVay was also the technical advisor for the picture, which is doubly odd since the Satanists are such retarded moaning pussies.

Well, that’s too bad. Why is it called The Devil’s Rain instead of The Devil’s Rein?

Man, you told me I could stop talking about the plot!

Sorry. Why?

Jerk. And actually, I’m not totally sure. There is a lot of rain in the film, but I think it has more to do with the fact that in a pit below the alter in the most inverted and blasphemous church, there is an out door fire pit thing with a goat’s head on top and a TV screen in the middle. Inside which all the souls of the evil burned at the stake pilgrims live. And they are constantly being drenched in rain.


I really don’t care, man.

You mentioned melting. Were the effects good?

TERRIBLE. Some of the very worst, ever! 99% of the effects consisted of covering a Satanist’s face from the nose up with wax and blacking out there eyes. When they got wet, they would melt. When they got shot they would bleed pink and green wax.

You’re making that up

I wish. It was totally awful. Though, I must admit that Borgnine’s makeup was really great looking. Until he melted of course, which looked stupid.

Anything else?

The ending, which consisted of almost nothing but the Satanists melting and moaning, went on for twenty-minutes and felt like thirty. Plus, it all looked terrible.

Aren’t you going to mention Werner Herzog?

Fuck off. [Blam, Blam, Blam!]