Friday, March 6, 2020

Are you ready for the most HORRIBLE WEEKEND OF THE YEAR?


It happens every year.  Sometime on a Saturday, in the middle of the night, a demonic hand reaches out, changes our clocks and erases an hour of sleep from our lives.

This is how I dream about it.
Your nightmare fuel may vary.

I have no idea why we continue to submit ourselves to the scourge that is Daylight Savings Time, as it often leaves most of us in a perpetual state of grogginess for several days, and can cause health issues.  It's PURE EVIL, yet we have to keep putting ourselves through it every few months. 

But here's something that might make you smile this weekend, the latest edition of the Weekly Update.  It might not be a full of events as the weeks later in the year, but it's loaded with some great movies, music, stage events and MORE!

And speaking of later in the year, head over to the Horror/Sci Fi/Fantasy Calendar, updated with details on movie series, conventions, festivals and other amazing genre events coming in 2020 and beyond!!

If you are hosting an event that would interest Pacific Northwest Horror/Sci Fi/Fantasy Fans, send me an email with the details and promotional artwork to shadowoverportland@live.com and I'll take care of the rest.  And remember, having your event listed on the site is FREE!

From Ashland, OR, to Vancouver, BC, The Shadow Over Portland has you covered!

Now Playing

The Lodge, a 2019 psychological horror film from directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, plays at the Darkside Cinema (215 SW 4th St in Corvallis, OR) through Thursday, March 5.  For more details, including showtimes, visit the Darkside Cinema website.

Film Submissions

Submissions are being accepted for the 2020 H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, OR, and the third biennial H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Providence, RI.  And the stars have aligned for you, as you only need to click this FilmFreeway link for all the details on submitting your Lovecraftian short or feature film to BOTH festivals.  Final submission date is July 28, 2020.

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From the people who created the HUMP film festival comes SLAY, a chance for you to make a short horror film (up to 8 minutes in length) and possibly win some cash!  Your film can be terrifying or funny, gory or campy, animated, or whatever your twisted mind can think of.  Prizes will be awarded for the Goriest, Funniest and Scariest film, along with a Best in Show award.  The submission date is Friday, August 7, 2020 at 5 pm PST, and the films will be screened in Portland and Seattle on October 17, 2020.  For more details, visit the SLAY Film Fest website.

March, 2020

Friday, March 6

King Ghidora, The Latter Day Skanks and Wallcrawler will be performing at Erebus (409 Pacific Ave S in Kelso, WA) tonight.  The show starts at 8 pm, and admission is just $7 and you must be 21 or older to attend.  For more details, visit the Facebook Event Page

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Quentin Dupieux's homage to "'no reason' - that most powerful element of style," the horror film Rubber, plays at the 5th Avenue Cinema (510 SW Hall St in Portland, OR) through Sunday, March 8 in GLORIOUS 35mm.  And yes, this one is weird, as a discarded tire become sentient and starts out on a killing spree.  Think Jason with treads.  For more details, visit the 5th Avenue Cinema website.

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The Beacon (4405 Rainier Ave S in Seattle, WA) presents the feminist commentary on slasher films, The Slumber Party Massacre, tonight at 9 pm.  Sure, it has an important message, but it also is a damn fine slasher flick as well!  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit The Beacon website.

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The Academy Theater (7818 SE Stark St in Portland, OR) will screen the witchcraft classic The Craft through Thursday, March 12.  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit the Academy Theater website.

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The Academy Theater (7818 SE Stark St in Portland, OR) will screen Richard Stanley's version of H. P. Lovecraft's Color Out of Space, starring Nicholas Cage, through Thursday, March 12.  For more details and advance tickets sales, visit the Academy Theater website.

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The Geekenders presents A Marvel-ous Comic Strip tonight at the Rio Theatre (1660 East Broadway in Vancouver, BC) at 8 pm.  For more details and advance ticket sales (be aware, tickets are SELLING OUT), visit the Facebook Event Page.

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The Friday Late Night Movie at the Rio Theatre (1660 East Broadway in Vancouver, BC) is Richard Stanley's sci fi/horror film Hardware.  The show starts at 11:30 pm.  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit the Facebook Event Page.

Saturday, March 7

The Rio Theatre (1660 East Broadway in Vancouver, BC) presents the anime version of Ghost in the Shell tonight at 11:15 pm.  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit the Rio Theatre website.

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The Rio Theatre (1660 East Broadway in Vancouver, BC) will show the latest horror film from the writer/director team of Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, The Lodge tonight and tomorrow.  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit the Facebook Event Page.

Sunday, March 8

Frank and Zed, an all-puppet monster movie made in Portland, OR, premieres tonight at the Cinema 21 (616 NW 21st Ave in Portland, OR) at 8:30 pm.  Cast, crew and PUPPETS will be in attendance.  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit the Facebook Event Page.

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The Rio Theatre (1660 East Broadway in Vancouver, BC) will show Rabid, the remake of David Cronenberg's body-horror classic by filmmakers Jen and Sylvia Soska, tonight at 9:30 pm.  The Soskas will be in attendance for a Q and A after the film.  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit the Facebook Event Page.

Tuesday, March 10

Burlynomicon returns to the Lovecraft Bar (421 SE Grand Ave in Portland, OR) this evening.  Doors open at 8:30 pm, with the show starting at 9:30 pm.  Admission is $15, and you must be 21 or older to attend.  For more details, including a list of performers and advance ticket sales, visit the Facebook Event Page.

Thursday, March 12

The Emerald City Comic Con takes place through Sunday at the Washington State Convention Center (800 Convention Pl in Seattle, WA).  Guests include Mark Ruffalo (the MCU Hulk), Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson and Michael J. Fox (Back to the Future) and MANY MORE!  For all the details, visit the Facebook Event Page or the ECCC website.

UPDATE: The ECCC has been CANCELLED due to concerns about the COVID-19 (the coronavirus), and will be rescheduled later in the year.  Visit the website linked above for more details.

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Nocturnal Emissions brings that other 1981 werewolf film, Joe Dante's classic The Howling, to the Northwest Film Forum (1515 12th Ave in Seattle, WA) tonight at 7:30 pm.  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit the Facebook Event Page.

Friday, March 13

Rocko Zevenbergen and The Bad Taste Video Team presents the local premiere of their first feature film, I NEED YOU DEAD, at 9:30 pm tonight at the Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd in Portland, OR).  The film follows DOOD (Estevan Munoz), a young punk living in Shmucksville, USA, who births a strage fleshy creature after a moment of total teen angst.  Now DOOD must find a way to kill the creature, the embodiment of his most self-deprecative thoughts, before he's convinced to get rid of himself.  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit the Hollywood Theatre website.

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Wyrd War presents exploitation filmmaker Stephanie Rothman's reimagining of the vampire mythos, The Velvet Vampire, at 7 pm tonight at the Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd in Portland, OR).  The film stars Cleste Yarnall (Beast of Blood) and Michael Blodgett (Beyond the Valley of the Dolls).  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit the Hollywood Theatre website.

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The Friday the 13th Haunted Taft Tour takes place this evening at 7 pm, starting at the Sapphire Center (4840 SE Highway 101 in Lincoln City, OR).  Learn about the Ghost Schooner of Siletz Pay, Lincoln City's Haunted Fire Truck, and the apparition showing up on the beaches since Prohibition.  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit the Facebook Event Page.

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The supernatural comedy Extra Ordinary, about a reluctant exorcist force to help a father rescue his daughter from a rock star who sold his soul for a second chance at fame, plays through Thursday, March 19 at the Grand Illusion Cinema (1403 NE 50th St in Seattle, WA).  For more details, visit the Grand Illusion website.

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The Beacon (4405 Rainier Ave S in Seattle, WA) presents the slasher flick with the GREATEST twist ending ever, Sleepaway Camp, tonight at 9:30 pm.  DO NOT spoil it for people seeing it for the first time!!  Instead, just enjoy their reaction to the final scene!  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit The Beacon website.

Saturday, March 14

Portland Sinful Walking Tour: Shanghaiers, Saloons, Skullduggery starts at 1 pm today at Floyd's Coffee Shop (932 SW 3rd Ave in Portland, OR).  Walk through Old town and hear the history of "Portland's naughty bits!"  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit the Facebook Event Page.

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VHS Uber Alles brings Phantom Brother, the story of "normal" young man with a zombie family killing people in a deserted house AND a drunken hillbilly foster family scheming to claim his inheritance, to the Grand Illusion Cinema (1403 NE 50th St in Seattle, WA) in GLORIOUS VHS!  Showtime is 9 pm and admission is just $2.  For all the details, visit the Grand Illusion website.

Sunday, March 15

Fathom Events is bringing the Eighth Wonder of the World back to theaters nationwide!  The 1933 classic King Kong will play at 1 and 4 pm today only.  And if you haven't seen this film on the big screen, DO NOT MISS IT!!!  I'm not kidding, DO NOT MISS IT!  For more details, including advance ticket sales and a list of locations near you, visit the Fathom Event Page.

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The Future is NOW: Film Noir Hybrids for the Nervous Generation series at the Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd in Portland, OR) will screen the grittiest, darkest post-apocalypse film from the 50s, Five, tonight at 7 pm in GLORIOUS 35mm.  As the last five people alive after a nuclear holocaust work to rebuild some sense of civilization, things start to fall apart as each succumb to their desires and prejudices.  The event is hosted by noir expert Elliot Lavine.  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit the Hollywood Theatre website.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Happy Ash Wednesday, Pacific Northwest Horror/Sci Fi/Fantasy Fans!


It might seem a strange headline for The Shadow Over Portland, but like last year, it allows me to use a groovy meme....

Come on, how could I not use this?

If you are celebrating Lent, I hope the next 40 days are fruitful for you.

As for this edition of the Weekly Update, it's a bit sparse.   I've found a few movies and music events to share, but not much else.  But as you know, things will start picking up in the coming months, so you'll want to keep an eye on the Horror/Sci Fi/Fantasy Calendar, where I've listed events running through January, 2021!  And you know more will be added as the year continues on.

If you have an event you want to share with Pacific Northwest fans, send me an email at shadowoverportland@live.com with the details and promotional artwork, and I'll add it to the site.  And remember, having your event posted is FREE!

From Ashland, OR, to Vancouver, BC, The Shadow Over Portland has you covered!

Now Playing

The Academy Theater (7818 SE Stark St in Portland, OR) is playing Richard Stanley's version of H. P. Lovecraft's Color Out of Space through Thursday, February 27.  For more details and showtimes, visit the Academy Theater website.

Film Submissions

Submissions are being accepted for the 2020 H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, OR, and the third biennial H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Providence, RI.  And the stars have aligned for you, as you only need to click this FilmFreeway link for all the details on submitting your Lovecraftian short or feature film to BOTH festivals.  Final submission date is July 28, 2020.

----------------

From the people who created the HUMP film festival comes SLAY, a chance for you to make a short horror film (up to 8 minutes in length) and possibly win some cash!  Your film can be terrifying or funny, gory or campy, animated, or whatever your twisted mind can think of.  Prizes will be awarded for the Goriest, Funniest and Scariest film, along with a Best in Show award.  The submission date is Friday, August 7, 2020 at 5 pm PST, and the films will be screened in Portland and Seattle on October 17, 2020.  For more details, visit the SLAY Film Fest website.

February, 2020

Wednesday, February 28

Tonight's Weird Wednesday feature at The Joy Cinema and Pub (11959 SW Pacific Highway in Tigard, OR) is "another top-secret hit..... that will knock your socks off."  So if you want to know the title of the film, you have to show up!  Showtime is 9:15 pm and admission is FREE, but you must be 18 or older to attend.  For more details, visit The Joy Cinema website.

Friday, February 28

The Beacon theater (4405 Rainier Ave S in Seattle, WA) will screen George Romero's Day of the Dead tonight at 9 pm.  Check this out if you can, as Tom Savini's effects are AMAZING on the big screen!  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit The Beacon website.

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The Beacon (4405 Rainier Ave S in Seattle, WA) the controversial classic Salo, or the 120 days of Sodom tonight at 6:30 pm and tomorrow evening at 5:30 pm.  If you're not familiar with it, be aware, this film is brutal and contains scenes of sexual torture and degradation.  You have been warned.  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit The Beacon website.

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The Lodge, a 2019 psychological horror film from directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, opens tonight at the Darkside Cinema (215 SW 4th St in Corvallis, OR).  For more details, including showtimes, visit the Darkside Cinema website.

Saturday, February 29

Dante's (350 W Burnside St in Portland, OR) brings rocker/body builder/actor Thor, featuring Stovokor and Pegasister, to the stage tonight at 9 pm.  This is a 21 and older show. For more details, including a link to advance ticket sales, visit the Facebook Event Page.

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Frankenstein's Comicbook Swap returns to the East Portland Eagle Lodge (4904 SE Hawthorne Blvd in Portland, OR) from noon to 6 pm.  Admission is just $1, with kids and elders admitted free.  Early Bird admission is $5 and gets you in at 11 am.  The event also accepts cans of food for donation to the Oregon Food Bank.  For more details, visit the Facebook Event Page.

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The Pickford Film Center (1318 Bay St in Bellingham, WA) will show 1931's Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi, today at 3 pm.  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit the Facebook Event Page.

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Weird Elephant at The Grand Cinema (606 S Fawcett Ave in Tacoma, WA) ends its celebration of Black History Month with the anthology film Tales from the Hood tonight at 11 pm.  For more details and a link to advance ticket sales, visit the Facebook Event Page.

March, 2020

Tuesday, March 3

The Darkside Scifi Extravaganza #39 is The Gypsy Moon, a film made of a three episode story from the 50s TV show Rocky Jones, Space Ranger.  As with other extravaganza events, the Darkside Cinema (215 SW 4th St in Corvallis, OR) will open the show at 6 pm with an hour of newsreels, cartoons and other drive-in treats.  The film starts at 7 pm and be advised, heckling is encouraged.  Admission is $5, credited towards food.  For more details, visit the Facebook Event Page.
Friday, March 6

King Ghidora, The Latter Day Skanks and Wallcrawler will be performing at Erebus (409 Pacific Ave S in Kelso, WA) tonight.  The show starts at 8 pm, and admission is just $7 and you must be 21 or older to attend.  For more details, visit the Facebook Event Page

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Quentin Dupieux's homage to "'no reason' - that most powerful element of style," the horror film Rubber, plays at the 5th Avenue Cinema (510 SW Hall St in Portland, OR) through Sunday, March 8 in GLORIOUS 35mm.  And yes, this one is weird, as a discarded tire become sentient and starts out on a killing spree.  Think Jason with treads.  For more details, visit the 5th Avenue Cinema website.

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The Beacon (4405 Rainier Ave S in Seattle, WA) presents the feminist commentary on slasher films, The Slumber Party Massacre, tonight at 9 pm.  Sure, it has an important message, but it also is a damn fine slasher flick as well!  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit The Beacon website.

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The Academy Theater (7818 SE Stark St in Portland, OR) will screen the witchcraft classic The Craft through Thursday, March 12.  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit the Academy Theater website.

Saturday, March 7

The Rio Theatre (1660 East Broadway in Vancouver, BC) presents the anime version of Ghost in the Shell tonight at 11:15 pm.  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit the Rio Theatre website.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

The Devil's Rain (1975)



After the release of The Exorcist (1973), filmmakers started producing films to capitalize on its demonic success.  Some, like the Italian/United States supernatural film Beyond the Door (1974) followed the template set by the profitable film.  Others, like 1976's The Omen and 1975's Race with the Devil, focusing on Satanic covens causing problems for the rest of humanity.  1975's The Devil's Rain followed the Satanists among us trend, telling the story of a family's attempt to defeat their heritage, capped of by an amazing special effects ending.

The film sets up the conflict right away, as Mark Preston (William Shatner) is searching for his father, who has gone to see the coven's master Jonathan Corbis (Ernest Borgnine) over a book containing the names of the souls Corbis has corrupted in the name of Satan.  Returning to his family's home, he tells his mother (Ida Lupino) he hasn't found his father, and the heavy rains have flooded the area, hampering his search. 

But his father is able to return, warning that Corbis coming for the book before melting into a puddle of green/white goo.

Son, I'm melting.
MELLLTTTING!

Don't worry, more gooey mayhem is coming.

Mark is ready to brave the storm at this point, but when he attempts to leave, his mother is kidnapped.  Heading out the next day, after the storm subsides, he confronts Corbis, fails in a test of faith and is captured by the Satanists.

To be honest, Shatner didn't have the cult cred he enjoys today, so the fact that he becomes a victim of the cult wouldn't be as shocking as it would be today.  But we spend enough time with the character to expect him to be more of a heroic figure than his defeat at the hands of Corbis.  Still, he manages a heroic moment later in the film.  But we'll get to that in a moment. 

Wait, this can't happen to me.
I'm not wearing a red shirt!

At this point, I'm posting a SPOILER ALERT for the next few paragraphs.  But, to be honest, the trailers, TV commercials and the poster do a good job of telling you what to expect, so this spoiler warning is only concerning how the script leads to the melting finale.

The film cuts to a display of ESP monitored by Dr. Sam Richards (Eddie Albert) and assistant Tom Preston (Tom Skerritt), with Preston's wife Julie (Jone Prather) as the subject.  Julie sees ominous visions concerning her husband's family as Tom receives a message concerning their situation.  The two head out to the desolate ghost town Mark visited, after being warned to take extra water and gas by the local sheriff (Keenan Wynn).  I mention this because it becomes a major plot hole later.  Trust me.

Tom and Julie arrive in the town and confront one of the Satanists (John Travolta, in his first film role).  Thanks to her handy ESP, Julie sees the history of the Preston family.  The couple escape, but Tom stops the car outside of town and decides to head back to find Mark.  Julie drives off to tell the sheriff of what they've found, but is captured by Mrs. Preston, now an eyeless, mindless minion of Corbis, hiding in the back seat.

Tom infiltrates the ritual that turns Mark into one of Corbis' minions, but is unable to help and is eventually discovered by the Satanists.  He manages to escape, racing back to the family home to tell Dr. Richards of everything he witnessed and find out that Julie is in the clutches of the cult.

Oh yeah, we're up to the task of taking out a bunch of Satanists.
You take the lead.

Okay, time to pause and talk about the plot holes at this point.  Up until Tom and Julie's escape, the film is pretty tight.  But neither of them see the cloaked Satanist in the back seat of the car, even though it's daylight and he's looking into the back seat as Julie drives off.  It would have been different had the scene taken place at night, as all the Satanists were black cloaks.  But something tells me you'd see someone hiding in the back seat of a car in broad daylight.  Also, Tom makes it back to the house pretty quick for a trip described earlier as needing extra water and gas to get there and back.

But let's skip these little lapses and get to the good stuff.  Tom and Dr. Richards head back to the ghost town and find The Devil's Rain, a Satanic Faberge egg containing the souls Corbis has corrupted.  Tom tries to stop the Satanists from taking Julie to their alter, but Dr. Richards threatens to destroy the egg unless the couple are set free.  Mark takes the egg from him and all seems lost until Dr. Richards somehow convinces Mark to destroy the egg.

And, as expected, mayhem ensues.  And what glorious mayhem it is.

Trust me, the Wicked Witch of the West has NOTHING on this 
melt-tastic scene.

While the finale is really impressive, it brings up another big plot hole.  If you remember from the beginning of the film, Mark's father melts in the rain, and it's another rainstorm that dooms Corbis and his followers.  So, it follows that the desert is the perfect home for Satanists, as the weather under The Shadow Over Portland might hamper their ability to move about.  At least they had better sense than the aliens in Signs.

I never saw this film when was released in theaters.  I don't think it made it to Vancouver, WA., and even if it did, I doubt my parents would have driven me to see it.  Yes, the film is rated PG, but this was back in the mid-70s, and such a rating is not in line with today's standards.  I suspect the film would have garnered an R-rating now.  That said, the melting scene at the climax of the film is AMAZING, despite running a bit too long.  The sequence was allegedly lengthened by executive producer Sandy Howard, who re-cut director Robert Fuest's original version.  It's not hard to understand Howard's, as the promotional material focuses on the climax of the film, but the melting sequence is goes on a bit too long and lessens the impact.

Despite any problems you might have with the script, the film looks amazing.  Fuest (The Incredible Dr. Phibes, Dr. Phibes Rises Again) delivers some beautiful shots of the desert, and the tracking shot as Mark tries to escapes the Satanists is wonderful.  Fuest's work elevates the film beyond the schlock one might expect, and deserves more credit than has been given.

Yep, this is an underappreciated movie, with critic Roger Ebert considering it one of the most hated films he's reviewed.  But I don't understand his complaint, considering the pace of the film and the performance of the cast, which keeps the film from descending into camp.  But Borgnine steals the show.  His Corbis could have become a moustache twirling cliche, and he does come close.  But Borgnine stays below such a crass stereotype and delivers a great villain.  And when he becomes a demon, he manages to keep the character as believable as one can expect from a goat headed monster.

This is how he first appears in the film, and he's still
CREEPY AS HELL!

So, let's talk about the makeup.  The Burman Studio is credited in the film, while IMBD lists Ellis Burman Jr. as the special effects artist.  I'm not sure the reason for the discrepancy.  Perhaps Ellis took lead the effects team, but it was obviously a team effort.  Ellis' father, Ellis Burman, was the head of the Don Post Studios lab.  And, according to the Internet, the life cast made of Shatner for the film later became a mask of Captain Kirk, and that mask turned into the one worn by Micheal Meyers in John Carpenter's Halloween.  And, as mentioned by Derek Koch when we talked about the film on his podcast Monster Kid Radio (link below), Shatner does a head turn that echoes Meyer.  And I agree.  I can't say whether Tony Moran saw The Devil's Rain, but one can't not see some similarities.

 Yeah, doesn't look like Michael Meyers
at all.

The film was distributed by Bryanston Distributing Company, which also released the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Andy Warhol's Frankenstein and Dark Star.  The company also distributed a lot of pornographic films, including The Devil in Miss Jones and Deep Throat, and was liquidated when Anthony "Big Tony" Peraino was persecuted for obscenity charges related to the video release of the latter film.  Bryanston Distributing Company is now a privately held company and has acquired rights to several movie libraries.  Hey, the more you know....

To sum things up, I'm not going to say The Devil's Rain is a great film.  The negative reviews are considered what led Fuest to return to television, and the film still holds a pretty negative rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  And, to be honest, some of the criticism is spot on.  But that doesn't mean the film is as awful as some critics suggest.  It's a terrific Satanic cult film and more interesting than most reviews might lead you to believe.  Fuest's direction is captivating, Borgnine's performance is amazing, the rest of the cast delivers solid performances, and once the Satanists start melting, you might just find your horror loving heart melting as well.

Let's be honest, how many other films can you watch featuring Ernest Borgnine
as a demon from hell melting in the rain?

If you'd like to hear Derek M. Koch and I talk about the film, follow this link to the Monster Kid Radio episode where we discuss it during his Satanic Rites of January theme month.  And if you like classic (and not so classic) monster films, be sure to check out other episodes of his Rondo-award winning podcast!

If you'd like to buy a copy of The Devil's Rain, check out the links below.  As an Amazon Affiliate, I'll get a few cents from your purchase, which will help keep the lights on at The Shadow Over Portland office.