Friday, October 22, 2010

The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)


The Serpent and the Rainbow (USA, 1988) - Color, Director(s): Wes Craven
MPAA Rating: R
[UK: ]
Approx. 98 min.

Z-rating: 8 out of 10 stars

This is the only movie I've seen about zombies that aren't of the undead variety. These zombies are slaves that are supposedly under the spell of a Haitian Vodou (Voodoo) priest. This film is based on the book of the same title, which supposedly chronicled the investigations of ethnobotanist Wade Davis as he researched the process of how they made zombies in Haiti. (The book has come under scrutiny regarding the scientific inaccuracies in his findings)

Bill Pullman (Independence Day, The Grudge) plays ethnobotanist/anthropologist Dennis Alan. A pharmaceutical company catches wind of a drug used in Haiti that they are interested in mass producing. Alan is sent there to investigate the drug further and traces its usage back to Haitian Vodou rituals in making zombies. Drawing the attention of local authorities, Alan gets the shakedown from the Haitian police and is asked to leave Haiti. He stubbornly continues his investigation, blatantly ignoring the official's request, and drawing the ire of the authorities. After crossing paths with them a few more times, Alan is eventually poisoned with the "zombie powder" and buried alive. This film takes a supernatural turn towards the end, which I'm sure wasn't in the book but I didn't think I was watching a documentary so I really enjoyed it nonetheless. Bill Pullman gives an amazing performance here as Dennis Alan, probably my favorite role of his next to playing the President of the United States in Independence Day.

Nudity: I think you see a tit flash during one of the sex scenes, but I don't have the movie in front of me to take a screenshot at the moment.

Gore: Not much gut munching here as this isn't one of those zombie movies. I highly recommend this despite the lack of violence because there is a fantastic story here and very rarely do you find movies about Haitian voodoo zombies as opposed to some virus-infected and possibly undead cannibal

Awesome: VERY. One of favorites, I love the storytelling from director Wes Craven in this film. Convincing performances from the actors/actresses makes this a very entertaining and enjoyable flick. Highly recommended for anyone who hasn't seen it. Creepiest moment probably goes to the movie's tagline: "Don't bury me... I'm not dead!" which is the last thing Pullman says as the "zombie powder" takes effect.