HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Mowgli
Ski School
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Age of Shadows, The
Mission: Impossible - Fallout
Othello
First Reformed
Red White and Zero
Death Wish
Cry Wilderness
Heiresses, The
Millhouse: A White Comedy
Skyscraper
Born of Fire
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies
Lucia
Yanks
Sweet November
Ballad of Buster Scruggs, The
Real Men
Shoplifters
Redeemer
Incredibles 2
Big House, The
Night Eats the World, The
War Bus
Back to Berlin
Leave No Trace
They Shall Not Grow Old
Dollman
   
 
Newest Articles
A Name to Conjure With: David Nixon's Magic Box on DVD
Which 1950s Sci-Fi was Scariest? Invaders from Mars vs The Blob
The Empire Strikes Back: Khartoum vs Carry On Up the Khyber
Stan and Ollie's Final Folly: Atoll K on Blu-ray
The Big Grapple: Escape from New York and Its Influence
The Conquest of Everett: The Kenny Everett Video Show on DVD
Bout for the Count: Hammer's Dracula in the 1970s
Nopes from a Small Island: Mistreatment of American Stars in British Films
You Know, For Kids: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box
If He Were a Carpenter and It Was the 80s: The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
When is a Jackie Chan Movie Not a Jackie Chan Movie? Armour of God and City Hunter
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 2
   
 
  Serpent and the Rainbow, The I Walked As A ZombieBuy this film here.
Year: 1988
Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Bill Pullman, Cathy Tyson, Zakes Mokae, Paul Winfield, Brent Jennings, Conrad Roberts, Badja Djola, Theresa Merritt, Michael Gough, Paul Guilfoyle, Dey Young, Aleta Mitchell, William Newman, Jaime Pina Gautier, Evencio Mosquera Slaco
Genre: Horror
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: Dennis Alan (Bill Pullman) was a modern-day adventurer, but the time he spent in the Amazon investigating tribal medicine may have affected him more deeply than he cared to admit. When he was out there, he visited a shaman in the depths of the jungle, hoping to take some of his potion with him except the holy man invited him to take a sip of it. Recognising that this was a situation fraught with danger, Dennis agreed, but soon was hallucinating a jaguar and being dragged down into the ground. On waking, he found everyone in the village had vanished...

And his helicopter pilot and translator had been killed too, leaving out intrepid hero to tramp back to civilisation alone, something that at least impresses his bosses at the pharmaceutical firm that he has what it takes to track down those elusive new medications. This, the titles tell us, was based on a true story, and indeed it was drawn from the experiences of Wade Davis and his attempts to find out what it was that turned normal people into zombies in the culture of Haiti, which was where our Dennis was sent to next. Alas, the further it progressed, the less believable it became, until (Davis was less than pleased) what we had was A Nightmare on Voodoo Street.

This might have been fine if you were a fan of director Wes Craven and wanted more of the same from him, but if you were looking for a sensible tale of one man's journey into dangerous territory to bring back a potentially life saving substance, then what you actually were getting was a straight ahead horror flick with the odd item of political observation to make it appear more serious than it actually was. The excuses Craven and his writers found for the fright sequences were that Dennis was suffering what could best be described as acid flashbacks, or the folk medicine equivalent of same, so he would be getting on with his investigations and then all of a sudden he was seeing the walking dead, or the crawling snakes and spiders.

All the while unsure of how far to trust what he was witnessing. When Dennis arrives in Haiti it is coming to the end of the reign of Papa Doc and Baby Doc Duvalier, so much of the plot involves negotiating his way around the dreaded Ton Ton Macoute, the secret police who made so many lives a misery, and ended quite a few as well. But first he makes friends with local doctor Marielle Duchamp (Cathy Tyson) and voodoo priest Lucien Celine (Paul Winfield) as a method of getting to the heart of this whole zombie thing, and they guide him around the ceremonies (an impressive genuine celebration was used, timed so that Craven didn't need to hire thousands of extras and simply filmed the worshippers).

Dennis does find a man willing to offer him the authentic drug that zombifies its victims, enabling them to be buried alive then revived as slaves later on by those doing the drugging, and after a bit of bargaining he gets his hands on the concoction. Unfortunately, he also gets a large nail hammered through his scrotum when one of the police chiefs, Peytraud (Zakes Mokae), hauls him in for questioning and a dose of torture, although the exact reason for that other than Dennis was being a nosey parker is obscured somewhat by the over the top elements. What The Serpent and the Rainbow most resembled was a Hollywood version of those trashy European chillers where they would send explorers off into a remote part of the globe to meet some doom or other, and that Third World phobia is what eventually takes over this. Certainly Haiti was not the best place to be during its upheavals, but even with Tyson playing the love interest there was a sense of looking down on the less fortunate here and being relieved they didn't have to stay there themselves. Music by Brad Fiedel.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1639 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Wes Craven  (1939 - )

Intelligent American director, producer and writer, at his most effective when, perhaps paradoxically, he was at his most thoughtful. Controversial shocker Last House on the Left set him on a path of horror movies, the best of which are The Hills Have Eyes, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Serpent and the Rainbow, The People Under the Stairs, New Nightmare and Scream (which revitalised the slasher genre).

Less impressive are Deadly Blessing, Swamp Thing, the ridiculous Hills Have Eyes Part II, Deadly Friend, Shocker, Vampire in Brooklyn, Cursed and the successful Scream sequels (the last of which was his final movie). Music of the Heart was a change of pace for Craven, but not a hit, though aeroplane thriller Red Eye was a successful attempt at something different; My Soul To Take, an attempt at more of the same, flopped. One of the pioneers of the American new wave of horror of the 1970s and 80s, he brought a true edge, wit and imagination to the genre.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
George White
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
Rashed Ali
Alexander Taylor
   

 

Last Updated: