This is a blog which primarily gives some attention to movies that I find were overlooked (for whatever reason) or are simply underrated. I also comment on other, mainly movie-related issues as well. I welcome any suggestions for films to be added to this distinguished list.

One word of warning: The films listed below contain spoilers, so caution during reading is required.

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)

"Whatever happens, death is not the end!"
-Lucien Celine.


The recent passing of legendary director Wes Craven prompted me to take another look at some of his films. I'd say that The Serpent and the Rainbow is his most underrated work. It is based on the non-fiction work of Wade Davis, an ethnobotanist from Harvard whose studies while in Haiti basically unlocked the secrets of zombies.

In the film, Dr. Dennis Alan (Bill Pullman) travels to the same country to investigate the death of a man named Christophe (Conrad Roberts), who presumably died and was buried seven years earlier.

Alan also experiences horrifying visions while after obtaining herbs from a shaman. These images include Haitian authority Dargent Peytraud (Zakes Mokae). Alan's American citizenship initially protects him from Peytraud until Alan's refusal to leave Haiti prompts him to take stronger measures.

Despite the help of witch doctor Mozart (Brent Jennings) and voodoo priest Lucien Celine (Paul Winfield), Alan and his associate Marielle Duchamp (Cathy Tyson) soon find themselves at Peytraud's mercy. Mozart and Celine are both killed and Alan falls victim to the zombie powder and is buried alive. But Christophe rescues Alan, who then saves Marielle. Using Celine's teachings, they are able to vanquish Peytraud.

This film didn't make the same impact as A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) or Scream (1996), which is a shame as it has many eerie moments (one of my favorites is Alan's vision of a zombie hand in the soup he's about to eat.

No doubt this film has drastic differences from Davis's book, but, for those who like zombies, this one is sure to please.