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The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988).

May 30, 2008

The Scoop:
Hollywood just can’t make good voodoo movies. With one lone exception (Val Lewton’s wonderful “I Walked With a Zombie”), they all just come off as contrived and hokey. “The Serpent and the Rainbow” is no different.

This stab at voodoo credibility is a bunch of zombie silliness that Bill Pullman would probably rather leave off his resume. He plays Dennis Allen, a research scientist who travels to Haiti for a pharmaceutical company to investigate a drug that may create zombies. Before long, he gets caught up in a web of intrigue, sex, hallucinogens and bad acting. It was directed by the otherwise talented Wes Craven, who is clearly working outside of his comfort zone a bit and straining from the effort. The film is a very loose adaptation of the book by Wade Davis, which in turn was based on an allegedly true story.

“The Serpent and the Rainbow” actually has a pretty vocal legion of devoted fans, but it’s kind of hard to see what the fuss is all about. This pile of voodoo hoodoo tries to be mystical and creepy, but instead is just horrible. If this thing was being made today, you just know Nicolas Cage would be starring in it. Stay far away.

Best Line:
“Don’t let them bury me! I’m not dead!”

Side Note:
Avant garde singer Diamanda Galas makes an uncredited appearance as one of the voices of the dead.

Companion Viewing:
“Voodoo Woman” (1957).


Take a Look:
The trailer:

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