Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Serpent and the Rainbow: AKA The Scrotum Skewer and the Midget Bride.

One of my favorite pastimes as a wee one, was to look at the covers and back covers of horror movies at the video store. This was nothing short of an S&M relationship because most of these movies scared the crap out of me, but I would always look at them anyways. The Serpent and the Rainbow cover is one of the ones that stuck out to me the most. This fear continued until I became aware that the scary ghost person on the front was actually Bill Pullman and not some terrifying white ghost person coming to eat me in my sleep.

Anywho, all childish fears aside this movie at times can be embarrassing but there are several moments that equal some real honest fear. First of all Bill Pullman maybe not the best in this movie. Independence Day? Believeable as the president? Not really. But did it work for the movie? Sure. This movie however needed someone with a little more suave intelligence and a lot less I'm so cool and hot even though I wear tighty whities. Besides that however, this movie carries with it many of the trademarks of a Wes Craven post Nightmare on Elm Street flick.

For one- the barrier between dreams and reality is extremely thin. Also there are some scenes with abnormally long and creepy arms. Then there's the excess of blood and someone being burned fact. Product of recycled fears or not this movie still generally creeped me out.

Bill Pullman is in Haiti researching some form of drug that literally makes people into zombies. The drug makes it seem as though the person is dead when in reality the person is still very aware of what is happening only they are paralyzed. So Billy goes in search of this drug and often bumps heads with this scary voodoo, also sometimes a government official guy with scary teeth. This man is just no good. He's got people's souls in decorated jars with little nick knacks tied around them, and he can make some scary shit happen like a giant snake leap out of a skeleton midget bride's mouth. He's just bad news.

The scariest scenes to me were that very scene, mostly because the midget bride is a terrible and horrible thing for anyone to see-awake or dreaming. She makes this high pitched screaming thing and you can't see her face and she's all short and stuff- it's just ehhh creepy. Then there was the numerous being buried alive moments especially the one where copious amounts of blood filled up the casket. The dead and gross looking hand that comes out of Bill Pullman's soup, and of course the ending burial scene.

That ending burial scene is especially torturous because there is so much build up to it. If after all that buried alive imagery happened and Bill Pullman never actually got buried alive it would be lame. I think it's pretty safe to say that most people have a huge fear of being buried alive. I know it's on my list of worst ways to die (right behind being eaten by a shark and being raped by Burt Reynolds) and anyone who isn't scared of that scene is just pretending.

Although I will say that that whole situation could have easily been avoided had Bill Pullman listened to Alfred from Batman and not returned to Haiti. But he had to rescue his woman blah blah yeah I guess that's OK. So all in and all there are a lot of pretty decent scares in this movie. Frolicking with a jaguar however is not one of those moments.


NoWhere MaN said...

This movie is like the horror version of James Bond's Live and Let Die. This is another Wes Craven sleeper movie that's so good yet so underrated.

Andre Dumas said...

Haha well said well said. Although I may secretly enjoy The People Under the Stairs a little bit more...hmmm...tough call though.

NoWhere MaN said...

I love people under the stairs, funny i was gonna say just like people under the stairs as another underrated Craven movie. :)

William Malmborg said...

Has anyone else heard the stories associated with this movie. I guess when they tried to film it in Haiti there were some scary moments with the crew that no one could rationally explain and eventually they moved the filming to another location. I heard that on Joe Bob Brigg's Monster Vision many years ago when he was showing the movie.

PS: I'm a huge People Under the Stairs fan as well. I even like it better than Nightmare, though you can't really yell that one too loud.

Andre Dumas said...

I do remember reading something along those lines about those bad things happening.

And I completely understand your thought about People Under the Stairs being more enjoyable than Nightmare. It has the special quality about it that makes it a nightmare in it's own right. It's something about the atmosphere that just makes me feel way more creeped out than Nightmare on Elm Street

Anonymous said...

This is one of those frustrating movies that could have been great instead of just pretty good, theres so much great stuff going on in this movie but for some reason it just doesn`t fall into place the way it should. I go back to it from time to time on YouTube though because that old cult magic is always there.

Anonymous said...

The Serpent and the Rainbow is based on reality. An anthropologist in Haiti experiments on himself the potion on becoming a zombie. Hes buried alive and a Tarantula is thrown in with him. Suffocation claustrophobia and a venomous biting spider. Its beyond horrific. What kind of sick evil demonic mind does such horrible things? Its beyond horrible. This is the kind of thing that proves that the Devil and evil rules the world and not a loving God.