Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Overlooked Movie: The Serpent and the Rainbow

"You know, it's interesting that Wes Craven had to take out some footage when this came out so he could get an R rating. Otherwise they were gonna give it an X for violence. But that's something that's happened with every film he's ever made, beginning with "Last House on the Left," the ultra-low-budget film he made in 1972 that's still one of the most intense of all horror films. When "Last House on the Left" came out, they kept sending it back to the MPAA Ratings Board, and every time they sent it in the board said "X rating." They'd take out more footage. "X rating." They'd argue with the board. "X rating." So finally, Wes put all the violent and gory footage back in and he went to his producer, a Boston theater owner, and he said, "Do you have any of those little pieces of film that go on the front of the movie saying 'This movie is rated R'?" And he said, "Sure." And so Wes just ASSIGNED HIMSELF an R rating and started showing the film. And he never got caught, because what member of the ratings board is ever gonna go watch a violent horror film in its natural setting? Downtown theaters, drive-ins in the Deep South. And so I asked Wes, "Why don't you do that on your movies today?" And he said, "Because, unfortunately, now I'm Wes Craven. I can't get away with it." My kinda guy." ~Joe Bob Briggs

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Dennis Allan is an scientist who visits Haiti on the strength of a rumour of a drug which renders the recipient totally paralyzed but conscious. The drug's effects often fool doctors, who declare the victims dead. Could this be the origin of the "zombie" legend? Alan embarks on a surprising and often surreal investigation of the turbulent social chaos that is Haiti during the revolution which ousted hated dictator "Baby Doc" Duvalier. Often a pawn in a greater game, Alan must decide what is science, what is superstition, and what is the unknown in a anarchistic society where police corruption and witch-doctory are commonplace.

Click Here to Watch the Preview:

Tagline: Don't bury me...I'm not dead!

Fun Trivia:
The CD Soundtrack to this film is rated one of the most expensive rarities in the world of film music trading because the principal release was on vinyl LP and fewer than 10 CDs were pressed.

Author Wade Davis agreed to sell the book rights on the condition that Peter Weir direct and Mel Gibson star. Neither man had any involvement in the project.

This was the first American movie to be made on Haiti and possibly the last, this production was seriously troubled. Starting with it's nearly 2,000 Haitian extras who were paid five bucks apiece, but when it got close to the time to leave Haiti, the locals started realizing that, once the Hollywood people were gone, the five-bucks-a-day gig would evaporate. So three times they threatened to strike unless they got raises, each time the producers gave them a little raise to keep them happy. Various local leaders would negotiate with rocks in their hands (it's exactly as awful as it sounds), this guy represents 50 people, this guy over here represents 300, and the Haitian government kept saying, "We'll be happy to send in government troops to keep them under control," but the producers weren't too crazy about that idea, cause they didn't think having 2,000 Haitian villagers beaten over the head with rubber truncheons would look too good in the tabloids. Then one day all the Haitians came to the production office and announced that they wanted more money right then--that night--or else they would start rioting. David Ladd, the producer, stood up on top of a car and talked to them with a bullhorn, they all had rocks in their hands, and he promised em some more money. The only problem was, they didn't have that much cash in the production office. So they had to call somebody to fly cash in from Miami. Meanwhile, the producers gave the order for everybody to get out of the country, and they finished the rest of the movie in the Dominican Republic.

Four crew members had voodoo experiences--all bad--one guy went completely insane and had to be sent back to the states. He was a raving paranoid for four more days, and then he became perfectly normal and couldn't remember what happened. Wes Craven believes that one of the local priests had put a curse on him, and from the moment they arrived, at least three-fourths of the crew was sick at all times. But Wes never got sick. And he was the guy who took the voodoo the MOST seriously.

Fun Quotes:
Dennis Alan: I'm a U.S. citizen! Think about that!
Dargent Peytraud: I don't see the Ambassador here, do you?

Dennis Alan: Don't let them bury me! I'm not dead!

Dargent Peytraud: When you wake up scream, Doctor Allen. Scream all you want. There is no escape from the grave.

Marielle Duchamp: The way Dr. Schoonbacher spoke of you, it was as though you could walk on water! Now I know why. Shit floats!

Louis Mozart: You are still alive.
Dennis Alan: Yeah, I noticed.

Joe Bob Brigg's Drive-in Totals:
We've got two breasts.
Six dead bodies.
Four undead bodies.
Voodoo funeral.
Exploding coffin.
Graveyard voodoo Catholic candle zombie face-eating.
One dead wall-pig.
Orgasm Cam.
Heads roll.
Heads thrown.
Gratuitous face needles.
Jaguar Fu.
Zombie Fu.
Scorpion Fu.
Tarantula Fu.
Snake Fu.
Scrotum Fu.
Buried-alive Fu.
Froth-face debutante Fu.

1 comment:

Mob said...

Great film, definitely worth a second look.

One of Craven's best, makes me wish he'd get over his other dalliances (Red Eye, Cursed) and make a decent horror film again.