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The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)

 -  Horror  -  5 February 1988 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 15,156 users  
Reviews: 72 user | 61 critic

An anthropologist goes to Haiti after hearing rumors about a drug used by black magic practitioners to turn people into zombies.

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Writers:

(inspired by the book), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)

The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988) on IMDb 6.4/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Cathy Tyson ...
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Badja Djola ...
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Aleta Mitchell ...
William Newman ...
Jaime Pina Gautier ...
Julio (as Jaime Piña Gautier)
Evencio Mosquera Slaco ...
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Storyline

Dennis Allan is a 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. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

5 February 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La serpiente y el arco iris  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$19,595,031 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A note is imposed on the final scene that states that scientists are studying the "zombie powder" and that what makes it work "remains a mystery." There is also a disclaimer at the end of the closing credits which states that Davis came back with "rare powders" that are being subjected to "intensive study in the United States and in Switzerland," and that, "apart from these facts," all other persons and incidents in this film are fictitious. The exception is Jean-Claude Duvalier, the Haitian dictator who was in fact ousted by a popular revolution in 1986 and who appears in the film in archival news footage. See more »

Goofs

Just before the spider starts crawling on Dr. Dennis Alan's face, you can see the crew member in the left background who placed it there. See more »

Quotes

Dargent Peytraud: By the way, Doctor Alan. What did you dream about this afternoon? A woman in your arms? The sea at your doorstep? Nooooo! You dreamt of me and of the grave. I know because I was there. And I can be there every time you close your eyes. The pain I cause you, in the room upstairs, is nothing to the pain I can cause in your own mind. Remember that... Doctor Alan.
See more »

Crazy Credits

[Opening card] In the legends of voodoo the Serpent is a symbol of Earth. The Rainbow is a symbol of Heaven. Between the two, all creatures must live and die. But because he has a soul Man can be trapped in a terrible place Where death is only the beginning. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Scream: The Inside Story (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Fiere Haiti
Performed by A. Charles Dessalines
Courtesy of ADC Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Very Different and Intriguing
22 September 2003 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

Bill Pullman is an anthropologist who on a previous visit to Haiti experienced the power of black voodoo,filling his mind with evil dreams and eventuating in the murder of his pilot. His Jaguar spirit leads him to safety. Upon returning to America he is asked by a drug company to return to Haiti and investigate the process of "Zombification" as proof of a man being brought back from the dead has been discovered and the Americans of course would love to know how it is done.

In Haiti Dr Allen meets a beautiful female psychiatrist and together they become embroiled in a world of good vs evil voodoo style in search of this miracle which is in the form of a powder.

However, their is evil at work in the form of a very nasty voodoo witchdoctor, who unfortunately also happens to be Chief of Police in the very much oppressed Haiti.

This was a great film. I only just purchased and watched it for the first time on DVD for $6.95 AU, at that price I wasn't expecting much - Reviews I have read regarding this film dubbed it dissapointing, but I found it to be highly entertaining.

The film is eerie, the acting is excellent. I have found in most reviews that people have complained that the film is far-fetched and doesn't make sense. Well, in my opinion - that is the nature of voodoo -it is un-explainable and to a skeptical mind is silly, but there have been many accounts in real life of voodoo magic and it's power and this film was based on some such accounts.

The film starts of a little slow and can be described as a bit messy. However, as the plot unfolds, not only are we watching an eerie film about the supernatural, we are also watching an action packed political thriller. This is a very unusual film. There is just enough blood and gore to entertain the slasher fans, but not too much discourage the general film appreciating public.

As opposed to common belief, I found the story-line of this film to be tight, different and utterly engaging.


13 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Anybody been to Haiti? gurgledog
One of Craven's greatests, but... JackForrester
Creepy....Just flat out creepy jesse_s_138_98
ANyoen know where i can find this film? DevilsAndDragons
Wade Davis's 1985 Book - The Serpent + the Rainbow antimusick
Why? wolverine3390
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