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THE DEVIL'S RAIN ($25) is a masterpiece of camp horror that must be experienced in its full wide screen glory on DVD to be appreciated. The plot of THE DEVIL'S RAIN tells the tale of Jonathan Corbis, who lead of a coven of witches about three hundred years before it was considered politically incorrect to burn them at the stake. Members of Corbis' own coven betray him, leaving him and his followers to face the wrath of the religious authorities. In other words, Corbis and his coven are burned at the stake. Corbis does return, three centuries later, to take vengeance from members of the Preston family- the descendents of his original betrayers. Vengeance, as it turns out, is only an added bonus, the primary reason Corbis returns to the mortal plane is to retrieve the book that contains the names of all the coven members that sold their souls to Satan. It seems that without the book, Corbis is unable to fulfil contractual obligations and deliver the promised souls to his dark master. Of course, Corbis puts the Prestons through hell to get the book back. The "all star" cast of THE DEVIL'S RAIN features Ernest Borgnine, Ida Lupino, Keenan Wynn, Eddie Albert, William Shatner, Tom Skerritt and John Travolta in his movie debut. Just for the sheer pleasure of seeing this group of notables ham it up, makes THE DEVIL'S RAIN worth the price of admission. Sure, the special effects are somewhat cheesy and the plot is a bit silly- Borgnine's demonic transformation covers both categories! However, these are the simple pleasures that make THE DEVIL'S RAIN so much fun to watch.

VCI Home Video has done a rather nice job with their DVD edition of THE DEVIL'S RAIN. While the disc does not contain the 16:9 component for wide screen televisions, the Letterboxed transfer restores the film's 2.35:1, Todd-AO 35 framing. The transfer is relatively sharp, detailed and pleasing to the eye when played back on a standard 4:3 display. Of course, a new 16:9 enhanced digital transfer certainly would have looked better. Color reproduction is pretty good; flesh tones are fairly natural and the film's vivid hues don't show any signs of chroma noise or distortion. Digital compression artifacts are not a problem, however I noticed a brief flash in which the image became pixelated. Strangely, I don't believe that particular problem was related to the DVD authoring process. The Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack has clear dialogue and will take a good amount of amplification without becoming distorted. The interactive menus are rather standard in design, but they provide access to the scene selection feature, as well as a theatrical trailer and a photo gallery.

THE DEVIL'S RAIN is a guilty pleasure that many will want to add to their DVD collections, although they may not wish to admit it.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1999 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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