The Serpent And The Rainbow

Don’t bury me…I’m not dead!” That tagline scared the heck out of me as a kid. And the imagery on movie posters and advertisements at the time were even more disturbing. Not to mention that anything with religious overtones has always creeped me out… especially Haitian Vodou with it’s distinctly Catholic influences. And, as if director Wes Craven had intended to up the ante, The Serpent and the Rainbow claimed to be based on a true story!

Back in 1988, this was a perfect storm of taboo horror. In fact, i honestly can’t remember if i’ve even seen this film until now. Any memories of this movie have since coalesced with Alan Parker’s thriller Angel Heart, despite the fact that they appear to be two completely different films in both tone and style.

Anyway, The Serpent and the Rainbow is the story of a chemist who visits Haiti in search of a drug that is rumored to create zombies. He’s quickly swept up in the mysticism and revolutionary politics engulfing the nation, while also pursuing a love interest in the local female doctor. All of these disparate story lines eventually culminate in a very personal, and very climatic scene of zombie-tinged supernatural events.

Best Scene: Bill Pullman is dosed with a zombie powder, then flails about while oozing blood and sweat before eventually being buried alive with a deadly spider.

Worst Scene: Things get a little silly when a torture chair starts chasing our hero around a room while making some sort of goofy screeching noises.

Whitley Strieber 2.0: There have only been a handful of horror films that have sent me in search of their original influences including books, news articles and documentaries. I think this may eventually prove to be one of them!

The Serpent and the Rainbow
Available at

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