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_The Devil's Rain_

To: alt.satanism
From: (Xeper)
Subject: _The Devil's Rain_
Date: 8 Apr 1998 00:37:17 GMT

The 1975 film _The Devil's Rain_ has been re-released
on video by VCI Home Video (#1183 TV-screen, #8109
widescreen). For ordering information, call VCI at
(918) 254-6337 or (800) 331-4077.

Made in 1974, this film about Satanism in a western
USA ghost town was actually filmed in Durango, Mexico.
It is notable for a number of reasons, among them:

(1) Set design enhancements by Anton LaVey. See in
particular the trapezoidal & animal motifs in the
ghost town church at the beginning, as well as its
Baphomet altar-window.

(2) Ernest Borgnine as Satanic Priest Jonathan Corbis.
To _Argosy_ writer Dick Russell (June 1975) Anton
claimed that Borgnine was an actual C/S Priest.
Borgnine himself later debunked this in Forrest J
Ackerman's _Famous Monsters of Filmland_ (October

(3) Anton appears in two places in the film: (a)
as the organist in the ghost town church [hands
only visible] and (b) as the gold-helmeted high
priest assisting Corbis in the canyon ceremony.

(4) Diane LaVey appears as Corbis' colonial-era
wife in the "flashback" sequence. When the
"flashback" begins, Corbis is speaking. Then the
camera close-ups first an old man, then a boy,
then a woman wearing a Puritan bonnet. That's

(5) John Travolta made his screen debut as a
Corbis zombie who fights with Tom Skerritt in a
ghost town house, then falls down the stairs.
[He had no speaking part, and he's onscreen for
a total of 30 seconds.] The colonial "flashback"
begins when Skerritt looks into a mask supposed
to be Travolta's face after his fall. Travolta's
name did not appear in the credits for the
original film, but was prominently added after
he went on to become a major star.

(6) Corbis' canyon invocation was adapted by
Anton from my "Ceremony of the Nine Angles" in
the _Satanic Rituals_ (#186-7, etc.) after he
and I almost croaked at the weenie invocation
in Maud Willis' original - and very Wiccan! -
_DR_ novel:

"Send us your unhold might,
Help us reach your hallowed goal,
Possession of the world's soul,
Transgress time and space this night,
Lord, stand before us in our sight.
[Corbis as goat demon:]
From the farthest reaches of darkness
I come to you, my children, to free
another lost soul from the coward God,
that breaker of promises ..."

Throughout all this Willis' Corbis & flock
were chanting "Eman Hetan!", which still
mystifies me. [Perhaps there's a Wiccan in
the audience who knows?] We deep-sixed that
too, as well as Willis' description of Corbis'
mysterious book as "_The Hammer_" -
figuring that no self-respecting Satanic
Priest would cherish the _Malleus

(7) The robed Satanists marching to the
canyon ceremony are Mexican extras, to
whom Anton patiently taught the "Zodacare
[...] Saitan" ending of his _SB_ Enochian
Keys, so that they could chant it all the
way up the hill to the canyon. This was done
with a pointer and a chalkboard outside in
Durango, with all the robed "Satanists"
sitting in class rows, if you can visualize
the scene. :-)

(8) Anton got along fine with Director Robert
Fuest, save that he also misrepresented Fuest
"and many of the performers and crew" as C/S
members, which none of them were. An apparent
personality-clash with an associate producer
resulted in Anton's being asked to leave the
set a week before completion, but by that time
the "good stuff" was in place.

(9) _DR_ appeared a year before _Star Wars_ and
the "space opera" revival. These were accordingly
lean times for William Shatner, hence his
appearance in a supporting role in this film.
After _SW_ the _Star Trek_ movie boom got
underway, and Shatner (no longer lean) did his
best to non-refer to _DR_.

(10) I think [but am not sure] that this was
Keenan Wynn's last screen appearance [as the
local sheriff & later Corbis-zombie].

(11) The movie came out in the late summer of
1975, and promptly bombed. Why it did not fare
better is anyone's guess ... certainly not the
Corbis incantation! :-) Probably because after
a decade of increasingly-blah _Rosemary's Baby_
imitations, the public was tired of 60s-revival
Satanism films. [In 1976 it went off on a decade
of space-opera.]

(12) In 1989, as a speaker at a multi-state
conference of law-enforcement officers in Texas,
I showed a clip of Corbis' canyon incantation &
transformation scene to the auditorium to illustrate
the "Hollywood idea of Satanism". When I turned up
the lights, the room was dead silent, and all the
officers were staring at me in shock [despite their
knowing that Captain Kirk obviously didn't show up
in the _Star Trek_ movies with black eyeballs]. It
was a lesson to me in just how unfamiliar with
authentic Satanism most of the non-occult public
were in the 1980s [when _Michelle Remembers_ was
the governing "Satanism" paradigm ].

(13) While Anton had nothing whatever to do with
_Rosemary's Baby_, _The Brotherhood of Satan_,
_Mephisto Waltz_, etc. as rumored/claimed, he
certainly did make his mark in _DR_. This film
is a pretty good illustration of how some of the
aforementioned would have been beefed up if he
*had* been invited to tinker with them!

Michael A. Aquino, Ph.D.

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