The Serpent And The Rainbow (1988)


Starring: 

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


Shout out to my man Wes Craven. RIP.

Never seen this. Heard good things. Inspired by a true story. Oh, I like the nifty animated title. 

 
 

HAITI 1978. Oh shit, Bill Pullman is in this? Fuck yeah. We got spooky dudes stealing coffins and a guy dying. It looks like he was crying as he was buried. 2spooky.

AMAZON BASIN 1985. Bill Pullman heading down to the jungle for that ayahuasca. He passes out and wakes up to a fucking jaguar chasing him. Aw. It just wanted to play. The trip goes south and he gets pulled underground BY HIS DICK. When he comes to, he goes back to his helicopter only to find the pilot is dead. YOU'RE FUCKED, WHITEY. 

 
 

BOSTON. Somehow, he made it back home. I don't know how. It wasn't shown. But he did. Oh shit, it's Alfred! And the boss from CSI! His old professior got him an interview at Biocorp, where he's now being asked about zombification. They come to the conclusion that this case must be drug related, which could make a lot of money. The professor suggests it might be related to the soul. But the business wants to send Pullman to Haiti to find that drug.

Lots of wacky Haitain voodoo stuff. Dudes shoving needs in their faces, spooky drums, all while the spirit from the Amazon is still spooking Pullman. There's this dude who keeps spitting on people like Muta. This other dude goes crazy and just chucks Muta across the room. It seems like there was a possession going on that night.

 
 

This is less of a horror movie and more of a noir film with a horror coating. Barely. Jump scare OUTTA NOWHERE sends Pullman flying into an open grave. 


The rest of the film (2nd and 3rd acts) focus pretty much exclusively on Pullman's character trying to get to the bottom of all this voodoo/zombie stuff while having...terrible nightmares. It should be no surprise that the crazy nightmare sequences are definitely the best things this movie has to offer. And by the end, the main bad guy voodoo dude ends up burnt and on the receiving end of his own visions. This movie has one of my least favorite location cliches: Haiti only exists for voodoo and political unrest. Nothing else ever matters. I've never seen Haiti portrayed differently in film or TV.  I've never seen a positive portrayal of Haiti. And worst of all for film and television, it's always done exactly the same with the same cliches. And this is no different. If you've seen a 2spooky4me episode or movie about Haiti, you don't really need to watch this movie. Nothing new is done with the concept, and it's really not so much of a horror movie as it is a thriller/noir. There are some horror elements, but the bulk of the story is about Pullman's character trying to figure out the mystery of what is going on down there.

 
 

Most of the scares are either jump scares or weird shit in dreams. There is also an odd amount of dick violence in this movie. Pullman's character is pulled underground by his dick. Later on, there are two scenes where a spike gets driven through a dick. I don't know what the message was supposed to be. Over all, it is a well shot, well edited, and well acted movie. It's just another movie about wacky voodoo dudes in Haiti. It actually was inspired on a true story. The book version details the real life experience of an ethnobotanist repeatedly heading to Haiti to study toxins that turned a man into a "zombie".  It's not bad or anything, I just can't get into stupid voodoo/Haiti stereotypes and cliches. Unless it's Papa Shango.