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Serpent and the Rainbow, The

"Africa's buried secrets sometimes dig their way out..."

Pharmaceutical research has pushed Dennis, a scientist who has graduated from Harvard, to adventure into the Haitian jungle to find the secret to zombification. He learns that the drug used to these means is composed of a mix that slows down the metabolism of the human body to the point where the person is considered dead. However, this Haitian village are quick to bury the false cadavers, which consist in a terrible torture to the patients, when they awaken.

Dennis takes it personally. A local law agent doesnít like him and tricks him. However, the menaces donít stop this scientist who wants to know everything and who doesnít want to allow this punishment technique to continue. He ignores the danger that awaits him if he refuses to accept it.





Wes Craven has the merit of taking his ideas from rarely exploited locations. Zombie movies fill a large part of the horror movie section of a video store but this movie is not your usual zombie flick. In fact, it obtains its definition from the very root of legends about the living dead.

By going as far as Haiti, he uncovers a mystery that will astonish occult fans. The theory behind zombification is fascinating and morbid. A certain powder would make someone fall asleep for a few hours and would cool down the body enough to obtain the aspect of a cadaver. It is surprisingly realistic and worrying.

Sadly, the aspect of corrupted law forces dominates the rest of the movie and we forget the mysterious importance of the process. The malicious police officer, that plays the role of the enemy in this movie, is hated and does everything to be hated. Law officers shouldnít be associated with psychic powers: a fact that doesnít help this movie. Then, because the action takes place primarily in Haiti, this film is disorienting. I donít love movies filmed outside and its even worse when we are imposed with another culture, especially when it does not interest me at all; this is what happens in The Serpent and the Rainbow. In the same field of thought, however, those who are interested by poverty, corruption and people with rotten teeth, this movie is for you!

Final Thoughts

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Memorables aspects
- Dargent Peytraud, the corrupted police officer, nailing Dennisí testicles to incite him to leave the country.
- Dennis hallucinating a blood-filled coffin of which he is the prisoner.

Memorables characters

Released in: 1988

Movie type: Horror - Gothism - Fantasy - Diseases

Films in similar category:
Dracula 2000
Lair of the White Worm, The
Embrace of the Vampire
Rose Red

My evaluation
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( 2002-03-11 )  

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