The Serpent and the Rainbow

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Craven's tale of voodoo and revolution on the island of Haiti is like a bad Graham Greene adaptation seen under the influence of hallucinogenic substances. A Harvard anthropologist (Pullman), searching for the toxic drug used by voodoo priests to zombify their victims, spends a lot of time hanging around graveyards, checking out charlatan goat-revivers, and experiencing weird dreams. He is much taken with psychiatrist Cathy Tyson, less keen on the attentions of Baby Doc Duvalier's Ton Ton Macoute, especially when head honcho Winfield acquaints him with a blowtorch and threatens to drive a nail through his dick. Making effective use of snakes, tarantulas, scorpions and zombie brides, Craven piles on the nightmare sequences and nerve-jangling sounds. Unfortunately, the political parallel between the ideological repression of Baby Doc's regime and the stultifying effects of the zombifying fluid is only sketchily developed, leaving us with a series of striking but isolated set pieces.

Release details

Duration: 97 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Wes Craven
Screenwriter: Richard Maxwell, AR Simoun
Cast: Bill Pullman
Cathy Tyson
Zakes Mokae
Paul Winfield
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