DNDF: Satan Lives Under Rocks

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Saturday, November 2, 2013

DNDF: Satan Lives Under Rocks

Horror on Snape Island (1972)

  • Original Title: Tower of Evil
  • Genre: Horror
  • Directed: Jim O'Connolly
  • Produced:
    • Richard Gordon 
    • John Pellatt 
    • Joe Solomon
  • Written:
    • George Baxt 
    • Jim O'Connolly
  • Starring: Bryant Haliday, Jill Haworth, Mark Edwards, Anna Palk
  • Music: Kenneth V. Jones
  • Cinematography: Desmond Dickinson
  • Editing: Henry Richardson
  • Studio: Grenadier Films
  • Distributed:
    • Anglo-EMI Film Distributors  
    • MGM-EMI  
    • Fanfare Films  
    • Independent-International Pictures  
    • Gorgon Video
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: October 1972
  • Running Time: 89 minutes
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Language: English

Tower of Evil, also known by the title Beyond the Fog in the United States and Horror of Snape Island and Horror on Snape Island in Canada, is a 1972 British horror film.  The film is regarded by horror fans as being ahead of its time, as it crosses old world Gothic themes (dark setting, mythical superstitions, gloomy atmosphere) with many elements of the modern slasher film (elusive killer, bloody murders, sexually active characters as victims).  The film was shot at Shepperton Studios in Shepperton, Surrey, England in 1971.

This gory low-budget British outing involves a team of archaeologists landing on fog-shrouded Snape Island -- recently the site of a hideous double murder -- in search of the tomb of a Phoenician chief and subsequently falling victim to an unseen maniac.  Accompanying the shore party is a private detective, hired by the family of the young woman suspected of the crimes, who is determined to get to the bottom of the mysterious murders.  Though it is eventually determined that the real killer is still at large, the archaeologists stubbornly refuse to abort their dig...and summarily suffer the consequences.  Released originally in 1972, this crass, exploitative potboiler (based on a story by horror author George Baxt) found its way to American theaters in 1981 as Beyond the Fog in an attempt to cash in on John Carpenter's 1980 film.  Released later to video and cable as Tower of Evil.

The film was dismissed as mere exploitation fodder by many critics.  Film critic Leonard Maltin gave the film a BOMB rating and mockingly said "One of the Horrors of Snape Island is the film itself".  However, over the years, the film has been embraced as something of an underground classic by the horror community.  The Terror Trap horror review rated the film positively and said "Think the Brits are uptight, watch 'this' fun slasher flick...".  Elite Entertainment released Tower of Evil on DVD for the first time in 1999.  On December 12, 2008, Turner Classic Movies showed the film as part of their late night TCM Underground series.


The Devil's Rain (1975)

  • Genre: Horror
  • Directed: Robert Fuest
  • Produced:
    • James V. Cullen 
    • Michael S. Glick 
    • Gerald Hopman 
    • Sandy Howard 
    • Louis Peraino
  • Written:
    • James Ashton 
    • Gabe Essoe 
    • Gerald Hopman
  • Starring: William Shatner, Ernest Borgnine, Tom Skerritt, John Travolta, Eddie Albert, Anton LaVey
  • Music: Al De Lory
  • Cinematography: Alex Phillips Jr.
  • Editing: Michael Kahn
  • Studio: Sandy Howard Productions
  • Distributed:
    • Bryanston Distributing  
    • Joseph Brenner Associates  
    • Wm. Lange & Associates  
    • Columbia Broadcasting System  
    • United Home Video  
    • Dark Sky Films
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: August 12, 1975
  • Running Time: 86 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

The Devil's Rain is a 1975 low-budget horror film, directed by Robert Fuest.  It was one of several B-films in which William Shatner starred in between the original Star Trek television series and Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  Other familiar names in the cast included Tom Skerritt, Ernest Borgnine, Eddie Albert, Ida Lupino, and Keenan Wynn.  John Travolta also appeared in an early minor role.Satanist Anton LaVey is credited as the movie's technical advisor, and appeared in the film playing a minor role.

A curse hovers over the Preston family, caused by their betrayal of the Satanic priest Jonathan Corbis (Ernest Borgnine).  Corbis has followed the Preston family for generations, in pursuit of a Satanic book through which he obtains great power.  Corbis first captures the father, Steve Preston, who is allowed to escape home to warn his wife and younger son about Corbis's wrath, and to tell them to give the book to Corbis; at which point Steve Preston then melts into a waxy substance, apparently melting in the rain.

Mark Preston (Shatner) takes the book, hoping to meet with Corbis and defeat him.  The two eventually meet in a ghost town in the desert, where Corbis gives Preston a drink of water from an old hand-pumped well; Preston drinks and then spits it out, proclaiming the water to be bitter.  Corbis smiles and replies, "Sweet way to end a thirst, though."

Following that, Preston challenges Corbis to a battle of faith, which ends with Preston pulling a 1911 .45 pistol on Corbis.  Corbis asks, "Is THAT your faith?" at which point Preston tries to escape.  Surrounded by Satanists, Preston pulls out his cross, which then appears to transform into a snake, and he discards.  He is promptly captured by the Satanic followers of Corbis.  Corbis later begins a ceremony which wipes Mark's memory clean with the "water of forgetfulness" in preparation for a ceremony later that evening.

Meanwhile Preston's older brother, Tom (Tom Skerritt), and his wife Julie, have gone to look for Mark; they are accompanied by Dr. Sam Richards (Albert), a psychic researcher.  Tom witnesses his brother's total conversion to a Satanic puppet in a ceremony in which Corbis is so completely taken over by the devil that he transforms into a goat-like being.  Tom is discovered but escapes the Satanists, and later meets up with Richards at the Satanic church, where they discover the source of Corbis's power—a porcelain container known as The Devil's Rain, which contains the souls of Corbis's converts.

Corbis and the Satanists then arrive at the church, and Richards threatens to destroy the Devil's Rain, which he then does, and makes good his escape.  The Satanists melt in the rain as a storm rages as Tom and his wife make a hasty exit.  As Tom holds his wife, the audience discovers that it is actually Corbis he is embracing and his wife's soul has become trapped within a new Devil's Rain.

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