Thanks to Graveyard Shift Sisters and Black Girl Nerds for hosting a #FridayNightHorror Live Tweet of The Serpent and the Rainbow, or else I probably wouldn’t have revisited this under-rated Wes Craven classic for who knows how long.
Bill Pullman plays Dennis Alan, who hears about a ritual in Haiti that turns people into Zombies. It’s shrouded in magic, but he believes the substance used is the key to anesthesia in the operating room without gas or chemicals . He sets out to find the secret but ends up getting into more than he bargained for. One thing I’m sure he was happy with was meeting Marielle Duchamp played by beautiful Cathy Tyson.
As I had mentioned in the Live Tweet, one of the things I admired about the film back in the day was the cast of black actors and actresses. And that it had the backdrop of the country of Haiti and its political strife. It was especially uncommon to see a person of African decent play the villain, and Zakes Mokae as Dargent Peytraud played it so well. I had also noticed that it didn’t include any of the camp that Craven was known for in other films, before or since. Seems he took the story and the culture more seriously as a filmmaker.
The film had great horrific dream sequences, and nightmarish scenarios. I think it may have suffered a little towards the end. But looking back, Serpent was a great piece of horror work, with what looked like genuine Caribbean culture mixed in (as genuine as Hollywood can get). it’s streaming for now on Netflix if you want to check it out.