The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988) Review

As I like to do, I read first, watch second. The general rule stands as the book is always better, but that’s not always true. Sometimes the film is better. This proves to be one of those times when both book and film are equal and sit on the same shelf. Unfortunately, this time, it isn’t a high shelf. Wade Davis’ 1985 book, The Serpent and the Rainbow is a second shelf book. The film adaptation, 1988’s The Serpent and the Rainbow, is equally dreadful. Second shelf, and only because I made it through and didn’t give it “DNF” status.

I’ve seen The Serpent and the Rainbow a few times. I remembered it as “Hollywoodization” and couldn’t be close to the original book. After finishing the book, I immediately watched the film. Davis’ main mission is about the only thing from the original here. That and our “hero” played by Bill Pullman, resembles the author. You know him. Spaceballs. Other than him, I’ve never heard of any of these other main cast members. I’ve barely heard of Pullman. Still, it isn’t his, or any of the cast’s fault for the horrible film.

Horror legend Wes Craven directs the Richard Maxwell screenplay. Adam Rodman came up with the story based on Davis’ book. Doug Claybourne, David Ladd, and Rob Cohen produce. This Universal Pictures presentation hit theaters on February 5, 1988. Some of the graveyard scenes and a few other remind me of horror films from 20 years early coming from saw, Roger Corman and AIP, or similar outlets around the same time. At 98 minutes, The Serpent and the Rainbow isn’t long, but feels twice the length. As far as a zombie film, I don’t really go for zombie stuff, except a few of the true classics. Hello White Zombie. As a horror film, well, it isn’t. The only horror part I found was a seen with a tarantula. I HATE spiders. My advice is pass on the book and the film.

Copyright © Drew Martin 2021

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