The Serpeant and the Rainbow (1988)

Directed by: Wes Craven

Written by:
Richard Maxwell & Adam Rodman,
Wade Davis (Novel)


Bill Pullman .... Dennis Allen
Cathy Tyson .... Marielle Duchamp
Zakes Mokae .... Dargent Peytraud
Paul Winfield .... Lucien Celine
Brent Jennings .... Louis Mozart
Conrad Roberts .... Christophe
Badja Djola .... Gaston
Therea Merritt .... Simone
Michael Brooke .... Schoonbacher
Paul Guilfoyle .... Andrew Cassedy
Dey Young .... Mrs. Cassedy

Release Date:
Theatrical: February 5, 1988

*Images courtesy at:



An anthropologist Dennis Allen (Bill Pullman) travels to Haiti after he hears about a drug used by black magic and turning people into zombies so he can discover this in which he is met by a beautiful woman Marielle Duchamp (Cathy Tyson) on which he has a strong love relationship with who helps him out but is also encountered by a nasty amabassador Dargent Peytraud (Zakes Mokae) who doesn't want his type snooping around and threatens him to leave the country and seems to know about some nightmares that he has while beiong there which involves serpeants attacking him as well as a corpse that was robbed from a grave.


While watching this flick it didn't seem so much of a horror but a biography drama in which it seemed a bit boring to watch at first by watching Africans as well as some of them doing voodoo type of events and I was thinking that the horror seems to slowly come out here but very slowly.
There seems to be some strange moments surrounding the lead character named Dennis Alan like a tiger chasing after him in the jungle but yet this creature seems to be not as vicious like you think and when it catches up to him it's very tame and then there's some sort of a voodoo guy watching him. I was thinking to myself that maybe this fellow tamed this sort of beast to be friendly.
But yet there's more horror like an evil amabassador type named Dargent Peytraud making out that he's casting a spell on him and he is sucked into the ground with zombies underneath pulling at him which seemed fairly clever. However alot of the story was narrated by this Dennis guy which didn't do much for me though.
However there's some nice soothing moments like Dennis having a romance with one of the Haiti locals named Marielle Duchamp in which their moments seemed fairly mellow especially a lustful moment between the two of them as it all seemed to work well with the story involved here.
The horror continues with alot of nightmare sequences like a serpeant trying to attack Dennis or a zombie charging after him and then it's only a dream... or is it???
To any goat lovers may not want to see a moment where someone feeds their goat with poison and it slowly passes out. I started to wonder if he killed this harmless pet or not when Dennis does some researching.
The film looks dark when Dennis spots some graverobbers spotting a corpse that attacked him in his dream which looked cool to watch and made me wonder as to why no controversy started when the graverobbers were caught making the story mysterious big time.
The story turns psychological in a good painful situation as Dennis is strapped naked in a chair underwear down when Dargent is about to tortue him making me wonder if he is gonna do it in the family jewels or not. OOOOOOHH!!!!! This looked very mafia like as well as Dennis scared shitless which seemed intimidating big time.
Next up more nightmarish sequences on Dennis being buried alive which can be anyone's nightmare for suffocating to death and then waking up and spotting a decapitated head which made me wonder if the writers borrowed this moment from The Godfather but it was no horses head.
Even when Dennis seems to be awake he spots hallucinations after he is forced to leave Africa including a hand coming out of his soup. This seems to borrow a bit of formula from Wes Craven's classic A Nightmare On Elm Street with the dreams and then spotting real hallucinations as this worked very well along with someone behaving possessively at the dinner table. Yup this is definetely a horror film and it's about time the horror came into the story.
But the suspense gets even better when he reutrns to Haiti and then assumed dead after being brutally attacked and his nightmare coming true that he is being buried alive with a tarantula being placed on his head by Dargent as this was well put in proving this fellow is built on a cold blooded personality. The intense horror really starts afterwards when he tries to get out of his coffin and is not the same afterwards. He almost seems like that he has risen from the dead as well as encountering others who he has had a good relationship with born again with shocking moments as what one of them does which I won't give away the story here.
Then towards the near end there's a perfect vengeful scene with Dennis towards Dargent which seemed necessary for his nasty deeds making this also enjoyable and giving this a two bats apart from the boring story quarter way through the flick.
Bottom line is there's good effects used in the movie but it is quite slow. However Craven fans may love it. However I am a Craven fan myself and found this flick to be a bore as the poster art seemed more entertaining than the story itself. But again that's just my personal opinion.

The acting was crisply done in which lead actor Bill Pullman (Dennis Allan) shows alot of good characteristics in his role having a nice seriousness to his behavior as well as acting challenging too by what he does during certain suspsenseful moments. He also shows great disturbed reactions on the terrifying moments surrounding him and showing a good emotional attitude with all of this. A good reaction on him after finding out that someone is trying to attack him in a room and then him scrambling out a back window and running away which looked extremely hyped. A nice startled reaction on him when a snake slithers towards him. Does a great job acting anxious trying to protect someone. Does well by acting shocked after spotting a head in his bed behaving anxious. He shows terrific energy screaming intensely while lying in the coffin and struggling to get out as this was at a terrific pace. He also does a nice job running and wobbling intensely around with a great anxious behavior. He can switch from one behavior to another easily proving to be a good versatile character actor.
Cathy Tyson (Marielle Duchamp) shows off a nice charming attitude in her role by acting very outgoing and showing alot of nice energy to her role in which you can tell that she was up for a good challenge which really shows this in a great way too. I could see her getting work in other shows since she pulls off her part as a local in Haiti and and comes across beautful too.
Zakes Mokae (Dargent Peytraud) really stole the film with his performance as a wicked type of ambassador or mafia type in his local area of Africa. He brings on a perfect coldness to his speaking as well as showing a good devilish type of attitude too. I often enjoyed his performances in shows and he really took the bull by it's horns with this flick. He showed alot of terrific intensive behavior for everything he did and seemed to be built around evil. A great menacing and snarling speaking by him holding a flame welding object towards him forcing him to scream as this looked fairly intense. Does a good job speaking wickedly while putting a tartantula on someone's face. Bless his soul as I will greatly miss him since he sadly passed away.
Paul Winfield (Lucien Celine) seemed to come across nicely and mysterious as some sort of a witch doctor voodoo type. He also knew on how to react well in certain situations like something is very wrong bringing out some decent energy. Seems to be fairly impressive breaking down and choking half to death.
Conrad Roberts (Christophe) was another mysterious one who knew his stuff by choking out his words as well as having a good paranoid type of behavior. He brought out alot of intensive emotions with what he did throughout his performance.
Michael Brooke (Schoonbacher) draws a great seriousness with what he did in the film and was very strong with his speaking. Basically he drew across to the screen as someone with great wisdom. He stood out quite well in his supporting role.

Cathy Tyson appears barebreasted while fornicating.
There's a side shot on Bill Pullman wearing nothing while strapped to a chair.

Blood is rising up in a coffin nearly drowning Dennis
A decapitated head is found in a bed
A person tears his head off
A persons body is burned

Brad Fiedel was superb with his music in the film in which he has great jungle drum beatings along with many snake charming sounds and woodwind music too. It fit the story very well since it took place mainly in a jungle. He also uses the same theme songs used in the Terminator music with the heavy banging sounds along with some new jungle beat rhythms too combined in it.

[Doctor Allen is straped in a chair about to be tortured]
Dennis Alan: I'm a U.S. citizen! Think about that!
Dargent Peytraud: I don't see the Ambassador here, do you?

Dargent Peytraud: I want to hear you scream!

Dargent Peytraud: By the way, Doctor Allen. What did you dream about this afternoon? A woman in your arms? The sea at your doorstep? Nooooo! You dreamt of me and of the grave. I know because I was there. And I can be there every time you close your eyes. The pain I cause you, in the room upstairs, is nothing to the pain I can cause in your own mind. Remember that... Doctor Allen.