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Rain of Fire aka The Chosen aka Holocaust 2000 (1977)

April 30th, 2014 by unkle lancifer · 10 Comments

There’s nothing like scrounging through a used DVD bin. Thank God there are still a few places in my vicinity where I can do that. Buying off of the Internet may be convenient and all, but it kills the thrill of the hunt and robs fate of its chance to shove something in your face that you didn’t know you wanted. Synchronicity and serendipity teamed up to insure that RAIN OF FIRE and I should collide. Recently while flipping through some movies at a favorite haunt, I knocked a bunch of DVDs on the ground and there it was just staring up at me. It was ugly and I wondered if it was in the wrong section. It was dressed like a public domain reject. It had the worst cover art ever sporting a shame faced KIRK DOUGLAS standing in front of a wall of fire. So much for love at first sight.

Luckily curiosity got the better of me and I investigated the back of the case. I was shocked to see LION’S GATE had put out this dreadful looking package and then I thought about it for a second and remembered that they have no idea what they are doing. Hold up now! Turns out RAIN OF FIRE was directed by ALBERTO DeMARTINO, the loon that brought us THE TEMPTER and the music was done by our pal ENNIO MORRICONE! The synopsis even mentions something about the devil. This is an apocalyptic Italian Satan flick! At $2.99, pathetic packaging or not, I was sold.

Some folks may complain that RAIN (aka HOLOCAUST 2000 aka THE CHOSEN aka LUCIFER’S CURSE) is a brazen OMEN rip-off, but to me that’s nothing to complain about. Truth told it doesn’t resemble THE OMEN so much as it does OMEN 3: THE FINAL CONFLICT, which is kinda impressive considering that in 1977 that sequel hadn’t been made yet. I guess RAIN saw where THE OMEN series was heading and decided to cut it off at the pass. Between you and me, I found it to be more entertaining than OMEN 3 (though it’s still nowhere near as good as OMENS 1&2) though maybe I should watch that one again just to be sure. Eh, on second thought, it doesn’t matter. Let’s just say any and all end of the world movies involving the devil are welcome here.

DOUGLAS plays a rich business dude who wants to build a nuclear power plant and his son SIMON WARD couldn’t be more enthusiastic about the plan because he is secretly the antichrist and doesn’t mind destroying the entire world if the opportunity should arise. This movie is not quite as wacky as our beloved THE VISITOR (what is?) but it is certainly cut from the same nutso Italian cloth and features quite a few of its own inexplicable, psychedelic sanity lapses. What really gives it a lead over OMEN 3 though is the fact that at one point some guy gets the top of his head sliced off by a helicopter propeller a’la DAWN OF THE DEAD which by the way, was still a year away. Guess which movie I think handles the effect better? Hint: my answer is absolute horror fan sacrilege.

Another big plus to this movie is DOUGLAS and his impossible chin. This is far down on the list of roles he’ll be remembered for but the guy has unquestionable presence and brings a certain ‘70s disaster-vibe to the table. I appreciate the novelty of having an older male lead even as I question the choice to have him run about buck-naked in so many scenes. Hey, it was the seventies. The ending probably could have used some retooling, as anything besides the total annihilation of mankind is a let down for such a flick but I was never bored which is more than I can say for my experience with OMEN 3 (there I go again).

What can I say? This movie has a lovely glass insane asylum where everybody is fond of taupe and beige where one guy gets his head smashed into hamburger, a bit where medical professionals are fine with fulfilling DOUGLAS’ instructions to pretend to give his pregnant gal pal (AGOSTINA BELLI) a routine check-up while actually performing an unwanted abortion and it has a nifty, giant seven-headed dragon monster that symbolizes a nuclear power plant. And it’s all wrapped in this swell “Save the Earth” wrapper that GODZILLA VS. THE SMOG MONSTER would totally approve of.

One thing is for sure, RAIN deserves something more than being completely forgotten. If punch-drunk, THE VISITOR can be reappraised and applauded for its idiosyncrasies, I don’t see why RAIN OF FIRE can’t be to. If you like cleft chins, Italian rip-offs, the satanic seventies or all of the above, pray to the antichrist that this flick falls into your life. And take a lesson from me; never judge a movie by its DVD cover.

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Tags: General Horror




10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 darkkoNo Gravatar // May 1, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Wow, I need to see this!

    I watched The Tempter/The Antichrist/Blasphemy a few days ago.

    It was amazing! I will never forget the goat scene.

    Excellent write up!

  • 2 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // May 1, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Darkko,

    If you liked THE TEMPTER you are sure to like this!

    I can’t believe after so many attempts they were unable to find a way to sell or even title this movie properly!

    It’s like a clusterfuck of bad marketing decisions that goes back decades.

    I think the best ad campaign was the one for THE CHOSEN, at least that looked like a horror movie.

    The proper title was right there in the movie!

    It should have been called THE SECOND SON!

    Because they made a big deal about the antichrist being the second son.

    and because they mentioned the nuclear explosion would be as hot as the sun.

    Plus they could have been more upfront about the fake THE OMEN sequel stance and used “You’ve met THE OMEN, Now meet THE SECOND SON!”

    If only I wasn’t a child back then I would have helped them.

  • 3 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // May 1, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Like this:

  • 4 darkkoNo Gravatar // May 1, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Of course, I just cancelled the DVD part of my Netflix plan, where I see this fine find is available.

    After some searching, looks like I will have to pony up to Amazon to rent it.

    That’s an awesome poster you made, nice!!

    Ya know, I haven’t watched it recently, but I remember kinda liking The Omen 3. That being said, I’m most likely biased by my love for Sam Neill.

    Here’s what I ended up doing after I watched The Antichrist. It is my ode to the simulated goat rimming.

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v23/nothing227/10313669_10203714291878303_2505932880487303061_n_zps46a2c234.jpg

  • 5 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // May 2, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Oh man, that goat scene! Jaw-droppy. I must seek out more movies from this director. I know I’ve seen BLOOD LINK with Michael Moriarty.

    I have to watch OMEN 3 again. It’s possible my expectations were too high.

    I remember my brother had the paperback movie tie-in for that one and the pictures inside it scared me more than the actual movie when I later saw it.

    The first two OMENS scared the crap out of me.

  • 6 GrokensteinNo Gravatar // May 3, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!

    Funny you should mention the ending needing retooling, because “Rain of Fire” and “Holocaust 2000/The Chosen” actually have different endings! Ironically and incredibly, the US version ends with…a good-guy suicide bombing? Oh hell.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ar3JgSIOW4E

    Personally though, I’m okay with the helpless and bleak original ending.

  • 7 darkkoNo Gravatar // May 5, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    Unk,

    The goat scene literally made my jaw drop! I was fidgeting around and just stopped what I was doing and stared blankly as her tongue thrashed about. I couldn’t believe it.

    Who puts in a close up scene of a goat’s butt hole?! I never wanted to see THAT!

    Blood Link looks promising. Browsing his IMDB page, I can’t say I have seen any others but The Tempter, and now Rain of Fire.

    Wow, I feel awkward admitting that it’s not the first time I’ve seen Kirk Douglas’ saggy pancakes.

    I had a flashback to Tough Guys(1986), where if I’m not mistaken, Douglas and Burt Lancaster “moon” someone while riding away on a train.

    Rain of Fire was strange! SPOILERS BELOW

    The scene where the nurse poisons all the babies was just plain dark!!

    I think my favorite part was when Douglas makes the connection between the power plants and the section of the Book of Revelations.

    I’m curious about the alternate ending Grokenstein mentions above.

  • 8 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // May 5, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    I will not create a 7 headed monster to destroy the world!

    Hmmm. Grok is right that the first ending is better. I wanted to think the alternate ending was better based on it being more insane but it implies that the evil was stopped and that’s no good for this movie. I wish it had an ending like THE MEDUSA TOUCH.

    Oh man, the baby poisoning scene! It doesn’t get much darker than that. Thank God they have the scene with the deer to balance that out.!

  • 9 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // May 5, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    TOUGH GUYS- Didn’t they use “So hip it hurts” by ABC in that movie? I recently saw the trailer for that on a VHS and now I want to watch it.

  • 10 darkkoNo Gravatar // May 6, 2014 at 12:25 am

    Haha! When I first read that, I thought you were making a joke by way of song. Hips, hurt, they’re old guys…

    I see that this song was indeed in the film!

    I saw this movie in a theater and remember thinking it was highly entertaining and really liking it.

    Also, being a bit traumatized at seeing Douglas/Lancater’s butts!

    I was 11 years old though, and haven’t seen it since. Might be due for a revisit!

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