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11.19.08

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Phaedra

Rain of Fire

One disc; Lionsgate; $14.98

Reviewed by Michael S. Gant


Following in a long and distinguished tradition of great actors slumming late in their careers in horror and exploitation films (Joseph Cotten in The Torture Chamber of Baron Blood, Gregory Peck in The Omen, Ray Milland in The Thing With Two Heads) comes the rerelease of this hilarous 1977 U.K.-Italian apocalyptic smackdown called Rain of Fire (a.k.a. Holocaust 2000 and not to be confused with Matthew McConaughey's Reign of Fire), starring Kirk Douglas as a corporate raider with plans to erect a nuclear power plant in the Holy Land (with nary a word about what kind of an EIR that's going to require). His wife objects, but she gets bumped off early at a cocktail party by a kniefe-wielding crazy, thus eliminating the last voice of sound energy policy. A thornier problem arises when Kirk's son, Angel, played by Simon Ward (Young Winston), turns out to be in the running for the job of Antichrist with plans of his own for all those radioactive fuel rods. Kirk's main squeeze, Agostina Belli, draws unfair suspicion as the mother of a demon child, until all this theology gets sorted out in time for the climax. In the best scene, Douglas visits some madmen in a modernistic asylum where the patients are housed in clear Plexiglass rooms instead of the usual dank, barred cells. Keep a calculator handy—much of the plot depends on lots of Book of Revelations numerology. Ennio Morricone did the soundtrack, but not so you'd notice. Anthony Quayle shows up because, well, he needed a paycheck. Look for Adolfi Celi as Dr. Kerouac, known to Bond fans everywhere as Emilio Largo in Thunderball. No extras.


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