John Travolta’s ‘forgettable’ debut: a satanic zombie with no eyes and screaming, “Blasphemer!” | LOS40 Classic | LOS40

Just two years before From being Tony Manero in ‘Saturday Night Fever’ or Danny Zuko in ‘Grease’, John Travolta played Danny. But who is Danny? Surely, he himself does not remember when he played satanic zombie without eyes and with a melted face in ‘The devil’s rain’. Was his first film rolealthough barely appeared on the screen for a minuteand I just had to say twice the word “Blasphemer!”. On June 20, 1975, the ‘premier’, little memorable, from whom shortly after, with a hit of the hip, he would be catapulted to the top of the Hollywood hills.

An illustrious cast and John Travolta

In the 70s, John Joseph Travolta was a young American actor who was beginning to take his first steps in the world of acting. He was 18 years old, when he first appeared on television, in an episode of the series ‘Emergency!’. In 1975, at 21, he got his first major role on the ABC sitcom ‘Welcome back, Kotter’, which was filmed with an audience present.

The cast of ‘Welcome Back, Kotter’ / ABC Photo Archives

That same year, 1975, coinciding with the good audience data of the seriesTravolta was offered his first film role, in the horror film ‘The Devil’s Rain’, dDirected by Robert Fuest. Filled with spectacular images of eyeless zombies roaming a deserted ghost town, the story begins when the leader of the satanic cult is burned alive in the local church and vows that he will return to trap and enslave every descendant of his congregation. He illustrious cast includes William Shatner (Captain Kirk in the ‘Star Trek’ series) to the noir legend, the filmmaker Ida Lupino or the winner of the Oscar for Best Actor for ‘Marty’, the great Ernest Borgininewho stars in the film.

The actor Ernest Borgnine characterized for the film 'The Devil's Rain'

The actor Ernest Borgnine characterized for the film ‘The Devil’s Rain’ / Jack Tinney

“Danny the Satanic Meltdown!”

Among so many stars together, the name of an – almost – unknown young actor appeared which was released in movie theaters. Was “Danny the Satanic Meltdown!” One of the many followers, with tunic and black hoodof the powerful Jonathan Corbis (Ernest Borgnine) the earthly incarnation of Satan, the High Priest of the cult of evil. Unrecognizable under those prosthetics designed to make him look like an eyeless satanic zombie with a melted face..

Travolta appears onscreen for about a minute. It was not necessary for her to spend time memorizing the script. has no dialogue. Although yes a sentence. Actually, it’s more a word than a phrase, but repeated twice: “Blasphemer! Blasphemer!”

Its role is insignificant, but it calls the pay attention to the excessively generous position he occupied in the opening credits: between Ida Lupino, and the founder of the Church of Satan, Anton LaVey (hired as a technical assistant, in addition to making a cameo). It could be said that John is a extra extolled in ‘The Devil’s Rain’, although it is true that his name began to rise like foam thanks to the success of the sitcom ‘Welcome Back, Kotter’. even in ads of the film that were published in the press, your name was added.

“It’s as scary as seeing a fried egg”

The promising film career of John Travolta, started on an unfavorable note. The critics were devastating with the film and it received a unanimous negative response by the experts of the seventh art. Until the director denounced the story as incoherent and full of gaps. Even the tagline, “Heaven Helps Us When the Devil’s Rain Falls,” is meaningless. Vincent Canby of the New York Times opined: “The Devil’s Rain is ostensibly a horror movie, but it barely manages to deliver.” fear… scares as much as seeing a fried egg”.

John Travolta at the 2023 Oscars

John Travolta at the 2023 Oscars / Kevin Winter

Devastating to discover that, despite being John Travolta’s film debut, he barely appears. Onwards, things could only get better for the actor. Even though he, too, would make some terrible films over the next few years, at least he had dialogue and he wasn’t portraying a melted-faced satanist.

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John Travolta’s ‘forgettable’ debut: a satanic zombie with no eyes and screaming, “Blasphemer!” | LOS40 Classic | LOS40