Wes Craven’s Horror Movie The Serpent And The Rainbow Is Tied To A True Zombie Story – SlashFilm


The full name of Davis’ book is actually “The Serpent and the Rainbow: A Harvard Scientist’s Astonishing Journey into the Secret Societies of Haitian Voodoo, Zombies, and Magic,” and while it is purported to be a true story, there have been some critics over the years that question its veracity. However, according to Davis, a man named Clairvius Narcisse claimed that he had been turned into a zombie after being fed a local plant that caused him to lose many of his faculties, rendering him a shuffling, obedient, enslaved person. It’s terrifying stuff that makes the Hollywoodified hoodoo in movies like “The Skeleton Key” seem sort of silly in comparison, especially because Davis claimed to have found the plant compounds needed to create the coupe poudre to give to a zombie himself, practicing on rats and a monkey.

The powder almost always included the Datura Stramonium plant, and in Davis’ animal tests it caused the creatures to be frozen stiff and nearly dead, but they all revived within 24 hours. Further attempts at recreating the experiments were unsuccessful, leading many to wonder if a belief in Vodou creates suggestibility that allows a person to fall into the powder’s trance-like state. To this day, the stories of real zombies in Haiti have yet to be fully confirmed or verified, but there are first-hand accounts and even a few photos of alleged zombies. (One of the most famous, in Hurston’s “Tell My Horse,” is believed to have actually been a very mentally ill woman, but again, it’s all still up for debate!)

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