Tag Archives: Christian scare film


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Indicator’s expansive Blu-ray box set “From Hollywood to Heaven: The Lost and Saved Films of the Ormond Family,” released in conjunction with ‘s “byNWR” project, collects a remarkable 13 films produced by the incredible Ormond family, split about halfway between their secular and their Christian exploitation films. When I first learned of the existence of this set, I wished that the late 366 collaborator Alfred Eaker had lived to see it. After all, he had endured at least one of Ormond’s proselytizing scare films projected on the wall of a basement of a Pentecostal church as an impressionable child in the 1980s; the experience scarred him emotionally, and was part of an abusive evangelical upbringing that led him to a lifelong crusade against Christian fundamentalism. Alfred reviewed several of ‘s films for this site, a job absolutely no one else volunteered for, and clearly relished trashing this godly man’s reputation (not that Ormond had much of a reputation as a filmmaker to tarnish). I can’t help but believe that Alfred would be tickled by this hi-def testament to his old nemesis’ film legacy, and would have been the first to volunteer to cover it in all its icky, gooey, sanctimonious glory. I imagine he would have been far more gleefully savage in his assessment than my level-headed remarks, but that was always his role as the 366 gadfly.

Historically speaking, the Ormond empire rightfully begins with June Carr, a lovely and talented vaudevillian comic foil who appeared onscreen with Bob Hope, among other luminaries, and who even headlined at the London Palladium for a short time. For some reason, June was smitten with a handsome but unsuccessful stage magician named Ron Ormond. Per June, they tied the knot two weeks after she first laid eyes on him onstage in 1935 and declared she would marry him one day. Thus began a dynasty. It’s difficult to watch June Carr’s early performances without concluding that she married beneath her Hollywood standing, but the couple remained hitched for four decades, through better and (usually) worse films, and richer and (usually) poorer receipts. By all accounts, it was a happy union.

The first stage in the Ormond film saga consists of the eleven B-westerns Ron directed (with June handling the distribution) starring bullwhip expert Lash Larue. To anyone who’s not a fan of the Lash, these are generally considered competent and uninteresting pictures, and are not included in the set before us. Also not appearing in this collection is one early “classic” bad movie co-directed by Ormond, Mesa of Lost Women (1952), about a mad scientist seeking to create a race of superwomen by injecting them with spider venom.

Ron and June continued to make undistinguished exploitation movies. But let us fast-forward to 1955, when the Ormonds set out on their own as independent producers, and where this set begins its comprehensive coverage. Our journey begins with Untamed Mistress. Three men travel into the jungle on a “safairy” (as they insist on calling their safari), accompanied by a woman raised by gorillas; when they get into gorilla country, the apes want her back—carnally. It’s a badly stitched together story with some padded narrative added to flesh out stock footage and parts of a Sabu movie Ron had directed-for-hire. “National Geographic”-style nudity in the form of home movie footage (taken by Mickey Rooney’s doctor!) of topless African women performing authentic tribal dances, alongside newly-shot scenes of half-naked “native” dancers entertaining men wearing gorilla suits, explains why this was made. Despite the salacious material, rife with bestiality and racism, the film crawls at a snail’s pace, but it is more tolerable than some of the Ormond’s hicksploitation programmers to follow. It made money, and the Ormond’s homegrown business (eventually dubbed “the Ormond Organization”) was off.

Poster for please don't touch me (1963)After this, Ron did about four other (now lost?) low budget movies before the box set picks up again in 1963 with the unusual Please Don’t Touch Me, starring one Vicki Caron, a pneumatic redhead who would have immediately been the headliner at any burlesque joint she walked into. Caron was never seen or heard from again, but her frequent lingerie changes and a brief Continue reading CAPSULE: “FROM HOLLYWOOD TO HEAVEN: THE LOST AND SAVED FILMS OF THE ORMOND FAMILY”


Filmed by Karl Whinnery of www.hotkarlproductions.com , this is an excerpt of our own Alfred Eaker‘s performance of his Brother Cobweb character at The House of Shadows in Gresham, Oregon. “Brother Cobweb” is the title of Eaker’s forthcoming novel.

Temporarily removed.


‘s 1971 If Footman Tire You, What Will Horses Do? is likely to inspire the hackneyed question, “What Would Jesus Do?” The answer is that, if the old boy was actually forced to see it, is he would most assuredly become a militant atheist.

This first collaboration between recently saved exploitation hack Ron Ormond and Rev. Estus W. Pirkle is the accidental masterpiece of s, and of course it could only have been produced by Baptists ( knew of what he spoke when he cried, “These Baptists are stupid, stupid, stupid!”) It’s the only CINO denomination that can give Pentecostals a run for the money (and boy, do they run for the money). Like Ormond and Pirkle’s 1974 followup, The Burning Hell, Footman was one of the few times the two denominations put aside theological differences. I doubt a single soul within either camp is overly familiar with the word theology: one of mother dear’s visiting evangelists referred to the field as “soundin’ like some kinda bug ya might catch.” Being subjected to a viewing of Footman went hand-in-hand with all the apocalyptic sermons we were force-fed, because deep into the Cold War, Commies made the top ten list of demonic demographics (along with gays, Catholics—especially of the Mexican variety, because they were trying to invade, Jews, civil rights activists, gun control advocates, women’s libbers, Democrats, rock and roll musicians, and TV shows such as “Bewitched” and “Superman“) that inspired frenzied tongue-speaking outbreaks.

Even before Ronald Reagan (whom the fundies were initially suspicious of since the name RONALD WILSON REAGAN added up to 666, and he met with old Charlie Pope!), the Soviet Union was the Evil Empire. Over half the sermons focused on exactly what was gonna happen to Bible-believin’ Christians once the Russkies invaded and gotta hold of ’em. Modeling myself after the prodigal and leaving mother dear’s church in the early eighties, I’m not sure what they focused on after the Soviet Union’s fall, but Jack Chick sure was forced to go back and change a helluva lot of his tracts (Harry Potter became a noteworthy focus, but it just doesn’t register quite like the Red Army).

Being born again didn’t include any miraculous upgrade in regards to Ormond’s (cough) filmmaking skills. He’s just as inept as he was directing monster T&A films, trading in cleavage for the Republican Jesus. That is to our benefit, because a pre-glory walk Ron Ormond would probably be a mere footnote in the book of Z-budget exploitation filmmakers (with the exception of his opus Mesa of Lost Women). However, under the auspices of Jesus, Ormond evolved into the undisputed Protestant prophet of Christsploitation.

Still from If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do?Footman springs from the Cold War climate of fear, and is a hodgepodge of dressed up as a Christian scare film. It opens with the stoic Pirkle sermonizing to his extremely well-fed Baptist zombie flock (several keep nodding off in the pew), who go out of their way to live Continue reading RON ORMOND’S CHRISTIAN SCARE FILM: IF FOOTMEN TIRE YOU, WHAT WILL HORSES DO? (1971)


Like before him, had a brief, inspired period of lunacy, best seen in his two Christian scare masterstrokes: If Footman Tire You, What Will Horses Do? (1971) and The Burning Hell (1974). After these, he lost his demented mojo. While 1976’s The Grim Reaper has much to recommend it (within a certain mindset), an element of fatigue has set in. The first and most obvious sign is the absence of Rev. (he and Ormond had a falling out over money—imagine that!), and as unfathomable as it may be, that stoic nutcase is immediately missed. The second major flaw is Ormond’s futile attempt at a linear narrative, proving he didn’t quite grasp the fact that the appeal of his previous two films was as crowning examples of evangelical .

Still from The Grim Reaper (1976)One thing that The Grim Reaper does accomplish is fleshing out, on celluloid at least, the Baptist maxim “you’re goin’ to hay-ull.” One can always tell a Baptist because that’s their favorite catchphrase, and they haven’t grown tired of it yet.

Tim (played again by Ormond’s son Tim, now minus facial fair and sporting a Baptist haircut) and his mama, Ruby (Viola Walden) are saved. Unfortunately, his dad, Vern (Cecil Scaife) and brother, Frankie (Eddie King) are unsaved trash.

Worse, Eddie races cars! Now, the film doesn’t go into the semantics of “what if a race car driver is saved?” My Pentecostal aunt found herself in that same undesired predicament with one of her brood, but since Pentecostals don’t believe in “once saved, always saved,” I guess her boy wasn’t saved, even if he claimed to be. While the appeal of watching cars driving around a circle is a tad perplexing and the idea of racing is foolhardy, one might be hard pressed to locate the sin in it.

Still, Eddie isn’t saved. Tim attempts a literal last second death conversion by pleading with Eddie to recite the sinner’s prayer before succumbing to injuries from a wreck. Stupidly, Eddie doesn’t accept Jesus as his lord and personal savior. Now, Eddie’s gonna fry, but good. Such half-baked theology lacks a bit of spiritual common sense. The Ormond hypothesis follows Baptist reasoning (?!) pretty closely. According to them, if a serial killer gets saved before he dies, he goes to heaven (an example is Jeffrey Dahmer, who some actually claimed was saved in this manner). However, if his victims didn’t get the chance to say the sinner’s prayer and died immediately (as we assume some did), then they have go to Hell. Shit outta luck, dude—it’s a “the rules are the rules” kinda thing, as the Baptist preacher tells Eddie’s mum and dad. Sorry, folks, I can’t say he’s in heaven at the funeral because he’s burning in Hell now (as if dying in a fiery death wasn’t punishment enough). Yes, these are adults who Continue reading RON ORMOND’S CHRISTIAN SCARE DOUBLE FEATURE: THE GRIM REAPER (1976) AND THE BELIEVER’S HEAVEN (1977)


A few months back, a co-worker sent me a meme of Homer Simpson mimicking Donald Trump mimicking a handicapped reporter under the heading: “Look Marge… I’m a Christian.” If one associates Christianity with brain dead right-wing WASPs, then the only better symbol than a Homer parody would be walking caricature Kirk Cameron. In addition to his roll-on-the-floor Left Behind rapture series, Cameron, in 2014, prefiguring Trump and his Trumptards, took it upon himself to “Save Christmas” and ‘Murica from all those War-on-Christmas “Happy Holiday” and “Season’s Greetings” coffee cups (with no snowflakes, dammit).

Like all of Cameron’s movies, Saving Christmas was universally panned, which prompted the Christian entrepreneur (smelling a potential box office loss for his booming franchise) to panic. He called on “the real people” (as opposed to the sub-human critics) to give him a thumbs up: “Help me storm the gates of Rotten Tomatoes,” he wrote, “all of you who love Saving Christmas – go rate it at Rotten Tomatoes right now and send the message to all the critics that WE decide what movies we want our families to see.” Kirk’s endeavor promptly backfired. Even the “real people” ripped it to pieces, which of course Cameron blamed on liberal atheists, no doubt paid off by George Soros. Now, before we dismiss this as yet another easy target: lest we forget ‘Murica elected Cameron’s triple-chinned, mentally-challenged, pedophile-conspiracy kook,  silver-spoon fed billionaire, and CINO (“Christian-in-Name-Only”) prophet to the highest office of the land in 2016. Saving Christmas is is a lump of stocking coal that ‘Murica has reaped.

The irony of Saving Christmas is that it’s the most dumbed-down, offensive, holiday killing, morally bankrupt Christmas movie ever produced, especially if one subscribes to the precepts taught by one Jesus of Nazareth. It actually embraces and endorses avarice and gluttony, and takes to task wimps who dare suggest that giving money to charity or the less fortunate is more Christ-like than spending money on oneself (apparently, the filmmakers never read the Lazarus and the Rich Man parable). Cameron’s movie, directed by co-star and fellow disgusting human being Darren Doane, does a Linus in reverse, proclaiming how good and Christian materialism actually is because, ya know, Jesus doesn’t really want peace on earth to men of good will, he wants us to to gorge on the day we celebrate his birthday. (Cameron’s head-scratching thesis insists that holiday materialism is good because God, taking over Christmas, became material). Having the chutzpah to proclaim that his masterpiece puts Christ back in Christmas, Continue reading STOCKING COAL: KIRK CAMERON’S SAVING CHRISTMAS (2014) & THE BURNING HELL (1974)