Monday, November 17, 2008

..for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cumeth **

"You happen to be talking to an agnostic. You know what an agnostic is? A cowardly atheist."
-- Studs Terkel

♣ ♣


 -->> .. The following represents the types of images i grew up with. Visually thru' movies at of all places a Catholic Church .. ( interesting that at the times of the early 1980s that Roman Catholic people of rather biased ideology, would show Evangelical sourced films ). Growing up in the Catholic Church and being bandied about all my mom's Evangelical, Presbyterian , Lutheran, Bible Christian ( i guess you'd call them ) , Mormon, and even Jehovah's Witness contacts and friends .. i was witness to a great many different views in what one would think was pretty much the same topic.

" THE RAPTURE " would come in some form or fashion .. and those terrible Horseman would fly around .. and all these good, white Evangelicals would go up flying into the fluffy clouds while all the Earth over-flowed with red, red rivers of plague, pestilence , and nuclear Armageddon.

All my pets would take up guns against me and all the frogs and locusts would come and eat n' rape me and give me the clap.


Exposure to all this to my very impressionable, developmentally challenged and ill young marshmallow mind pretty much left me so mixed up.

I do feel perhaps all that has helped turned me into the disillusioned mess that i am today as far as faith goes. Maybe that's part of the reason why i claim to be nothing, or as my Christian friends say .. i am agnostic.

Fine.. maybe i am a form of a coward.

So be it.

Whatever.. onto the teachings in this cross-post of the most revered of Reverends :: Steve Bissete

:: "Move Over, Jack T. Chick — Horrors! The Rapture!"

November 17th, 2008
“There will be milk deliveries unmade…”

Now that Chicago-based church-going is a Presidential topic of concern, it seems appropo to note the fearless sermonizing of Reverend Jeremiah Wright wasn’t the first to emerge from the Windy City — or the first to be demonized!

Lest you think fear-mongering Christian horror movies are a recent phenomenon, or that Jack T. Chick was the first to spread the faith in the 20th Century via creating and self-distributing horrific under-the-radar pop cultural artifacts, here’s the 1941 Carlos Octavia Baptista gem The Rapture, which may be the first of the Rapture horror movies.

As I tell my students, don’t ever accept at face value the claim of anything being ‘first’ — so, take my assertion with a grain of salt.

Baptista was born in San Cristobal, Venezuela; moved to America in 1915 and by 1938 Baptista was working as a cottage-industry-level film distributor, handling indie product from Chicago for Latin American venues. He reportedly constructed his own film lab in Chicago that same year and produced his first film in 1939, The Story of a Fountain Pen. It was based on a sermon Baptista had delivered at the Winnetka Bible Church, initiating his initial forays into evangelizing via film. It was a long uphill battle from there — involving, for a time, Baptista providing churches with projectors accompanying the sales of his short films — but Baptista’s efforts were the ambitious precursors to later evangelist movie firms like Mark IV Films and Peter and Paul LaLonde’s Cloud Ten Pictures studios.

Some historians and scholars of Christian film maintain Baptista didn’t produce any Rapture-related fare, but the following proves otherwise. It is different from the handful of Baptista films I’ve seen over the years, but it’s clearly the predecessor to the Christian Rapture horror films of recent vintage, which have coalesced into a genre in and of itself. Southern drive-in mogul Ron Ormond and Baptist preacher Estes Pirkle’s If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do? (1971) and The Burning Hell (1974) arguably kicked off the genre in feature films, but it was really launched in the 1970s with the Mark IV Films (Thief in the Night, 1972; A Distant Thunder, 1978; Image of the Beast, 1980; Prodigal Planet, 1983) and the mainstream success of Richard Donner’s AntiChrist potboiler The Omen (1976), followed by documentaries like The Late Great Planet Earth (1979) spun from the C.C. Carlson bestseller.
As the Millennium approached, the breakthrough success of the Left Behind novels spawned a fresh cycle: the Cloud Ten ‘Apocalypse’ quintet Vanished (1998, made in collaboration with the now-notorious Texan Pastor John Hagee, who co-scripted and introduced the film with that creepy fusion of piety and shameless ego emblematic of the true Rapture devotee), Apocalypse (1998), Revelation (1999), Tribulation (2000) and Judgment (2001), the Trinity Broadcasting Network’s breakthrough boxoffice hit The Omega Code (1999, the first Christian-produced-and-distributed feature film to land on Variety’s top boxoffice records) and its sequel Megiddo (2001), and the trio of Left Behind movies (2000, 2002 and 2005), among others.
I hasten to add I’m presenting the film here as a slice of horror film history. This is as ludicrous an artifact as the Chick tracts, but was in its day no less effective. I in no way subscribe to belief in the Rapture — but there’s no denying the impact Christian horror novels and these films have had on the horror genre, and arguably the transformation of America into an increasingly troubling theocracy.
For anyone interested in finding out more, I first wrote about this genre back in 2000 in my “Video Views” column, recently reprinted (and now available) in

  • S.R. Bissette’s Blur Volume 1, from Black Coat Press. Pick up your copy here!

  • On with the show:

    Carlos O. Baptista’s THE RAPTURE (1941)




    Hero_UK said...

    TokK... *sniffles*. That was so beautiful.

    ~ tOkKa said...

    -->> ..yeh yeh ..

    MOCK the Turtle ..



    ** !! me AM, tOkKa - - { the dead archival } // tOkKa's former blogg :: 2002-2008 ..** // ** ♥ ♥ !! **