My Favorite Christian Porn Film

Nickolay Stanev / Shutterstock.com
Nickolay Stanev / Shutterstock.com

In anticipation of the approaching Easter holiday I’ve been watching some Christian porn.

Get your mind out of the gutter, you heathen! I don’t mean porn as in (missionary) sex scenes, but dramatic representations of torture that befall the wicked and faithless—Christian torture porn, if you will.

There have been many Christian-themed films produced since the dawn of cinema—from Hollywood spectacles such as The King of Kings (1927) or Noah (2014) to low-budget motivational movies for churches.

Bible-based social-guidance films were produced in the 1950s to stem the tide of juvenile delinquency. In the 1980s, the “satanic panic” sparked an avalanche of scare films about the evils of everything from rock ’n’ roll to cartoons.

At the turn of the millennium a new type of Christian film—the Left Behind series and cable documentaries such as Gates of Hell—began to flourish. These were usually tame affairs that merely suggested what could happen to those that sinned without graphically portraying it.

Then there are the films of Ron Ormond.

Ron Ormond was a vaudeville performer and TV roller-derby producer who also made exploitation movies: The Girl from Tobacco Row, Mesa of Lost Women, and Teenage Bride, as well as cheapie Westerns such as The Black Lash. In 1968 Ormond converted to Christianity after surviving an airplane crash. From then on he dedicated his work to spreading the word of the Lord.

In 1971 Ormond teamed up with Baptist preacher Estus W. Pirkle to produce the Citizen Kane of Christian scare films: If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do?

Filmed in rural Mississippi, Footmen is an hour-long sermon that purports to document what will happen to America when the communists take over “in 15 minutes” and leave “hundreds of dead bodies on the streets of your hometown” unless everyone repents and gives their soul to Christ.

Once the communists take over (on horseback), they will force Americans into labor camps where the slogan, “Communism is good! Christianity is stupid!” is repeatedly broadcast over loudspeakers.

Preacher Pirkle posits the potential downfall of America on television, drive-in movies, and dancing (“it’s just as wrong as it’s always been”), while his scenarios are dramatized with wooden acting and half-assed costumes. (Check out the hammer and sickle armbands.) The film features the worst foreign accents I’ve ever heard—one of the actors goes from cheesy Cuban to slurred Soviet to down-home drawl in a single sentence of dialogue.

The camera pans across bodies of children sporting fake blood barely worthy of Herschell Gordon Lewis. A kid gets a bamboo spear through the ear so he can never hear the Gospel again—and then pukes! A man is impaled on a pitchfork. But by far the most violent scene in the film is when a young boy who refuses to renounce Christ is beheaded:

The film’s narrative also involves Judy, who engages in drinking, premarital sex, and the wearing of fake eyelashes. Judy attends Pirkle’s sermon and realizes the error of her ways after recalling that her newly deceased mother was disappointed that she never read the scriptures.

Wait—now it’s a funeral!? Was the corpse of Judy’s mother there the whole time? And did they really bury that poor woman wearing a hair net?

All this leads to the inevitable tearful altar call, whereupon Judy weeps and confesses her sins as Pirkle leeringly asks if she will accept Jesus as her personal savior. That’s the Christian-porn money shot.

Happy Easter! Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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