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From the Deep South comes this astounding artifact, a piece of unadulterated Christian propaganda spiced with enough violence and bloodletting to satisfy the most jaded gorehound. The subject is a communist takeover of America (and is lots more fun than RED DAWN, Hollywood's 1984 take on the subject) and the results are guaranteed to leave your jaw hanging open for a long time!

The Package
     For bad movie buffs, the name Ron Ormond should be as familiar as that of Ed Wood. The Tennessee-based filmmaker, together with his "organization" (wife June and son Tim) created drive-classics like THE GIRL FORM TOBACCO ROW and THE EXOTIC ONES, but it wasn't until the late sixties that his work really became bent. After surviving a plane crash, Ormond converted to Christianity and dedicated his meager talents to a series of filmed sermons like THE BURNING HELL (1974) and THE GRIM REAPER (1976).
     IF FOOTMEN TIRE YOU, WHAT WILL HORSES DO? (1971) is by far the most outrageous of the lot. A 50-minute sermon by Mississippi preacher Estus W. Pirkle, intercut with frequent--and frequently lurid--dramatizations, this one gives new meaning to the term "must be seen to be believed."

The Story
The film opens with the fiftyish Pirkle pontificating in a church. Like any good salesman, Pirkle clearly knows his target audience, which, judging from the appearance of his congregation (many of whom I could have sworn were trying to stifle laughter), appear to be inbred, uneducated backwoods rednecks. With a total absence of subtlety, Pirkle zeroes in on his topic immediately: we must change our evil ways or the communists will take over the country!
     Scrupulously avoiding any realistic (and hence, far too complex for his listeners) issues that might accompany such a take-over (like diplomacy or national defense), Pirkle gets right to the gory details. People gunned down in the streets (apparently communists don't believe in cleaning up their dead)! Alters hung with the bodies of slaughtered children! A boy, caught listening too intently to the word of God, skewered ear to ear with a sharp stick! Another is decapitated. Others are forced to lower their own father onto sharp spikes. Worst of all, children are sent to special schools where they are encouraged to renounce Jesus Christ and pray instead to "Our Lord Fidel Castro!"
     How do we avoid this horrifying possibility? Apparently, we're supposed to give up such evils as TV ("since the advent of television, the crime rate in some places has gone up by one thousand percent!") and dancing ("what is started on the dance floor is expected to be finished in the back of a parked car!") and increase the prayer. A-men!

The Direction
     Ormond's helming is as inept as can be expected, but at least he keeps the (patently fake) blood flowing. This is probably the goriest film he ever made, and the most blatantly exploitive. It's just too bad he couldn't come up with some even halfway convincing special effects, while the "acting" is best left unmentioned. Pirkle, on the other hand, is about as charismatic as these types come, and Ormond's inept direction fits his oration perfectly. It's truly a match made in heaven!

Vital Statistics

The Ormond Organization

Director/Producer/Cinematographer/Editor: Ron Ormond
Writer: Estus W. Pirkle
Cast: Estus W. Pirkle

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