IF FOOTMEN TIRE YOU, WHAT
WILL HORSES DO?
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!
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 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!
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!
IF FOOTMEN TIRE YOU, WHAT WILL HORSES DO?
The Ormond Organization
Director/Producer/Cinematographer/Editor: Ron Ormond
Writer: Estus W. Pirkle
Cast: Estus W. Pirkle