Thursday, July 11, 2013

#629: Russell Doughten

used to be American, but 
she works in Australia at the moment and must be counted as primariy “their problem” (though she is, indeed, a serious problem, and deserves any negative exposure she can get).

Russell Doughten, on the other hand, could only happen in the US. Doughten rose to fame in the late seventies and early eighties through a series of films promoting a dispensationalist, premillennialist view of the endtimes and the rapture; in short he produced a series of Taliban fundamentalist sci-fi flicks most aptly described as forerunners for Tim LaHaye’s Left Behind series. The titles of Doughten’s efforts are “A Thief in the Night”, “A Distant Thunder”, “The Image of the Beast” and “The Prodigal Planet”, and they are uniformly distinguished by their badly acted and extremely dated dialogue and fashion. Ideologically they are close to Hal Lindsey’s legendary The Late Great Planet Earth, and plotwise they contain exactly what you would have predicted: a liberal Christian minister misses the rapture since he doesn’t take the Bible literally (though he later comes to see the errors of his ways), and The United Nations declares a state of emergency from which they rise to become a world empire (complete with mobile guillotines to behead anyone who doesn’t accept having the mark of the beast tattooed on their forehead), thus rising to become the Kingdom of Earth predicted in Revelations. (The precursors of the films, Ron Ormond’s movie “If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do?” featured a communist world empire instead, but conspiracy theories have to evolve with the times.) A more thorough commentary on the movies can be found here, and they can be watched here, here, here, and here. Anyone who watches them all deserves a prize. 

Diagnosis: The crowd at Rapture Ready are apparently huge fans, however, which is an indictment as damning as any we could come up with. If he is currently more of a fascinating cult relic than a real threat to civilization, that is not for lack of trying. 

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