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The Burning Hell

USA 1974
produced by
Ron Ormond, June Ormond (= June Carr) for The Ormond Organization
directed by Ron Ormond
starring Estus W. Pirkle, Jimmy Robbins, Tim Ormond, Robert G. Lee, Jack Hyles, Bob Gray, Terence hendricks, Don Green, Carl Lackey, Vaughn Denton, Mike Fine, Earlo Farley, Billy Kent, Buddy Mullinax, Maurice Banks, Viola Walden, Rita Faye, Eddie King, Jim Reese, Edd Livingston, Chuck Howard, Tim Green, Walter Hare, Tommy Crider, Ed Gregory, Greg Pirkle, W.H.F. Evans, Timothy Hottel, Ralph Sexton, Edgar Paschall, James Gregory, Conred Pirkle, Arzone Burns, Curtis Barbery, Burke Day, Ricky Cowart, Tim Kent, Randy Bridges, Bob Sensat, Benny Hall, Jonny Beebe, Earl Davis, W.K. Metters, James Hood, Ann Pirkle, Gray Allison
story by Estus W. Pirkle, screenplay by Ron Ormond, special makeup effects by June Ormond (= June Carr)

Ron Ormond's religious features, Moses, Cain and Abel

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Basically, with this movie, real life narrow-minded preacher Estus W. Pirkle wants to concinve us that hell really exists - and after recounting a bible story where some enemies of Moses (Don Green) are sucked into hell rather mercilessly, he starts elaborating on a story that happened in his own life, when two bikers came by to ... convince him of their new age interpretation of Jesus it seems like. Pirkle immediately senses the two are evil after they refuse to hear today's sermon he was just about to give in his church (which is rather mean for a man of God), and wouldn't you know it, soon afterwards, one of the bikers dies in a motorbike crash. The other comes running to father Pirkle, but what does Pirkle do rather than console the man - he just confirms that his deceased friend is indeed burning in hell and will for all eternity (again, the good father shows a mean streak here). He then recounts several more biblical stories, putting special emphasis on the one about the poor man (Terence Hendricks) going to heaven, while the rich man (Jimmy Robinson) despite all his contributions to the church (but it wasn't a Christian church) going to hell, then trying to keep his associates out of hell fearing retaliation.

At one point, the surviving biker breaks out into tears and repents, and for that alone, father Pirkle promises him a place in heaven.

 

If you haven't guessed, this is of course a Christian propaganda flick, but rest assured, whoever hasn't believed in God and Jesus and Hell and the Devil before will not do so after this film (in fact, I presume quite a few Christians will at least for a moment question their beliefs). Basically, Estus W. Pirkle's understanding of the Bible and of the representation of Hell therein is crude, also because it's not at all based on the benign God and merciful Jesus of the New Testament but rather an extreme version of the vengeful God of the Old (if you excute my over-simplification): The whole film centers not on the good of Christianity but rather on the bad of not being a Christian, and Ron Ormond's past in low budget exploitation cinema of course makes focusing on these aspects of the whole thing a lot more fun, so we are treated to quite a bit of torture, over-the-top (if obviously underbudgeted) special effects, and the occasional bizarre element, mixed with some rather ridiculous costumes and makeup (best of all, Moses' fake beard and the colouful mosaic face of the Devil) and a healthy disregard for biblical truths.

All of this does of course not add up to a good or even acceptable piece of Christian propaganda ... but a very entertaining movie of the so-bad-it's-good variety!

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD