Scott Hardie | September 22, 2003
I just want to vent for a minute about what I call pre-apocalyptic fiction, and its fans. (I should mention that a friend of mine has written a pretty good RPG in this subgenre. As far as I'm concerned, he's excepted from what I'm about to say.)

This subgenre of fiction concerns either a war of angels vs. devils (or good vs. evil), in films such as The Prophecy, or the attempt by the devil or his followers to conceive the antichrist, as in films like End of Days. (Certainly it appears in other media besides cinema: I was inspired to write this after watching an awful episode of "The X Files" called "Revelations.") In either case, it will mean armageddon or the apocalypse if the heroes fail, which is silly, because such an event should be the will of God, not initiated or prevented by men. You can almost tick off the genre elements as you watch: The script ignores inconvenient Bible passages in favor of others, just as it ignores its own plot holes in favor of more exposition. There's the appearance of stigmata on a victim, which has nothing to do with anything else in the plot. The angels/devil make blasphemous jokes about God being weaker than he's cracked up to be. The heroes are ordinary humans caught up in the mess, usually former believers who have strayed from the church. There's a killer who burns his victims to death; always with the burning these films! There's some undiscovered Bible passage that could undo Christianity. There's a corpse that won't decompose. There's always, always a Child in Peril, who the heroes must protect, because that child holds the key to the villains' plans and his/her death could mean the end of the world! And the list goes on.

I list the standard plot elements to show how flimsy these movies are, but my real displeasure is with the fans who just eat this shit up. I take it the filmmakers are fans of the subgenre as well, because when the characters go off into exposition-land to talk about a holy war between the fallen angels and the true faithful, or the need for the unholy one to impregnate a virgin at midnight on New Year's Eve, the film adopts a reverential tone, as though this stuff is just incredibly fucking fascinating. I'm sorry, should I care about a lame-ass war between angels and devils any more than one between two alien federations or between machines and army men? These things are supposed to be interesting to the characters in the movie, not to us in the audience. Yet the pre-apocalyptic films find them inherently interesting and dwell on them.

What is it that causes this fascination? Were the fans brought up with strict Catholic teachings and now their imaginations just dwell on the subject? Is their pleasure derived from the transgression of blasphemy, joking about God being weak/absent while showing undue reverence for their own made-up pseudo-religious bullshit? Or is it a case of a writer, knowing that his stories are weak, bulking them up with religious overtones and Biblical references? Whatever the reason, I'm getting rather sick of the subgenre, because I have yet to find an example that wasn't tedious when it should have been entertaining. But maybe I'm just not in the demographic.

Erik Bates | September 24, 2003
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Anna Gregoline | September 24, 2003
I thought Stigmata didn't make a whole heap of sense. Why was the person who received the rosary or whatever it was targeted for the stigmata, and not the person who stole it? Stuff like that. I thought it was sloppy. Although I did like hearing some commentary on it that the director was frustrated with the birds - said to never work with birds, ever.

Scott Hardie | September 24, 2003
I thought you really liked Stigmata, Anna; I remember you talking about it at length a few years ago. I guess you were venting instead of raving. :-)

Jackie Mason | September 24, 2003
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Anna Gregoline | September 25, 2003
I liked it stylistically. And maybe I was just crushing on the main dude in that. =)

Anna Gregoline | September 25, 2003
And who knows, maybe I did love it. It's been a long time.

Erik Bates | September 23, 2003
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