If Footmen Tire You What Will Horses Do? Retro Review
For people such as myself who have a love for cult classics and grindhouse films, a strange sub genre many of us have an affinity for is the “Christian scare films”. Often produced by churches these lazily made movies go to often laughable and outlandish extremes to convert viewers. With many of us raised in Christian conservative homes, these films give us a certain sense of nostalgia many times, as we were often introduced to these outdated low budget movies in our childhoods. In recent years one of these flicks has developed quite the cult following thanks to lines of dialogue being sampled in various punk albums, as well as a strange viral clip which popped up on Youtube involving Castro and candy (watch it here). Directed by Ron Ormond, this movie dramatizes the beliefs of Reverend Estus Pirkle that Communists will take over the United Sates by 1976, it is called If Footmen Tire You What Will Horses Do? Despite the religious themes of the movie in this Retro Review, this is not intended to be offensive or insulting towards anyone of faith, but rather a fun look and a bizarre movie.
The film begins with semblance of a plot as a woman of loose virtue decides to go to church to keep up appearances. But rather than an uplifting and inspiring sermon, she gets to hear evangelist Estus Pirkle paint a hilariously over-the-top violent picture of world where Communists have taken over the United States. Rather than just say Christians will be persecuted, Pirkle seems to almost relish ion describing the horrible ways that people of faith will be tortured and killed. We viewers are treated to; people dropped onto beds of spikes; children having spikes driven into their ears; and a kid beheaded for his defiance, all in the fashion more fitting of the Grand Guignol than the Bible.
The most amazing, yet overlooked aspects of this flick is the life of director Ron Ormond. Ormond began his career in show business on the vaudeville stage before travelling to Asia to write a series of books on mysticism in the Far East. When he made his leap to filmmaking, Ormond filled his filmography with a host of sleazy grindhouse movies. His life changed when he survived a plane crash and decided it was divine intervention. Thus he changed his ways and began making sleazy grindhouse movies for the Lord. The exploitative style of directing he had utilized his entire career are on proud display in If Footmen Tire You, in order to get a shock reaction. The movie begins with what could considered a plot but eventually becomes a steady stream of violence. While this level of blood and gore may shock and horrify the intended churchgoing audiences, it is perfect for the lovers of cult cinema who have kept the memory of this flick alive. As a lover of this ilk of filmdom I was recently granted the honor of discussing this movie for Easter weekend on the Aymerich Show, and was able to expose those oblivious to this strange film to its uniqueness.