From: nenslo@teleport.com (NENSLO)

Newsgroups: alt.cult-movies,alt.apocalypse,alt.slack,alt.flack

Subject: YEARS OF THE BEAST

Date: 24 Jun 1996 06:41:56 GMT

Organization: Teleport - Portland's Public Access (503) 220-1016

 

MY CULT FILM HORROR: I saw Years of the Beast

 

And how it happened. All revealed to you now by O Nenslo

 

The sign out front of Victory Christian Center said they were

showing a movie called Years of the Beast, Sunday at 6PM. So I admit I

was in church on a Sunday but in my defense let me assert that I was ON

DRUGS all the while, and that I mumbled Hail Satan a couple of times.

 

That aside, my experience was this:

Victory Christian Center looks like a shed on the outside and a

renovated hayloft on the inside, and there is not a picture of ANYTHING in

there. Not one religious symbol of any kind that I could see, anywhere.

 

I sat in one of the pews, not near enough to anybody to bother, and I only

had to shake hands with a couple of guys who were wandering around being

greeterly. I asked one if this was a prophecy movie. He didn't know. He

asked Gary, who didn't know either, but who did know that this was the

third one of a try-ology of movies, the previous being Mark of the Beast

and Distant Thunder and they were about the end times so yes, it was a

prophecy movie. The thirty or so folks there looked to be Hardcore Normal

and from what I heard and what got said to me and what I could see with my

own eyes I would have to say in the kindest possible way that not many of

them seemed any too bright. Or I guess they wouldn't be there would they.

 

The action looked like beginning when some necessary people

started arriving, whom I soon learned were members of the five piece combo

which littered the far end of the shed, behind the pulpit. Yes, a five

piece combo; Lady Keyboards in a black pants-suit and grim dome of hairdo

- a VAST lead guitar, HUGE FELLOW - then a bass, sax and drummer of much

less interest. They were quite loud enough to hear, and obviously very ...

sincere... ahem.

 

I felt a strange thrill when I saw we were all going to Praise the

Lord together! They picked an easy and popular hymn, Power in the Blood,

and damned if everybody else wasn't all on their feet beltin it out,

crying Yes Lord Halleluiah and sticking one hand up! I swayed gently, out

of sympathy, as they praised the Lord for the Wonder Working Power in the

Blood of the Lamb. I guess I was the only one sitting but figured what the

hell, no man can serve two masters. They went into a slower one after

that, but when it came time to end the song - the band quit ... but the

audience DIDN'T. They kept right on praising the Lord, every one of them

except maybe the kids moaning some kind of Thank You Lord, Yeeesss Jesus,

Halleluiah! They just kept going and going. Astonished? Wasn't I! The

formula seemed to be they die down after a decent interval until they get

down to the leader who carries the praising on for a minute or two and

Bump! Amen! Now let's get that movie going.

 

They sure tried to get the movie going. The video I mean because

they had a big old vacuum-cleaner looking thing hanging by chains up by

the ceiling, which was a video projector beaming a bluish-grey square with

an amoeba in it on the wall above the drumset while somebody read a quote

from Goethe's Faust. Then some other guys went up and started poking

around in silhouette, and the picture of the amoeba was replaced by

blankness, enlivened by the sound of a Toyota advertisement. I was

sitting in the dark, in church, ON DRUGS, listening to Goethe and a Toyota

ad, and loving it. That was when I mumbled Hail Satan the first time, with

the utmost reverence and gratitude.

 

Finally they get the damn thing going, and get past the

introductory crap which does indeed have a guy quoting Faust and quite

badly too which is sad because he's the star of the movie GARY BAYER, and

it gets started - YEARS OF THE BEAST, made in Seattle Washington by one

Paul Thomas, Director, for Skyline Productions 1981. Based on the novel

by Leon Chambers.

 

Years of the Beast is a drama of the fulfillment of Christian

Apocalyptic Prophecy, centering on an unemployed intellectual with wife

and various supporting roles who must deal with the societal decay which

results from the World Government of Antichrist after all True Christians

have been spirited off in The Rapture to go live with Jesus in the New

Jerusalem until his Second Coming. Specifically they had to deal with The

Sheriff who takes his job seriously. The Heavy. He's the law, but

sometimes he's a law unto himself. That's what Ol' Pete says at one

point. Just Call Me Pete. A bit odd but still got a lot on the ball.

 

The rapture scene was just a little earthquake and Hey! Where'd

Professor Slopkowitz go? Nothing left but his nutty treatise on Biblical

Prophecy - and a neat pile of clothing. I'm waiting for the "graves

exploding open in a shaft of brilliant light as the Dead In Christ burst

heavenward in Glorious Array to meet their King" movie.

 

I always want to SEE folks having to Take The Mark of the Beast on

their hand or forehead or better yet refusing at the last minute, to be

shot point-blank and tumbled in a ditch, but I guess I have too many

expectations. They didn't have any of that in this movie. This one fell

back on the radio shot quite a bit. Stock shot: vast crowd. Long shot:

Prince of the World standing on top of a wall, waving. Medium shot:

radio. The radio speaks: Yes, folks there are thousands of people, all

chanting in unison, "Who is like the Prince of the World?" Oh, it's an

amazing sight, yessiree....

 

The dullness of the plot was relieved by plenty of radio shots,

dialogue, stock footage of an atom bomb, and the gunning down of The Dobbs

Family by the Sheriff for hoarding food and making a break for it. I saw

this. I watched the Dobbs family die, and spoke not a word. Remember

what happened to the Dobbs family. Soon thereafter Seattle was destroyed

by an irrational rain of fire via a matted-in cloud-tank sky and some

glare effects. Really.

 

So, after an especially dull interlude which lacked only the

gorilla suit to be a Bigfoot Movie, with the Sheriff chasing folks through

the woods with dogs and driving around in a big truck and causing the

semi-inspiring deaths of certain main characters, the survivors go off in

the high woods poking around on top of some mountains for long enough for

the guys to actually grow little beards when to the astonishment and

merriment of all viewers myself included who should appear but The Evil

Sheriff now seemingly both Insane and Plague Infected climbing a sheer

cliff in cowboy boots with a LOADED SHOTGUN IN HIS HAND up to where the

good guys are sitting on top of a mountain SINGING ABOUT JESUS but before

he can get off his first shot the sun starts to get very bright, shooting

off brilliant piercing arrows of glaring light which make the Sheriff miss

his first shot and turn screaming to fire into the sky and topple off the

cliff to his death! Then some of those fast grey clouds come rolling

across the sky and FLYING SAUCERS come zipping zooming down out of the

clouds screaming like skyrockets, dozens of them, and we get some reaction

shots of people looking ecstatic and more shining golden flying saucers

and inspiring grand orchestration and beams of light from the sky until it

gets so bright and glorious there's nothing left to do but fade in an

inscrutable bible verse. I guess that was the second coming, and those

flying saucers were really angels but it was all a bit unexpected and

jumbly. Pretty good finish though, even if it wasn't strictly biblical.

 

Whereupon I made my departure in order to avoid further praying.

To conclude, this film does okay on the infinitely sliding

Nensletic Scale of Filmic Analysis, containing both flying saucers and an

a-bomb, two of the Four Vital Contents necessary for Film Enjoyment. With

the added benefit of the destruction of a major American City and extra

points for being a religious fantasy I feel that the remaining two Vital

Contents, tits and a monster suit, can be relinquished with relatively

little regret. The experience as a whole was quite rewarding.

 

Thank you.