Jeff the Revelator

[Contains SPOILERS]

Back on my old blog, I posted several rants about the Omen series, but they’ve been lost to the tubes now, so I can’t be sure exactly what I wrote… I just remember feeling disappointed that after all the supernatural hype surrounding Damien, he just behaved like a generic Bond Villain once he’d risen to a position of power. And Apocalypse II: Revelation (1999) suffers from a similar sort of anticlimactic mundanity.

For those who don’t know, Revelation is the second in a series of docu-dramas depicting the actual events that will take place following the Biblical Rapture (which, as we all know, will be kicking off any day now). The major recurring characters through all four (soon to be five) flicks are ‘Helen Hannah’, a news reporter who becomes a Christian-come-lately after the faithful all get raptured up to Heaven, and ‘Franco Macalousso’, a charismatic chap who is hailed as the New Messiah, after he establishes an omnipresent organisation called “O.N.E.” (One Nation Earth), and seemingly unites our planet’s troubled nations in the name of Peace and Love. But, as it turns out, he’s actually the Anti-Christ. Boo! In this particular instalment, Jeff Fahey (of Lost and Planet Terror fame) plays a counter-terrorism expert named ‘Thorold Stone’ (!?), who accidentally stumbles into a O.N.E. conspiracy to implicate a ragtag bunch of innocent churchy types in a series of terrorist bombings. After ignoring his superiors’ orders to shoot “the haters” on sight, he ends up getting preached at by a noble black lady, who also slips him a CD-Rom which could potentially blow the lid off Macalousso’s whole scheme, if only he can deliver it to Hannah and her revivalist resistance movement!

Revelations came in a boxset of double-sided discs (along with a few much better movies, like Night of the Living Dead), and I didn’t actually realise it was a Christian “message” movie until I put in the player… but there’s certainly no doubting its provenance (or its agenda) once the Bible-bashing platitudes kick in! Personally, I have a very high tolerance for didacticism and “propaganda”, so long as the moral it’s pushing is a positive and inclusive one. I can’t really wrap my head around “post-modernism”, so I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with a writer using their work as a way to share their “Truth” with an audience. That said, I can’t abide corny dialogue and nonsensical plots, and this movie is full of ‘em! At one point Stone enlists the help of a wheelchair-bound techy named ‘Willie Spino’ to help him unlock the disc’s content, and the guy has an intensely irritating habit of answering serious questions with stale quips and non-sequiturs. In an exceptionally convenient/lazy cluster-fudge of co-inky-dinks, Spino is not only a skilled hacker-cum-virus-writer, but also an ex-employee of O.N.E. who helped to develop a virtual reality programme which holds the key to the whole mystery, and he’s Hannah’s estranged stepbrother who just so happens to know exactly where she’s hiding out! Why an evil organisation (which also controls the country’s police force, and supposedly has Satan watching its back) would hire a relative of its archenemy to work on its super-secret masterplan is beyond me… but the fact that they don’t even have someone tailing him, just in case he happens to pop over to see his sis is just ridiculous! He also strikes up an entirely quip-based romance with a beautiful blind woman, which later leads to them both selling their souls to Macalousso in return for a pair of working legs and eyes respectively… thus sending out the rather unfortunate (and hopefully unintentional) message that disabled people are morally and spiritually weaker than their able-bodied brethren. Oops!

Carol Alt as ‘Cindy Bolton’ in “Apocalypse II: Revelation”But how to tie all of this ranting into the supposed theme of my blog? Well, that blind chick is played by Carol Alt, who’s had minor roles in King of the Hill and Private Parts, as well as a starring role on a TV show called Thunder in Paradise, which cast former wrestler Hulk Hogan as the owner and operator of a futuristic, high-tech crime-fighting boat named “Thunder”. Yes, really. That totally existed… and I vaguely remember being annoyed by an episode where the villains were a gang of “Scottish” mercenaries who talked with wonky accents, and spent their off-duty hours tossing cabers about! It’s a little hard to asses her performance here though because her dialogue and character arc are so infuriatingly stupid that they make me want to punch my brain. The only other cast member I can dig up any interesting facts on is Chloe Randle-Reis, who play’s Stone’s raptured daughter ‘Maggie’ in a couple of flashbacks and dream sequences. Aside from appearing as an anonymous dancer in Get Over It, she also had a small role in Sister Mary Explains It All, a satirical comedy about a bigoted nun, starring Diane Keaton, Laura San Giacomo and Jennifer Tilly! Sounds fun.

I’ll admit that I found this movie far more entertaining than some of the low-budget horror flicks on the other discs… but that’s mostly down to Fahey, who gives a typically awesome performance, and totally commits to his craft, despite having to sell this dreck with a totally straight-face. I know that “pride” is supposed to be a Sin, but does that really excuse the cack-handed sloppiness of the script and the pig-ugly menu screen?

About Dee CrowSeer

A comic book writer with an interest in feminism, philosophy, and affirmative action. He/him.
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