Estus W. Pirkle, Tim Ormond, Judy Creech, Cecil Scaiffe
Is it a documentary? A sermon? A hallucination? What is it? For almost half a century, June, Ron, and Tim Ormond, a Nashville mother-father-son trio, cranked out a wild bunch of movies, from Lash LaRue Westerns to the stripper-gore-musical outrage THE EXOTIC ONES, and plunged into every area of showbiz. What’s more, they did it all on a shoestring, totally independently, with no studio to back them. At the height of their frenzied career, Ron and June experienced a spiritual awakening when their private plane crashed on the way to a premiere. From then on, they turned their backs on secular show business to produce a series of shocking, surreal religious pictures, including an unbelievable trio of films for Mississippi Baptist preacher Estus Pirkle – films such as THE BURNING HELL, which made millions, despite never being shown in an actual movie theatre. These strange, wonderful examples of truly outsider filmmaking have recently been restored by byNWR and Cinema Preservation Alliance to coincide with the publication of forensic biographer Jimmy McDonough’s awe-inspiring tome on the extraordinary lives and work of the Ormond Family, THE EXOTIC ONES (byNWR / FAB Press). In addition to selling and signing copies of his book after the screening, McDonough will introduce two of the most wildly entertaining and outrageous Ormond Family films:
THE BURNING HELL (1974) “Every hour at least 3,000 people go to hell,” intones Estus Pirkle in one of the Ormond Family’s best-known films, filled with grinning demons, charcoaled sinners, and “recreations” (ahem) of large chunks of the Bible featuring decidedly non-Middle Eastern actors. The plot involves Pirkle trying to save the soul of a young hippie biker whose friend unfortunately rejects Pirkle’s teachings and is sent to roast in Hell — where he meets a multicoloured harlequin Satan leaping around in the film’s most bonkers sequences. Let's all burn together!
IF FOOTMEN TIRE YOU, WHAT WILL HORSES DO? (1971) “Many of you listening to me today will see hundreds of dead bodies in your towns,” warns Pirkle in this hilariously and rabidly anti-Communist/anti-sex education/anti-mini-skirt religious propaganda classic. Truly jaw-dropping from the get-go, featuring a laundry list of corrupting dangers to watch out for, including Saturday morning cartoons and drive-in theatres — and worst of all, bearded Cuban soldiers handing out candy to stunned grade-schoolers courtesy of their glorious leader, Fidel Castro! – Dennis Bartok, Philosophical Research Society