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The battle for Souls, now that is serious business, ask anyone who is a God-fearing believer in the word and they will back me up. God had set aside a special place in his kingdom for Ron Ormond and Estus W. Pirkle, well, until he caught the test screening for IF FOOTMEN TIRE YOU, WHAT WILL HORSES DO? (1971)

You see Ron Ormond had been making movies down in Tennessee for many a moon, some of which are reviewed right on this website, THE GIRL FROM TOBACCO ROAD, THE MONSTER AND STRIPPER, MESA OF LOST WOMEN and so on. But Ron's traveling around the country doing deals, selling his pictures led him to have back to back, near-fatal airplane crashes which sent him to seek out Jesus as his co-pilot for the remainder of his flying days.

Ron need not look any further than the Rev. Pirkle, Southern Revival Evangelist, Commie-hater, and downright 5 feet 7 inches of molten fire and brimstone with horned rim glasses. Ron was in love, not with Pirkle but with his Word, THE WORD. So what do you get when you cross an exploitation film maker and the Son of God. Well, I guess you get this movie and a whole lot of fear, the favorite tool of the religious zealots from the past and the present. This fear is what makes this oddball a must see. It is easy to forget how our country was absolutely engulfed with the fear of Communism, so Pirkle did what any Minister of God for the People would do. He exploited that fear to gain parishioners.

IF FOOTMEN TIRE YOU, WHAT WILL HORSES DO? is definitely exploitation. The plot goes a little like this. Pirkle preaches to his congregation about the horrors which would befall America in the event of a Communist invasion. These horrors are graphically dramatized as he speaks. The sermon deeply or not so deeply affects a young woman named Judy (JUDY CREECH), whose mother died begging Judy to accept Jesus. After the sermon, Judy falls to her knees and repents. Pirkle asks us to do the same. Pretty basic life lesson here, right? FOOTMAN showed around the churchs in the South as something called "The Soul Winners" program. These Soul Winners would try and convince you right then and there, you need to repent and give it up for Jesus. You hate Commies don't you? Well so does Jesus! The plot is basic, the dramatizations, well that is a whole other thing.

You see the Russians are invading all the small churches in the South, well at least one of them in Ormond's home town. These Russians and particularly the Commissar, played by Ormand heavy Cecil Scaife, are frickin' ruthless. Bloody bodies line the sidewalks, there's knifings, be-headings, shootings, lynchings, all delivered laughingly by these Red Bastards.

You might tire of Rev. Pirkles monotonous delivery and lack of any creativity in delivering the word of God. My favorite bits of rambling he does always begins with the phrase "Well you might say...Preacher what's wrong with..." insert Dancing, Cartoons, Drive-ins, Reading, etc, etc. Fans of early 90's noise pioneers Negativeland, might remember "Christianity is stupid, give up" the less than "hit" that the band claimed caused a quadruple homicide in the Midwest. Well, they sampled that line from some of Rev. Pirkle's picadilloes.

Ron Ormond, himself, shows up as a Russian, in what is one of the more bizarre "lessons" telling a classroom of kids to ask Jesus for candy, when the candy doesn't appear, a soldier dumps bags on the desk in front of the kids while Ormond shouts "our glorious Fidel Castro can give you all the candy you want, eat up!" Praying for candy from Castro or praying to Jesus to pay the light bill which is dumber?

The use of kids in this film is so over the top, a child gets a sharp stick in the ear, throws up, in close-up even, kids are gunned down, throats slit and all in all if you had to set through this thing as a juvenile in Sunday School, chances are you truly were scarred for life, Jesus or no-Jesus, your skinny ass couldn't sleep after watching guys in fake beards and wrinkled soldier uniforms mutilating munchkins. Of course we get long lingering shots of children lying bleeding on the Bible, while Pirkle asks us "Does this shock you?" Uh, God, check please, and whle you are at it, save us from your followers. The alternative title for this Soul Winner is THE BLOOD WILL FLOW LIKE WATER...or like Karo Syrup...you get the point.

The gore and violence has a cheap, campy feel, but why it delivers is truly in the context which it is placed. This is all meant to scare you towards God. Wow, what a concept. I am so afraid of the threat of Communists that I will give my soul to Jesus, but Christians really seem to be the ones getting their come-uppence. Tim Ormond, plays a character that denies his Christianity to save his life...smart move Timmy, but the Commies make him wipe out his family to prove it..."damn, there is no getting around these assholes!"

Pirkle and Ormond teamed up for BELIEVERS HEAVEN and THE BURNING HELL after IF FOOTMEN..Ormonds Christan films were alwasy shown in a Southern Revival setting. Heat up the church with Fire and Brimstone, scaring the shit out of everyone then call them to the alter to repent, man, I went to a couple of these Revivals (not Ormond movies) when I was about 12 with a good friend's aunt, it scared us about as much as the parishioners and their lack of all their limbs or a full set of teeth. The problem was that Pirkle got all "donations" leading Ron to dissolve the partnership and continue his unique brand of inspirational filmmaking elsewhere. To think that a Southern Drive-in Pioneer like Ormond got sucked in and taken by Pirkle cracks me up. A drive-in sleaze aartist gets screwed by a "Man of God." Jesus works in mysterious ways. Ormond continued though getting money and religion in part by Jerry Falwell and even Jack Van Impe. Wow.

All in all, you have to see this to believe it, that is all I can say, I mean that Kurt Cameron movie where he is LEFT BEHIND, may have turded out and not delivered the Christians the makers thought it would, then maybe you should slide this one in the VCR at the next Vacation Bible School. Pass the plate, brother and put out that Cuban cigar!

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Ain't that a catchy title? Just pulls you right in, don't it?

Estus W. Pirkle, did he eat a pickle or is that Christ suckers cramp?

There is Ron Ormond talking about that "glorious Fidel Castrol!"

Christianity. Nothing a sharp stick won't fix.

Pfffffffffrrrrrrrrrrttttt!! You say Preacher...what is wrong with a little gas?

Beautiful skin shold be a breeze with Sea BreezeTM!

Timmy Ormond, denying he is a Christian! Kill your momma boy!

Hehehe Communism is a crack-up...that damn Lenin, hoohoohoo.

The Red Army takes over rural Tennessee, and all I got was this lynching!

Our heroine, Judy, shocked by all this kooky Communism!

Don't worry this child was not actually harmed...much.
Brains On Film 2003