If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do?

1971 | Color | 52min

Starring: Estus W. Pirkle, Judy Creech, Cecil Scaife, Gene McFall, Wes Saunders, Tim Ormond, and a cast of thousands.

Directed By: Ron Ormond

You’re not alone if the name Ron Ormond doesn’t ring a bell to you. Even within b-movie circles, Mr. Ormond’s fame pales in comparison to that of his contemporaries—b-movie legends such as Ed Wood, Russ Meyer, and Roger Corman.  In case you don’t know, Ron Ormond was a magician turned writer/producer/director who made his living in the ’50s and ’60s churning out such no-budget exploitation classics as The Mesa of Lost Women, Please Don’t Touch Me, and his magnum opus, The Monster and the Stripper.

His life took a different direction when, en route to the premiere of his latest film, The Girl From Tobacco Row, Mr. Ormond’s plane crashed shortly after takeoff. Miraculously everyone, including his wife and son, survived. Convinced that this was a sign from above, Ormond quickly found Jesus (It seems Jesus is just like Waldo; hiding behind hotdog stands and really fat guys) and decided to dedicate all of his remaining time, effort, and talent to the glorification of Christ. For most people,  this would mean producing an endless stream of boring, stodgy biblical epics.  This was definitely NOT the case with Ron Ormond.

Combining the delusional, fire-and-brimstone rants of Southern Baptist preacher Rev. Estus W. Pirkle (a better name, I couldn’t invent), the flair of a lifelong showman, and every exploitation trick he had learned from nearly three decades of film-making, Ron Ormond produced what is easily the most bizarre series of Christploitation films in history.

Randy Quaid, Communist enforcer.

His first dip into the realm of Christian film-making, If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do?, is nothing short of insane. This cautionary tale is told through alternating closeups of Rev. Pirkle delivering his sermon of paranoid fantasies regarding the coming communist invasion, and over-the-top reenactments of “actual documented events” (I’m somewhat skeptical, considering that Rev. Pirkle never bothers to cite any documentation) that have occurred in countries already under the oppressive heel of communism.

These “actual documented events” include such horrors as entire congregations of Christians being slaughtered simply for worshiping Christ; a young boy having his eardrums punctured with sharpened bamboo sticks so he can never hear the word of God again; a small boy being beheaded for refusing to reject Christ; and various other warm and fuzzy things like that.

Ahh, religion.

One of the more hilarious scenes in the film involves children being taken away from their parents and sent to reeducation camps. In these camps they are brainwashed using techniques that are, to quote Rev. Pirkle, “nothing but cunning and subtle.” We cut to a classroom where a teacher (who sounds suspiciously like El Seed from The Tick) asks his class if they would like some candy. Getting the expected response, he then tells his class to pray to Jesus to see if he will bring them some candy. When no candy appears the teacher then has his students pray to the glorious leader, Fidel Castro. Shortly thereafter a man with a big bag of candy walks in and dumps it on the teacher’s desk. Using the “subtle and cunning” logic of “No Candy = No Christ” he has now brainwashed the kiddies into worshiping Fidel Castro.

Wait, Castro = Candy?
Boo, Jesus! Yay, communism!

Rev. Pirkle suggests that the takeover by “atheistic communists” will occur to the United States as punishment for our sinful ways. He argues that we, as a nation, have forsaken Christ with all of our smoking, drinking, cartoon watching, sex education, and dancing. Yes, unbeknownst to everyone outside of fundamentalist Baptists and the Taliban, dancing is apparently a sin. Now they may have an argument against the “bump and grind” style of dancing, but seriously, you are telling me that the waltz will earn me a one way ticket to Hell? Of course all of this is a moot point for me, seeing as how Rev. Pirkle’s god has seen fit to bless me with the graceful movements of an inebriated wombat. Still, one wonders.

“And now children, we will learn about the birds and the bees, making whoopee, hanky-panky, the horizontal mambo, doin’ the nasty, bumping uglies, churning the butter, the humpty dance, knocking boots, makin’ bacon…”

How are we to fight this seemingly inevitable communist takeover, you ask? Well Rev. Pirkle insists that the only way to prevent these horrific events from taking place is for revival to break out within the next 24 months. Now I hate to argue with Rev. Pirkle, but it has been almost 40 years since this film was released and, while President Obama may be decidedly left of center, I think we are still quite a way from Christian children being beheaded for carrying a picture of Jesus.

Besides that, the good Reverend seems to have forgotten about the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Special Forces, not to mention our heavily armed populace. Even if the military were somehow defeated, an invading force would suffer horrific casualties fighting door to door and street to street in almost every American town. I mean, have you seen Red Dawn? It won’t be pretty.

We fear only your Jesus, and your Patrick Swayze.

At any rate, after almost an hour of being bombarded with bizarre scenes of murder and torture, an inordinate number of sideburns (even for the ’70s), and several gallons of sub-par fake blood, we finally reach the end of our long, strange, journey when a young girl in the congregation named Judy decides to repent for her sinful ways and give herself to Christ. The last ten minutes or so are dedicated to Rev. Pirkle shaming poor Judy about going against her mother’s wishes (“Judy, I implore thee. Read the scriptures.”) and for the seemingly unforgivable sin of having a small shred of joy in her life. Needless to say, she should have packed a lunch for the guilt trip Rev. Pirkle takes her on, but in the end Judy is saved and all is well.

So please, I implore thee, give yourself to Christ, or else God will send hordes of godless commies with unkempt facial hair and indeterminable accents to murder you and your children. A message from Rev. Estus W. Pirkle, your local Baptist church, and BadMovieRealm.com.

“I’ve terrified small children, shamed the adults, and made a sweet young girl weep uncontrollably from the unearned guilt of experiencing happiness in her life.
Truly I have done the Lord’s work.”

Reviewed by Derek “First in line for his one-way ticket to Hell” Miller
Posted June 24, 2009

Video Clip

This clip pretty much sums up the whole movie. Check out how the Commissar’s accent goes from a strained Russian to Southern fried goodness, all in the span of about 5 seconds.

Click here to watch this film for free in the theater!


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