A Distant Thunder (1978)

Remember when Patty jumped off a dam rather than get the Mark of the Beast? Yeah, well six years later, she’s still alive and about to be executed the next morning for refusing to take the Mark.

Even though Patty knows what lies ahead if she takes the Mark, she still can’t believe in a God that would put everyone through the End of All Things.   So what happens next? Where can Patty go to avoid the UN troops, now known as UNITE, who want to kill every Christian who remains faithful?

Patty and two of her friends, Wenda and Sandy Johnson — hide out at Patty’s grandmother’s. Our protagonist has lost her grandmother and husband to the Rapture, but she’s been left behind. Everyone is now against her, from a beggar she helps to her other friends Jerry and Diane.

This movie has descended to the depths of evil formerly reserved for Jack Chick’s tract The Beast. There must have been some meeting of evangelical Christians who decided that the Satanic New World Order would destroy those left behind that still believe in God with guillotines.

There are plenty of things to learn in this movie about prophecy, how the end of the world will all happen, why you shouldn’t believe in UFOs, how credit cards and the Mark of the Beast are the same and different, why authorities on Judiasm don’t get Raptured and Christians do…seriously, this movie will simultanelously frighten and educate you.

Russell Doughten — who also wrote these movies — appears again as Reverend Matthew Turner, a survivalist with an elaborate chart of the exact timing of the end of the world. I love that this character basically tells Patty that it isn’t his fault that he was a bad preacher; it’s her fault for not believing.

Before all this evangelical craziness, Doughten produced and did uncredited direction on The Blob. Yes, really.

Unlike other end of the world theories, like the astounding Ron Ormond film If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do? which thought Communism would bring about Armageddon or Jack Chick blaming the Vatican, Doughten figured the United Nations as the ones who would be behind it all.

You can watch this on Amazon Prime or Archive.org.

Learn more at the official site.

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