Stop me if you’ve heard this on before. A Nobel Peace Prize winner, a convicted murderer and two professing Christian teenagers meet St. Peter at the Pearly Gates and, well, make a movie. Final Exit is an “evangelistic drama will confront your viewers with life’s most important choices: Jesus or Satan? Heaven or Hell?”
Oh man, yeah. This is why I watch movies.
As a kid, I repeatedly encounter Jack Chick tracts that, if anything, pushed me away from the path that Mr. Chick wanted me on. This Was Your Life is a really good overall view of the world of Chick: a man has led an ordinary life full of sin, wasted what God gave him and is thrown into Hell and he’ll never get out. Variations on this theme appear, telling us that even the clergy — especially Catholics — can still go to Hell. Reading so many of these so often as a kid led to the man that I am today.
In case you haven’t been amazed by what the Christian side of the world endorses these days, this movie will set you straight. Of course, the serial killer will go to Heaven because he made a very specific prayer the night before he was executed and he would have never found Heaven without the death penalty. The Nobel prize winner did amazing, wonderful, astounding things in his life and ended war and saved lives, but he was selfish and did it all for himself and not God, so he’s going to burn.
And then the movie reminds you that even though this man stopped some wars, there will still be more wars. Also, one of the serial killer’s victims is innocent, but never found God, so they show her being removed from Hell for just a moment before pushing her back in.
Writer/director Danny Carrales has made a ton of movies like this, moving up from SOV quality to actual films. His latest one, 2018’s Beyond the Darkness — and you just know that I love that he used the name of a Joe D’Amato movie — has lighsaber-looking things on the cover, which means I need to track it down and do a full deep dive. And oh yeah, Carrales is also a professor at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University.
Some people ask me, “How did our country get like this?” We always were. It just used to be tracts, SOV videos and the 700 Club wasn’t watched by everyone and shared like social media. It’s someone’s POV, no matter how much you disagree with it. And you know, no matter what you do, you’re going to Hell.