“This is not very complicated. It really isn’t. It’s prophesied in the Bible and the Bible says that before the beginning of the tribulation which will be in the end times, which I have no doubt we are living in…so therefore [the rapture] could happen tomorrow…the church is going to be called home and caught up in the air and taken to heaven and that’s what this movie’s about.” — Left Behind producer and co-writer Paul Lalonde, explaining the gist of the drama, which Samuel Goldwyn Films will open theatrically on 10.3.

So now we have two rapture/end times dramas to grapple with, both dealing with the sudden disappearance of millions — Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta‘s The Leftovers (HBO, 6.29) and Left Behind, in which poor Nicolas Cage stars. What a humiliation to go from being a legendary, envelope-pushing eccentric in the ’80s and ’90s to acting in…I shouldn’t judge, should I? The fair-minded thing would be to not process Left Behind as Christian ideological dreck mixed with disaster-movie spectacle and…you know, give it a fair shake. But of course it almost certainly is Christian dreck mixed with disaster tropes. What else to expect from a producer-writer who’s openly trying to spread Christian gospel through movies?

“Caught up in the air…”?

I can only say what I, a despiser of right-wing Christian culture, want to see. I don’t want to see a film that earnestly believes that the rapture is an actual possibility or, flipping the pancake, a delusional fantasy. What I want to see is another film like Michael Tolkin‘s The Rapture, which portrays the devout derangement that lives within hardcore born-again types. That’ll never happen, of course, because Hollywood, always ready to bend over, is kissing Christian ass these days. The last time Hollywood catered this much to Bible-thumpers was during the Eisenhower ’50s. Back then, of course, traditional Christian beliefs were more or less mainstream. But today and in fact for the last 30 years Christianity and anti-liberal Republicanism have become nearly synonymous, which is to say more and more loony-tunes.

I’m just sorry for Cage. On one level this might be weirdest film he’s made yet (I say “might”) but on another it feels like it might be on the level of The Wicker Man. Even a guy who’s had IRS difficulties should occasionally man up and say “no, I have standards.”

The Rapture is a thinking-man’s horror flick, and one of the most chilling and profoundly creepy films ever — a perfect bitchslap directed at Godfreaks and the religious right. It weirded me out on a level that I didn’t fully comprehend at first. So much so that I’ve only watched it twice. It’s not what you’d call a ‘pleasant’ film, but it sinks in and spreads a strange malevolent vibe — a profound unease, disquiet — into your system.” — from a 9.30.12 HE piece.