Left Behind producer to remake David Cronenberg’s Rabid


Variety reports that Jen and Sylvia Soska — twin sisters who have made a name for themselves in the horror genre — are going to direct a remake of an early film by their fellow Canadian David Cronenberg. There’s nothing too surprising about that.

What is surprising is that one of the producers of the new film — as well as a TV series based on the film — is Paul Lalonde, a Toronto-based filmmaker and former Bible-prophecy TV host who has spent the past 18 years producing a series of “faith-based” end-times thrillers, including all four films in the Left Behind franchise.

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Quick updates on The Leftovers and the Left Behind reboot

The Rapture stories told by Christians tend to fall into one of two camps: they are either intended to scare the reader or viewer into becoming a Christian, so that he or she will qualify for the Rapture and be spared the terrors of life under the Antichrist; or they are intended to give Christians a chance to do some tribal chest-thumping, as the characters who somehow become Christian after the Rapture actively do what they can to undermine the Antichrist and his evil regime.

Rarely do these stories actively try to empathize with the people who are “left behind” when the Rapture happens. (One of the reasons I love the Daniel Amos song ‘Lady Goodbye’ is because it does try to imagine what that experience would be like.) Lately, however, storytellers of a less obviously religious bent have begun to fill that gap.

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LaHaye hated the first Left Behind film, but loves the reboot

The Facebook page for the upcoming Left Behind reboot announced the other day that Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, who co-wrote the original series of novels, recently saw a rough cut of the film and gave it “two enthusiastic thumbs up”.

A bit of background: LaHaye actually sued the makers of the original trilogy (which went straight-to-video between 2000 and 2005, though the first film also received a theatrical release in 2001), claiming that he had sold the film rights on the condition that the film be produced a major studio, with top-of-the-line stars, and released to theatres in late 1999 so as to capitalize on the Y2K craze.

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Almighty dollars

Many of the books, films, music and TV shows that make up the parallel universe of the Christian entertainment industry are keyed to the idea of Judgment Day. Odd, writes Peter T. Chattaway — the Rapture is a modern concept with virtually no basis in the Bible

Until it was released in theatres in the United States three weeks ago, Left Behind — an apocalyptic thriller filmed in Ontario and based on a best-selling series of novels by evangelical authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins — was heavily promoted as the breakthrough film that Christian movie buffs had long been waiting for. The eight books in the series to date have sold over 30 million copies, and the film, which stars former teen idol Kirk Cameron as a TV journalist and Flight of the Intruder star Brad Johnson as an airline pilot, reportedly cost $17.4 million to make — though how much of that was spent on promoting the film, and not on the actual production, is a matter of some debate.

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Review: Revelation (dir. André van Heerden, 1999)

revelation1999Revelation, the second in a proposed trilogy of end-times movies written and produced by Peter and Paul Lalonde, is that rarest of films: a sequel that improves on its predecessor in just about every possible way.

Of course, such praise may sound faint when the previous film was Apocalypse, a tacky soap-opera-style collection of talking heads and recycled news footage that suffered from poor acting and cheesy ideas. But Revelation is a remarkably assured piece of filmmaking in its own right.

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