“END OF DAYS” IS TORTUOUS
Catalyst January/February Issue 2000
When the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie “End of Days” was released, the Catholic League wasted no time blasting it. Indeed even “Entertainment Weekly” branded the movie the “Loser of the Week.” Here is how the Hollywood magazine put it: “The Devil. Not only does he pummeled in End of Days—which has been beaten at the box office by a middle-aged spy and a bunch of toys—his movie’s getting trashed by the Catholic League. It hasn’t been this bad since getting kicked out of heaven.”
Our trashing was explained to the media this way:
“The gory scenes of violence and torture are sickening, but what is most troubling is the crass misappropriation of Catholic themes and imagery. Moreover, several priests are brutalized—even to the point where a would-be killer priest is crucified on a ceiling by Satan. There is a vacuous pope, pathetic-looking cardinals, lay Catholic thugs in rebellion against the Vatican, Satanic worshippers, etc. Suffice it to say that the film is tortuous in more ways than one.
“The film’s director, Peter Hyams, classifies his movie as ‘pro-religious.’ This, of course, is exactly what advocates for Andres Serrano have been saying for years about his ‘Piss Christ’ contribution. It is what the fans of Terence McNally have said when challenged about the playwright’s ‘Corpus Christi.’ It is what the supporters of the Brooklyn Museum of Art exhibition, ‘Sensation,’ have been saying for weeks about Chris Ofili’s ‘The Holy Virgin Mary.’ And it is precisely what Kevin Smith offers when questioned about ‘Dogma.’
“This dishonesty suggests that it is better to be labeled a con-man than a bigot. Why they don’t come out of the closet and expose themselves for what they are is distressing. Perhaps the Catholic League should stage a coming-out party for these guys. The problem is we’d probably have to rent the Los Angeles Coliseum.”
Dennis Nilsen reviewed the movie for the Catholic League.