‘It’s About the Second Coming’ or — That’s My Boy?

Colin Edwards
3 min readFeb 10, 2024

‘It’s About the Second Coming’ (1980) is the first Ormond family film not to be directed by their auteur patriarch, Ron (he passed away during the film’s pre-production), with his son, Tim Ormond, stepping into his father’s shoes behind the camera. Would the loss of Ron’s filmmaking genius result in an inferior product or would Tim prove to be as much a cinematic visionary as his dad?

At first things weren’t looking too promising with ‘It’s About the Second Coming’ very much sticking to somewhat traditional descriptions and re-enactments of the second coming of Christ. It’s all rather pedestrian, well behaved and not particularly crazy.

And then the Ormond genes inevitably kick in and the film leaps forward into the future, a dystopian, post-rapture future where the anti-Christ has dominion on Earth, all citizens are given an electronic identification number (it’s 666) and a global police force guns down anyone who resists with lasers. Yep, this is still the same Ormond family I know and love.

Tim also seems to have quite a bit of ambition as a director and isn’t afraid to think big, something best demonstrated during the sequence of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream when a giant statue is obliterated by an asteroid. He also pulls off the best version of Christ-emerging-from-the-tomb ever filmed.

Tim also manages to do something I’ve never seen before and that’s turn a sermon into an action and suspense scene. A minister is preaching to his congregation about the imminent arrival of Christ on Earth and the rise of the anti-Christ although as the man is preaching to his flock a servant of the Devil is off to one side and using their dark powers to give the minster a heart-attack before he can finish. It’s actually quite exciting, like watching Harry Secombe’s ‘Highway’ meets David Cronenberg’s ‘Scanners’ (1981).

So Tim’s got a more modern, cinematic approach than his father and still retains that typical Ormond ability to keep the nonsense barreling along at a decent rate of knots (these movies rarely, if ever, stay still for a nanosecond), although he doesn’t quite have his father’s eye for a divinely deranged image and even though Tim’s work is technically slicker I miss Ron’s trashy, sleazy, fifties vibe.

Yet what’s really interesting is how you can explicitly see in this movie all the issues, topics and fears that would mobilise the religious right during the Reagan years, feed into neo-conservatism and find fruition in the online alt-right of today. So there’s panic regarding global government, enforced “vaccinations”, compulsory identification systems, restriction of Capitalism and trade, state police, etc. Combine all that with fundamentalism’s bedfellows — flat-earthers, UFOs, the paranormal, etc — and you have all the ingredients that have emboldened the right wing over the last several decades where rationality is jettisoned for rampant charlatanism. And that’s more scary than any dystopian future on display here.

‘It’s About the Second Coming’ might not have the demented thrust of Ron’s cinematic masterpieces but if you’ve ever wondered what ‘Songs of Praise’ would be like if it resembled ‘Escape From New York’ (1981) then this is the film for you.

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Colin Edwards

Comedy writer, radio producer and director of large scale audio features.