Are apocalypse movies horror?
I guess it really depends. Something like 2012 that focuses on natural phenomenon really are just destruction porn, whereas biblical stories (such as Left Behind) have many horror elements. There’s an unstoppable demon, and the torments presented are quite hellish. There’s a pretty good story tucked in there as well. What about the comedy This is the End?
I guess Netflix was confused about this as well as I was searching for something to watch and stumbled across Rapture-Palooza in the zombie horror section. After reading the description, I was left puzzled as to why it was here (but decided that I must see it anyways).
Basically, Lindsey Lewis (Anna Kendrick) is a normal young woman trying to find her place in an apocalyptic world. While bowling with her boyfriend Ben (John Francis Daley), the rapture occurs. Any person that regularly attended church and believed in God was taken to heaven (even if they lived horrible lives). Lindsey’s mother (Ana Gasteyer) and Ben’s mother are both raptured, but Lindsey’s is sent back after starting a fight in line. The rest of their families are left to deal with torments.
The first things that appeared were these (awesome) little locusts. I would try to explain them, but you have to see them. I was dying:
It then begins raining blood, and wraiths appear to torment the souls left. Lindsey’s neighbor, Mr. Murphy (Thomas Lennon) comes back from the dead as a zombie obsessed with mowing his lawn. Meteors rain down from the sky. Foul mouth birds berate people from above. During this time, politician Earl Gundy (Craig Robinson) is invited to the White House. He poisons the food served, and ascends to power by taking control of the United States nuclear arsenal and blowing up some cities. He dawns the name “The Beast”.
Lindsey and Ben begin planning a future together. They design a sandwich cart, and Lindsey reveals that she wants to save up for a place of their own and maybe have kids one day. Obviously, she has not accepted that this is the end. After a meteor crushes their cart, Lindsey and Ben do the most logical thing they can think of: They go to work for The Beast. Ben’s dad (Rob Corddry) is also an employee of his, and has been trying to recruit them for a while. Anybody employed by The Beast has good luck (in regards to the apocolypse) compared to those around them.
The Beast is immediately taken by Lindsey, and Ben’s dad does his best to keep Ben at bay. The Beast gives Lindsey an ultimatum to marry him, and she is given 8 hours to reply. If she refuses, she and her family will all be killed.
Rapture-Palooza is brilliant in the parts, but it is not consistent. The first few scenes are carried by Lindsey’s father John Michael Higgins, and Robinson is his usual self (He is funny as hell, and I love his deadpan takes.). Kendrick is beautiful, but she’s a little too casual. The scenes featuring just her and Daley are entertaining, but they drag compared to the over the top performances of everybody else here.
The script is written by Bill and Ted writer Chris Matheson, and it’s quite solid. Like most comedies, it comes slightly off track at the end, but it’s nearly impossible to handle such a dark topic without grinding gears while shifting from comedy to horror and back. Either way, it’s a fun watch. There are at least 3-4 memorable scenes I can think of off hand, and that locust scene is just classic.
For reference, Rapture-Palooza was released on June 7, 2013. This is the End (the star studded and very similar themed film also featuring Craig Robinson) came out on June 12, 2013. I haven’t seen TITE, but I’ve heard great things about it. It raked in over $126 million dollars at the box office, while this one was tossed out as a direct to video release.
Rapture-Palooza is a great comedy with some horror elements. The cast is a wonderful ensemble (It wouldn’t be a biblical apocalypse without an appearance by God and…well. You’ll see.) that plays well off each other. Kendrick is great in role, but is overshadowed by the over-the-top script and personalities around her. It’s a shame that this is a hidden gem I found on Netflix, but it has cult classic written all over it.