It's About The Second Coming AKA The Second Coming (Blu-ray) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - United Kingdom - Powerhouse Films
Review written by and copyright: Rick Curzon (25th June 2023).
The Film

Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set (World Blu-ray premieres)

Presented by Nicolas Winding Refn, From Hollywood to Heaven tells the extraordinary story of a truly unique American filmmaking family.

For almost half a century, June, Ron and Tim Ormond, a Nashville mother-father-son trio, cranked out a wild bunch of movies, from Lash LaRue westerns to the stripper-gore-musical outrage The Exotic Ones, and plunged into every area of showbiz. What’s more, they did it all on a shoestring, totally independently, with no studio to back them.

At the height of their frenzied career, Ron and June experienced a spiritual awakening when their private plane crashed on the way to a premiere. From then on, they turned their back on secular show business to produce a series of shocking, surreal religious pictures, including an unbelievable trio of films for Mississippi Baptist preacher Estus Pirkle – films such as The Burning Hell, which made millions, despite never being shown in an actual movie theatre.

Produced by Powerhouse Films in association with byNWR, and released to coincide with FAB Press’ publication of forensic biographer Jimmy McDonough’s awe-inspiring tome on the extraordinary life and work of the Ormond Family, this strictly limited, individually numbered Blu-ray box set contains thirteen feature films, a host of new and archival extra features – including five new audio commentaries and a collection of rarely seen short films – as well as a set of art cards and a fully illustrated 100-page book, newly written by McDonough.


Another valuable set of films preserving the legacy of exploitation / grass roots filmmakers of the kind that Stephen Thrower covered in his seminal tome Nightmare USA (2008). In recent years we're had BD sets devoted to the likes of B-filmmakers, direct to video specialists and Grindhouse staples Al Adamson, Herschel Gordon Lewis, William Grefé, Andy Milligan, Micheal J. Murphy and Ray Dennis Steckler. Now Powerhouse Films (working with professional filmmaker and enthusiast Nicolas Winding Refn) have stepped up to bat with this welcome, superb BD set of films made by the Ormond Family: dad Ron, mum June Carr and son Tim.

As we've seen with most of the films in the aforementioned BD sets of like filmmakers above, the archive holdings have been very badly affected by the ravages of time and force majeure. In the case of the Ormond films, many film elements were destroyed in a 2010 flood and as a result surviving standard definition masters, VHS tapes and occasional film prints have had to be used.

What separates the Ormonds from those other filmmakers is the fact that in 1968 they became born again after surviving a plane crash. From there on they made Christian films, albeit with a trashy, exploitation, fire and brimstone sensationalist sensibility.

Films mastered from surviving 16mm source elements:
If Footmen Tire you, What Will Horses Do?, The Burning Hell, The Believer's Heaven, 39 Stripes, It's About The Second Coming

These films are all preceded by the following statement:
Reconstructed in 2018 from the only surviving duplicate 16mm negative and and analog sound masters. Its original camera reversal positive is considered lost. Extensive efforts were made to correct for severe colour loss and deterioration of these remaining picture elements.

The Believer's Heaven has a slightly different statement:
Restored In 2019 from the only surviving duplicate 16mm negative and and analog sound masters. Its original camera reversal positive is considered lost.

Obviously, these films look far and away the best in this set due to being sourced from original film elements.

Colours are stable with no signs of bleed with decent if occasionally pinkish flesh tones. Detail s decent albeit limited by the nature of the 16mm format, it's still a good few steps up on the other upscaled-from-standard def presentations. Primaries are strong when they appear. I'm sure that had the elements been better looked after it would've been possible to have more vivid colour values but given what Powerhouse had to work with these films look fabulous. The Burning Hell's "Hell" scenes are very vivid in their contrast and colour palettes with some deep red, if paint-like blood. 39 Stripes conversely is rather washed out and muted by comparison with some contrast boosting and consequent mild blown out highlights. It's About The Second Coming is probably the strongest presentation all round with no damage, vivid grain, solid colours, contrast and black levels.

Grain is present although not as pervasive as I would've expected, in any case it's well handled by the excellent encode and very filmic. Black levels are deep and rich but there's also a fair amount of crush baked into the elements due to how these low budget seemingly semi-amateur Christian efforts were made; shadow detail can occasionally be good though. Contrast is layered and supportive. Print and age-related damage pops up occasionally in the form of tramline scratches (The Grim Reaper, 39 Stripes) and the odd bit of speckling. I saw no obvious signs of digital tinkering.

Films mastered from surviving standard definition masters and upscaled to 1080p24:
Untamed Mistress, Please Don't Touch Me, White Lightnin Road, Forty Acre Feud, The Girl from Tobacco Road, The Exotic Ones, The Grim Reaper and The Sacred Symbol

These films are all preceded by the following disclaimer:
The original camera elements for this feature were lost during a food which devastated Tim Ormond's home in May 2010. This presentation is in standard definition and uses the best master materials known to exist. Every attempt has been made to improve quality issues inherent in the source master in order to provide the best possible viewing experience.

It's fair to say that these are far from optimal presentations of films lensed originally on 16mm film. There is occasional slight film weave baked into the masters dating from the time they were created (prior to 2010, mostly probably dating from the '80s and '90s). Detail and film grain are compromised, black levels and contrast also limited to the possibilities and standards of the time they were made. They were all intended to be used for TV broadcast and or released on home video so contrast can be slightly boosted at times to give the image more punch and black levels have some crush here and there.

Colours are generally quite strong although some bleed is evident, a problem that used to plague analogue standard def transfers quite a bit; I recall Laserdiscs of then new films having this issue in the late '90s. Film density variances create the odd moment of fluctuation and overall the visual feel is overly warm and slightly over saturated on Untamed Mistress and The Exotic Ones, cooler on the other titles. Print damage is rarely present but Powerhouse Films' restoration team and encoders Fidelity in Motion have done a brilliant job of making a silk purse out of a sow's ear with these transfers.

As a rule of thumb, the newer the film the more the transfer improves; the worst is Untamed Mistress, the '60s films are actually pretty decent with less crush etc. Note: The Exotic Ones has a brief drop in quality between 77:52 and 79:18 where a patch from (I assume) VHS has been dropped in to restore a scene either cut or damaged in the broadcast quality master. The quality of this section is on a par with the VHS sourced films (see below).

Films / programmes mastered from surviving VHS tapes and presented in standard definition:
Edge of Tomorrow

These titles are very compromised, much more so than the titles upscaled from broadcast quality-video masters. Edge of Tomorrow is very soft, completely lacking in detail and although colour values are reasonable there's contrast boosting with some blown out highlights and black crush here and there.

Films / programmes mastered from surviving standard definition NTSC broadcast masters:
A Tribute to Houdini, Lash LaRue: A Man and His Memories - A Friendship Lasts Forever, June Carr, the Virtual Vaudevillian and Forgotten Memories

Soft, lacking in detail but still solid image quality. These being video taped productions shot in standard def NTSC broadcast video means viewers should know what to expect. Colours are OK if slightly faded looking, black levels and contrast generally good. Interestingly, the production footage from Forgotten Memories is much sharper if still soft and muted. Probably down to the fact it's raw and unedited. When video taped shows like these are assembled, the analogue nature of the systems used means that as edits are assembled, footage drops generations and so gets softer.

Overall, the average video rating is 'C+'. Powerhouse Films have done their level best with an inadequate playing field. I doubt we'll see these films and programmes ever looking better than we see here.

1080p24 / AVC MPEG-4 / 4 x BD-50s /
1.33:1 - Untamed Mistress, Edge of Tomorrow, The Grim Reaper, The Sacred Symbol, A Tribute to Houdini, Lash LaRue: A Man and His Memories - A Friendship Lasts Forever, June Carr, the Virtual Vaudevillian and Forgotten Memories.
1.60:1 - Please Don't Touch Me, White Lightnin' Road, Forty Acre Feud, The Girl from Tobacco Road and The Exotic Ones.
1.37:1 - If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do?, The Burning Hell, 39 Stripes and It's About The Second Coming.

Running Times (in the order they appear on the discs):
Untamed Mistress - 72:33
Please Don't Touch Me - 67:29
White Lightnin' Road - 95:09
Edge of Tomorrow - 49:11
Forty Acre Feud - 85:35
The Girl from Tobacco Road - 86:27
The Exotic Ones - 91:51
If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do? - 53:07
The Burning Hell - 58:28
The Grim Reaper - 59:04
The Believer's Heaven - 60:18
39 Stripes - 59:30
It's About The Second Coming - 55:54
The Sacred Symbol - 59:37
A Tribute to Houdini - 59:49
Lash LaRue: A Man and His Memories - A Friendship Lasts Forever - 70:30
June Carr, the Virtual Vaudevillian - 30:17
Forgotten Memories - 20:02


English LPCM 1.0 (48kHz) all standard def video master-sourced films
English LPCM 2.0 Stereo (48kHz) straight to video productions 1987-97
English Dolby Digital 1.0 (VHS sourced titles)
Subtitles: English HoH

Sound tends to fare better than the visuals with basic, solid mono tracks. Dialogue is always clear and uninhibited by music and sound effects. The scoring (most likely library tracks) are supportive in the mix. There is ever present hiss but not enough to hinder enjoyment. The tracks fare less well when volume is cranked too high. There re times incidentally when ADR work has been done in a shoddy way to change dialogue or replace bits recorded on location or in studio that were obscured. As a result those bits have real lip sync problems but this is no fault of Powerhouse Films but a native to the films themselves and how they were made. The 2.0 stereo tracks may as well be mono, they have all the same issues as the 1.0 only with some mild frontal separation, rears occasionally pick up some scoring but only when channeled through ProLogic II, Neo: 6 Cinema or similar.

Titles taken from VHS sources have lossy Dolby Digital 1.0 tracks are obviously don't fare as well, but once again, Powerhouse have dine the best they can. These are a noticeable step down in quality but are still very listenable. I'm not really going to include, or consider, these tracks in the overall rating for sound but these would rate 'C+'.

Hard of hearing subtitles are - as usual - of a very high quality and meticulously done (overall for the films with uncompressed LPCM tracks = 'B-').


Audio commentary on "Please Don't Touch Me" by historian Jimmy McDonaugh (2023)
Audio commentary on "The Exotic Ones" with Georgette Dante and Jimmy McDonough (2023)
Audio commentary on "The Burning Hell" by Tim Ormond, Jimmy McDonough and Peter Conheim (2023)
Audio commentary on "It's About the Second Coming" with Tim Ormond and Jimmy McDonough (2023)

McDonaugh has written a book on the Ormonds - The Exotic Ones: That Fabulous Film-Making Family from Music City, USA - The Ormonds (2023) - published by FAB Press. Consequently, he knows his subject and these films, so all of the tracks he's involved with are steeped in his amiable personality and with plenty of information densely packed, so pay attention and don't try making a cuppa whilst listening! The track with actress and carny Dante is well moderated by McDonough in his inimitable style and she more that steps up to bat following his lead; lots of trivia and laughs here. The Ormond-McDonough-Conheim track is similarly lively and fact-filled. All presented in lossy Dolby Digital 1.0.

Audio commentary on "If Footmen Tire You What Will Horses Do?" by Greg Pirkle and Brian Rosenquist (2023)

Rosenquist is a director-producer of a new upcoming documentary about the Ormonds and is an agreeable presence here as moderator discussing the film with the son of Estus Pirkle, who's contribution is done via a phone. Topics covered include Pirkle's dad Estus and how he came to be interested in communism and how it was the antithesis of his way of life, his sermons, the cast and crew, etc. Presented in lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

"Estus Pirkle Sermon" 1970 audio recording (63:30)

This statement precedes the audio recording:The following audio presentation was recorded in 1970. The sermon was recorded from a pulpit microphone, and not intended for commercial distribution, and exhibits range of technical problems as a consequence. Its importance as a unique archival document makes its inclusion here essential. We hope you agree.

Well, this is what it is ... a sermon. The sound bears plenty of age-related issues like hiss and a certain canned, muffled quality. After all, it was recorded using 1970 technology with a simple microphone. Presented in lossy Dolby Digital 1.0.

Forgotten Memories Production Footage (14:49)

Video footage from the set that's in better condition that the video programme itself; sharper, clearer and first generation.

White Lightnin' Road Theatrical Trailer (2:50)

Vintage promo presented as a standard def upscale.

White Lightnin' Road Radio Spots (3:21)
- Radio Spot #1
- Radio Spot #2
- Radio Spot #3
- Radio Spot #4
Forty Acre Feud Radio Spots (4:03):
- Radio Spot #1
- Radio Spot #2
- Radio Spot #3
- Radio Spot #4
Girl from Tobacco Road Radio Spots (2:42):
- Radio Spot #1
- Radio Spot #2
- Radio Spot #3
- Radio Spot #4
- Radio Spot #5
The Exotic Ones Radio Spots (5:45):
- Radio Spot #1
- Radio Spot #2
- Radio Spot #3
- Radio Spot #4
- Radio Spot #5
- Radio Spot #6
- Radio Spot #7
- Radio Spot #8
The Grim Reaper Radio Spots (2:42):
- Radio Spot #1
- Radio Spot #2
- Radio Spot #3
- Radio Spot #4
- Radio Spot #5
39 Stripes Radio Spots (2:21):
- Radio Spot #1
- Radio Spot #2
- Radio Spot #3

Cheesetastic audio promos played on local radio stations, with aggressive narration highlighting the salacious nature of the stories, characters and plots,

A 100-page book with an extended essay by Jimmy McDonough, Peter Conheim on the restorations and full film credits

A chunky tome that is an essential hardcopy companion to the discs in this set and it continues the high quality of Powerhouse Film's hardcopy supplements. Packed with interest and information that for me was much more interesting than watching the films themselves. Most interesting to a technical reviewer like myself was the 6-page article "Lost and Saved" by Peter Conheim which covered the tricky and herculean efforts to restore the films in this set.

A limited edition exclusive set of five art cards

Not sent for review.


Not provided for review.


Another invaluable set featuring restorations on extremely niche, marginal, bottom of the barrel films for connoisseurs of such things. By any standard the restoration work and the accompanying extras package brings colossal value putting the films into context and presenting the depleted surviving elements on their best possible behaviour. Sound and vision are seriously compromised across the board but are always very watchable and listenable. This will make many sets of the year lists and is an essential purchase for true seekers looking for more off beat material. Highly recommended and an essential purchase on day one for those who want the best value before the four individual discs are released in standard editions sans the invaluable book ('B').

The Film: C- Video: C+ Audio: B- Extras: A+ Overall: B


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