God’s Angry Man (1981)

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Directed by: Werner Herzog

I remember watching QVC as a child on Cable TV. Some heavily made up dame would be trying to sell a set of gardening shears. You couldn’t get these shears at your local Homebase or B&Q; these were top of the line product, a real bargain. Every item sold on QVC was top of the range, limited edition and a product you needed, if not your life was not complete. Nowadays whole channels are devoted not just to selling gardening tools and other apparently sought after ta’ but to whole lifestyle’s. Fitness fanatics and lazy lard arses are given an opportunity to buy a DVD box set that will transform them into cartoonish superhuman’s with pronounced abdominal muscles, this ‘Insanity’ workout will change their lives forever. The advert plays on a loop with glowing testimonies. Buy Buy Buy… all major credit cards are accepted.

In America church ministers preach on television, back in the seventies and eighties they would demand that their sofa bound congregation would send in cheques and dollars or else they would go straight to hell. The gullible parted with their cash, fearing the wrath of God’s angry man. Gene Scott was a flawed, oddly charismatic holy man. He had a programme on the Faith Broadcasting Network, which was like a cross between ‘The David Letterman Show’ and a paranoid schizophrenic having a conversation with a mirror. When Scott talks he rambles bitterly, mostly at the non-believers and those who he felt were trying to shut him down.

Due to the length of this documentary which runs under forty five minutes, we are provided with a tantalizing glimpse of a troubled man, but Herzog is unable to get under the skin of his subject. That is a great shame, but back in those days Herzog was not aiming for a feature length piece.

Herzog’s runs the footage of Gene Scott as he attempted to drum up donations from his faithful viewers, including very brief snippets from Scott off set and hastily edited interviews with Scott’s parents. Scott’s show is bizarre to watch. Strange clean cut music acts sing songs about Jesus and then Scott rattles the charity box. At times Scott literally waits for the money to roll in, staying silent until he hears word from his production team that someone has parted with their cash.

This one’s up on YouTube, so take a gander,

– RJW
5/10

God’s Angry Man on IMDB

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