Prophet of Evil: The Ervil LeBaron Story

(Jud Taylor, USA, 1993)


Prophet of Evil: The Ervil LeBaron Story is a superior true-life telemovie detailing the murderous designs of a particularly deranged religious cult leader of the 1970s.

Brian Dennehy, imposing as ever, pursued an unusual acting path for a spell in the '90s – playing nothing but serial killers, visionary nuts and wife beaters in a string of sensationalist tele-dramas.

Veteran television director Jud Taylor gives the film a swift pace and captures unnervingly the cold, implacable madness of LeBaron as he brutalizes his young wives and announces after a vision: "Today's a good day to die for the Lord!" – an echo here of Charles Laughton's immortal The Night of the Hunter (1955).

William Devane is on hand to embody normality as a cop whose driven investigations put an awful strain on his hitherto perfect family life.

© Adrian Martin January 1994

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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