Watching a few silly trailers, Nollywood – Nigerian shot-on-video cinema – is fucking hilarious. Scratch a little deeper by sitting through a feature, and things get a little scary. Prolific Nigerian actor Kenneth Okonkwo is the producer of 666 (Beware the End is at Hand) 1 and 2, and his onscreen credit is rather telling. Okonkwo is listed as “Kenneth Okonkwo (Pastor)”. Yes, the 666 movies are exploitative trash, laden with laughable performances and pathetic video effects, but they’re also, much like End of the Wicked, shameless and rather evil Christian recruitment videos.
666 (BEWARE THE END IS AT HAND) 1 & 2
Nigeria, 2007, Ugo Ugbor
The scene in Nigerian Hell wraps up. The film cuts to a pregnant woman strolling down a haggard street with the gentle easy listening music from the title sequence pumping in the background. (We hear this song repetitively throughout the two films, the softly sung lyrics warn us the end of the world is upon us.) After negotiating a driver’s fee, she is given a lift on a bike by a friendly guy. But unfortunately friendly guy turns out to be not that friendly. He leads the pregnant lady into a trap where her baby is cut out of her by friendly guy and two other buffoons. I’m not sure what this scene has to do with anything.
We then cut to an angry tenant yelling incomprehensibly at his landlord. The landlord then puts some powder outside the tenant’s front door, which hurts his angry tenant’s foot. He convulses, foams at the mouth then dies. Not really sure what that had to do with anything either.
We are then introduced to Pastor Lazarus (Fred Ariko), our God-fearing hero, who reads from a bible to sooth a panicking woman who has been having a reoccurring nightmare where “the kingdom of darkness” has taken over the world. Later that night, Lazarus warns his wife that the end is nigh. For the remainder of 666 1, the film cuts back to Lazarus regularly showing seemingly pointless scenes of preaching and the dull organisation church funds.
Lazarus is right. Lucifer is up to no good. His minions are out and about forcing people to commit evil acts. A prostitute is hired by a demon in disguise. The prostitute is forced at gunpoint to lick a scabby wound on her devilish customer’s leg (really). On her way back home, she collapses, dies, and is delivered directly to hell.
In the film’s most ludicrous sequence, one of Lucifer’s minions lures a young man (or as he’s credited in the end credits: GAY 1) into gay sex. What follows is perhaps the most unconvincing and offensive scene of gay love put to video. Post-coitus, Pastor Lazarus approaches the two gay lovers and tries to force the will of God upon them. They refuse and leave. After giving each other an obnoxious high five, the gay demon, using his flashing animated eyes, has his lover hit by a car.
Some unbelievably drawn-out scenes of preaching follow. Then finally, nearly an hour in, we meet the film’s central villain. A husband and heavily pregnant wife rush to the hospital. One fatal and awkward birth scene later, a child is born. But not just any child. This is KEN THE DEMON CHILD!
A title appears: Eight years later. Demon-Child Ken (Musa Ibrahim) is grown up and he’s a little shit. He picks on a handicapped woman and punches a kid in the face. Luckily, Pastor Lazarus senses something is awry. Rushing out of his church, Lazarus interrupts Ken in the middle of an ominous meal of pasta and engages him in a Dragon Ball-esque battle. Pastor Lazarus wins. The end? No, this is only the end of part one of 666!
666 (Beware the End is at Hand) 2 is even more bewildering than its predecessor. Inexplicably, young Ken survives his run in with Lazarus, re-materialising in a bush. We are informed that Pastor Lazarus has been transferred to another church. Ken doesn’t waste much time murdering Lazarus’s replacement by embodying his maid and strangling him. The bit where Ken enters the maid’s body had me howling with laughter:
With no explanation given (there never is in these films), we suddenly cut to Ken being held down by the three psychotic buffoons from the beginning of the first 666 (the ones who gave an early caesarian to an innocent pregnant woman). What the fuck?! The bandits hover a knife over Ken ready to kill him. Okay, so is this scene suggesting that these baby murdering loons are actually the good guys? Fucking hell, Nigeria. Anyway, Ken overpowers the bandits and burns “666” into the foreheads. This leads to an exchange that brings to mind the tattoo scene from Dude, Where’s My Car?.
Ken twaddles off to have a few more adventures. He’s yelled at for drinking beer and smoking cigarettes by a (furious) good Samaritan. And, in the film’s most disturbing sequence, he puts a woman under hypnosis in order to sleep with her. Yes, there is a scene of demon-pedophilia.
As if the film was aware of the inappropriateness of this repulsive scene, 666 then falls to pieces. Ken morphs into an adult version of himself, he pretends to be a pastor and tricks a woman into allowing him to “plant God’s seed” in her. Slapped between these scenes are lengthy scenes of evangelical sermons. The only real highlight of the second part’s latter half is a hysterical moment where a homeless demon uses his powers to cover a woman with warts leading to a scene of panicked screaming that goes on for ages.
666 2 farts along for another nonsensical half an hour. I honestly could not tell you what the hell happens towards the end. The film introduces new characters left, right and centre before ending with a befuddling montage that turns out to be a preview for a followup movie “from the stables of Global Update Pictures”.
666 ends with producer Kenneth Okonkwo (Pastor) delivering the warning, “Give your life to Jesus Christ today, tomorrow might be too late.” Nollywood’s Christian propaganda is perhaps the most exploitative stuff I’ve come across. It wallows in stupidity and gratuitous sex and violence, all while promoting its finger-shaking message. 666 is utterly terrifying (although perhaps not as bad as End of the Wicked) in its promotion of hatred and fear under the guise of Christianity. On the other hand, it’s also really fucking funny.