Apocalypse is a Christian end-times film series developed by Peter and Paul Lalonde and released by Cloud Ten Pictures, the producers of the short-lived Left Behind film series. It follows the story of former World News Network reporter Helen Hannah as she and those left behind on the earth following the Rapture deal with the emerging Antichrist figure Franco Macalousso and his One Nation Earth government, trying to bring as many people into the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ before His return. The series consists of Apocalypse, Revelation (featuring Jeff Fahey and Carol Alt), Tribulation (featuring Gary Busey, Margot Kidder, and Howie Mandel), and Judgment (featuring Corbin Bersen, Jessica Steen, and Mr. T). A fifth movie in the series, Redemption, is currently under development.
The Apocalypse film series provides examples of:
Aesop Amnesia: Despite the climaxes of the first and third movie involving exposing the Anti Christ for who he is to the world, he's still the indisputed leader of the world by the start of the next film (probably attributed to his supernatural power).
A God Am I / A God Is You: Not only does Franco Macalousso declare himself to be God, he also promises that those who believe in him can also be gods, using Scripture to back up his claims.
Assimilation Plot: The goal of One Nation Earth citizens during the Tribulation to unite together for world peace, interpreted as the people becoming one in mind like those who attempted to build the Tower of Babel, heavily emphasized in Tribulation as police officers and One Nation Earth agents hunt down those who have not taken the Mark of the Beast and force them to enter the Day Of Wonders program.
As the Good Book Says: Used by the Christian protagonists in the story, but also used by believers in Franco Macalousso's ideals in Tribulation with their interpretation of Genesis 11:6 being that if the world could unite as one, then they would be able to achieve anything.
Artistic License - Religion: The films follow many of the same misconceptions as the "parent" series Left Behind. For instance, in the third film one character states that all Christians believe in the Rapture.
Note, however, that this is a nonbeliever who says it in the story, so the misconception may be in-universe.
The first movie seems to confirm it's in-universe, as there are seemingly Christian families right after the Rapture takes place that are taken by the Antichrist gestapo.
Bi the Way: Willie Spino is hinted as being this in Judgment when he flirts with some men in the court room as he is brought in as a testifying witness against Helen Hannah, whereas in Revelation he was hitting on the blind woman.
Earlier in Revelation, Spino makes comments hinting at a one-sided man crush on Thorold Stone.
Blessed with Suck: The ones who have taken the Mark of the Beast receive limited telepathic and telekinetic powers, all for the eternal cost of being sent to the Lake of Fire. In addition, Willy Spino is able to walk, Cindy Bolton is able to see, and the one-armed man in Tribulation gains his other arm back.
Bus Full of Innocents: In the movie Revelation, Thorold Stone investigates a bomb explosion that killed a bus full of school children, believing it to be the work of the Haters, but it turns out to be an inside job by One Nation Earth agents.
Captain Ersatz: The first movie basically began as a film knockoff of the Left Behind books; in this case, Franco Macalousso is this for Nicolae Carpathia.
Can't Stop The Signal: Two people in Revelation who have taken the Mark of the Beast try to stop the anti-Day Of Wonders virus program from uploading by pulling out the disk from the computer and even shooting the computer it's uploading on, all to no avail as it miraculously continues to boot up.
Cassandra Truth: In Tribulation, when Tom Canboro's brother-in-law Jason Quincy (Howie Mandel) is being manipulated by future One Nation Earth agents who want to prevent him from spreading the truth before the world is ready for it, neither Tom nor his wife Susan are willing to believe him due to their past dealings with him that lead to their belief that Jason is mentally unstable; however, Tom's sister Eileen somehow senses that the agent has been in Jason's hospital room and is more willing to believe him, though Tom doesn't believe his sister due to her being a born-again Christian who takes the Bible very literally.
Conspiracy Theorist: Jason Quincy (Howie Mandel) plays one in Tribulation, though he seems a bit too more of a crackpot than many, which makes his telling his family members about the men who drove him to throw himself out the window rather difficult. His amusing scientific discovery about how monkeys on two different sides of a volcanic island end up engaging in the same activity of washing their bananas in the sea ends up becoming the basis for the Assimilation Plot during the Tribulation.
Cyberspace: The Day Of Wonders takes place within a virtual reality program, mostly consisting of a white room with a Digital Avatar of the Antichrist in it to offer whoever enters it the Mark of the Beast, with the alternative being death, usually by decapitation.
Deal with the Devil: Accepting the Mark of the Beast is played out like this, with the benefits of its recipients experiencing miracles such as the blind woman in Revelation receiving her sight, the wheelchair-bound man in the same movie being able to walk, and the one-armed man in the hospital in Tribulation receiving his right arm again. There's also the Blessed with Suck element of having limited telepathic and telekinetic powers, as featured in Tribulation.
Digital Avatar: Franco Macalousso has one in the Day Of Wonders program, for convincing people who enter the program to take the Mark of the Beast. In essence, he is fulfilling what the book of Revelation says about "the image of the beast".
Disabled Snarker: Willy Spino and Cindy Bolton, the blind woman (Carol Alt), in Revelation.
Do Not Adjust Your Set: The Haters have technology that lets them hack into the One Nation Earth's network and broadcast messages, mostly prerecorded material from famous televangelists such as T.D. Jakes and Jack Van Impe that warn about the end times.
Doomed Appointment: Of a sort in Tribulation, when Tom Canboro promises he would go with his sister Eileen to her church next Sunday night to hear what God has to say. It's only doomed because Tom Canboro gets into a car accident that puts him in a coma and Eileen is eventually Caught Up in the Rapture; however, near the end of the movie, Tom does visit the now-deserted church that Eileen attended, ready to hear what God has to say because he now believes in Him.
The Dragon: Len Parker plays this in Apocalypse and Revelation.
Easy Evangelism: Not to Christianity, but rather to Franco Macalousso's one-world religion. He immediately takes credit for the Rapture (claiming that he had to get rid of certain people for the sake of the world) and declares himself God. Even though it sounds like he has a bad case of Jerusalem Syndrome, just about everybody takes him at his word.
Fake Kill Scare: Helen Hannah (supposedly) dies in the Day Of Wonders program in Tribulation, but is later shown to be spared from death by the Antichrist himself in Judgment.
Also from Tribulation: Jason Quincy makes a run for it when he thinks that the One Nation Earth agent (secretly a Reverse Mole) is shooting all his Christian friends and family members in the hideout, but as it turns out is really firing blanks.
Another fake kill scare takes place in Revelation, as a Christian girl whose mother hears she was permanently put out of her misery (so to speak) shows up alive near the end of the movie with her mother about to be put into the furnace along with former police officer Thorold Stone.
For Your Own Good: A father turns his Christian son over to the One Nation Earth authorities in Revelation claiming he is doing this because he loves his son.
Friend to All Living Things: Subverted with Revelation's blind woman in the Haters hideout, who by her own admission became a vegetarian not because she loved animals, but because she hated plants.
The Fundamentalist: Those who believe in Franco Macalousso being God incarnate and that his teachings are the truth are portrayed as falling into this trope more easily than the Christians that they persecute as being "Haters".
Give Me a Sign: Voiced by Thorold Stone in Revelation when he isn't convinced that there is a God other than the self-proclaimed Messiah Franco Macalousso, whom he doesn't believe is God either. He later gets his sign from the real true God when he and several other Christians get sent into the furnace and are supernaturally protected from the flames (a reference to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednago in The Bible).
God Help Us All: Said by the President of the United States in the first film in a State of the Union address when a nuclear strike against the nation takes place.
Hollywood Atheist: Thorold Stone in Revelation, who became one after he saw his mother pass away from cancer. His atheism does get tested when his wife and daughter mysteriously disappear, and eventually he becomes a believer when he meets with Franco Macalousso's Digital Avatar in the Day Of Wonders program and rejects the idea that Macalousso is the Messiah.
Hollywood Hacking: Attempted with Willy Spino in Revelation as he uses a code-cracking program to hack into the Day Of Wonders program to see what it contains before it goes live.
Illegal Religion: Christianity is illegal to practice in the series, as One Nation Earth actively hunts down all who practice that religion.
Incessant Music Madness: The singing of "Amazing Grace" near the end of Revelation by the group of Haters in the furnace almost becomes this when Willy Spino and Cindy Bolton (Carol Alt) are frantically searching for the anti-Day Of Wonders virus program disk and try to stop the program from uploading, all to no avail, while Len Parker has the furnace heat turned up even hotter to stop the singing until he decides to go into the room himself, only to be baked to a crisp. All the while, more people end up singing the song until it seems like Willy and Cindy are holding their ears, not wanting to hear it.
Irritation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery: In the early part of Tribulation, young Calvin Canboro imitates young Tom Canboro until Tom talks about Calvin having to go to the bathroom, which gets Calvin to stop imitating Tom when he finds himself repeating what Tom said.
It Won't Turn Off: Willy Spino and Cindy Bolton in Revelation try their best to stop the anti-Day Of Wonders virus program from uploading onto the computer, to no avail.
I Will Find You: Thorold Stone in Revelation loses his wife and daughter in the Rapture and will do anything to get them back, eventually realizing that he will have to put his faith in Jesus Christ to see them again.
In Tribulation, Tom Canboro is separated from his wife Susan when he was in a coma from the automobile accident and spends much of the movie looking for her. He does find her among a group of persecuted Christians, thankfully.
Join or Die: What the people in the Tribulation period in the film series are confronted with when they meet Franco Macalousso's Digital Avatar in the Day Of Wonders program...either take the Mark of the Beast and join his side, or die by whatever virtual means the program has in store for you (usually decapitation).
Just in Time: Thorold Stone's virtual beheading in Revelation is interrupted by Helen Hannah coming to cut the power on the virtual reality goggles Stone was wearing just as the guillotine blade falls.
Kangaroo Court: Helen Hannah's trial in Judgment takes place in this as her defense attorney Mitch Kendrick (Corbin Bernsen) is given a script of the trial that he must follow so that Helen can be convicted.
Kick the Dog: After taking the Mark of the Beast, the two former neutral good guys change to villains instantly, and one [Spino] actually shoots his own puppy. Just because.
Magic from Technology: Apparently the Day Of Wonders virtual reality program is so real it can hurt and even kill people who enter into it: a lethal snake bite in the program also becomes a lethal snake bite in reality. Willy Spino in Revelation when he first entered the Day Of Wonders program after it was hacked ran his virtual self finger on the blade of a guillotine in the program and ended up cutting his finger in reality.
It's possible that it may not be the programming of the Day Of Wonders that causes it to be that real, but actually the power of the Antichrist working within the program itself.
Man on Fire: Len Parker in Revelation ends up becoming this when he sees that God has supernaturally protected the believers who were put into the incinerator and decides that he will deal with them himself.
Mark of the Beast: This particular variation coming from being exposed to the Day Of Wonders virtual reality program.
Neutral No Longer: Helen Hannah's defense attorney Mitch Kendrick in Judgment hides behind a fake Mark of the Beast because he is unsure of whether to put his faith in Macalousso or Jesus Christ. However, near the end of the movie during the court proceedings, Mitch ends up becoming a believer, which causes him to be killed by his ex-lover and prosecutor Victoria Thorne (Jessica Steen).
Probably to underscore how supernaturally Crazy-Prepared the Antichrist and his forces are in taking over the world once the Rapture takes place. In the movie Tribulation, Macalousso's followers were seen already at work toward this end by testing out their psychic powers.
Not So Different: The Devil as Antichrist's claim to Helen Hannah in Tribulation that he is just like God. Helen refutes it by saying God loved the world and died for it, whereas the Devil wants people to die for him.
The Nudifier: Hinted at in Apocalypse when people are removed from their clothes during the Rapture. Strangely, though, their clothes are neatly folded in the spot where they once stood, instead of just lying in a disheveled heap as in Left Behind.
Off with His Head!: Those who refuse to take the Mark of the Beast when inside the Day of Wonders virtual reality program are subject to a virtual beheading, or in some cases another form of death like a lethal snake bite, which causes the victim to die in reality.
The Other Darrin: Sam Bornstein played Franco Macalousso in the first movie, which was later played by Nick Mancuso in the following movies.
Ouija Board: Jason Quincy (Howie Mandell) uses what is called the Tabarrok Board in the movie Tribulation in order to find out some things. Two of the answers he gets from it are Genesis 11:6 and "I AM".
Place of Protection: In Tribulation, Tom Canboro is being chased through a hospital by a One Nation Earth agent who uses his mind powers to close all doors in the hallway so his prey cannot escape — all except for one room that Tom enters, which turns out to be a chapel which provides for him a means of escape.
Poe's Law: Margot Kidder signed up for her role in the film thinking it was a parody of Christian Apocalypse stories.
Potty Failure: Young Calvin Canboro in Tribulation wets his pants while he and his brother Tom wait for Eileen to finish her prayer to God about the tree she carved their names into. Years later, Calvin can Never Live It Down.
Psychic-Assisted Suicide: A man under the mind control of future One Nation Earth agents in Tribulation is driven to throw himself out of the window of a high-rise apartment building after Tom Canboro prevents him from killing his wife, who is a Christian.
The same thing almost happens at the same time with Tom's brother-in-law Jason, except that he only falls out of a two-story house window.
Red Herring: Thorold Stone and his partner in Revelation are misdirected to a hideout of persecuted Christians who are blamed for the bombing of a school bus, when the job was really done by inside One Nation Earth agents under the employ of Len Parker in order to get the stolen Day Of Wonders program disk from the Christian cell group.
La Résistance: The Haters, which is One Nation Earth's name for underground groups of persecuted Christians during the Tribulation.
Reverse Mole: A One Nation Earth officer who infiltrates a Christian hideout in Tribulation and threatens to kill everyone in it ends up firing blanks and revealing himself to be on their side.
Rip Van Winkle: Tom Canboro (Gary Busey) in Tribulation wakes up several months into the Tribulation period after being in an automobile accident, complete with Time Passage Beard.
Say Your Prayers: Played with in Tribulation: As Helen Hannah says I Surrender, Suckers by allowing herself to be captured by One Nation Earth security forces, a tape of Jack Van Impe leading people in a prayer of salvation plays on the pirated airwaves right before her capture.
Spit Take: Tom Canboro in Tribulation when he tries to drink bad coffee at the hospital.
Stock Footage: The first movie uses a lot of it. Especially jarring are the scenes where the film's own footage of news reports or broadcasted speeches from the Antichrist are pasted into stock footage of large crowds watching big screens in public, since the footage quality drastically differs.
Talking to Himself: In-universe example, Len Parker voices Thorold Stone's wife and daughter through a walkie-talkie in order to deceive Stone into believing he has them in his custody. He even tells "them" to be quiet.
Techno Wizard: Willy Spino, the wheelbound-chair computer programmer in Revelation, is made out to be this, as he is able to make gadgets that can read human DNA through solid concrete walls. His virtual reality programs are so real that they are totally indistinguishable from reality, with the exception that you can't hurt yourself in them. Someone, however, decided to go a step further to make the Day Of Wonders program become real enough to hurt and kill people.
Thanatos Gambit: Helen Hannah allowing herself to be captured by the One Nation Earth forces so she could enter the Day Of Wonders program and expose the truth of it by wearing a contact lens camera. The Antichrist, however, spares her from death.
Time Passage Beard: In the movie Tribulation, Tom Canboro wakes up with a beard a few years into the Tribulation after being in a coma from a car accident.
Tower Of Babel: A model of the tower is used by future One Nation Earth agents preparing for the coming one-world order and its Religion of Evil in the movie Tribulation. It's also on the cover of Franco Macalousso's book Babel Becomes One.
Unperson / I Have No Son: In Tribulation, Eileen's brother claims he never had a sister, and she's even been removed from the family photos. It's likely that Calvin has been affected by the Mark of the Beast, causing him to forget her existence after she had taken up in the Rapture.
Earlier in the movie, Tom Canboro finds out that a fellow police officer who he knows is a Christian, Kenny Rice, is not listed in the police department's records after the Rapture.
With Us or Against Us: You're either on the side of believing Franco Macalousso is God or on the side of believing that Jesus Christ is God; There is no middle ground here!!!
A Wizard Did It: Franco Macalousso's proclamation of himself being the one who not only miraculously caused all the launched nukes to disappear, but was also behind the Rapture, claiming that those who disappeared were removed because they were obstacles to the goal of achieving world peace. Makes sense, as he proclaims himself to be God.
Some deaths in the movies have been miraculously undone, particularly with the Haters. Maybe it's because of God's hand.
You Can't Thwart Stage One: Despite Thorold Stone's efforts, the Day of Wonders program still shows up in full use during the Tribulation.
You Have Failed Me: A deleted scene from Judgment shows Franco Macalousso sending Victoria Thorne and the judge from the court case in the movie to an uncertain fate after failing to give him the desired verdict.
In Tribulation, Calvin Canboro was choked to death inside the Day Of Wonders program by the Antichrist's Digital Avatar when he failed to convert his brother.