January 20, 2021, marked the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States Joe Bidden, and the end of the infamous Trump Era. For the days to come, historians will have an inexhaustible source of controversy from the former president to properly analyze and contextualize.
For us moviegoers, the dubious legacy of the Trump Era is a series of absurd and almost unbelievable pro-Trump films, in which the former President of the United States is often represented as a big badass hero, sometimes even as God’s envoy to Earth!
In short, something so ridiculous that the guys from the Spanish site CineCutre called it Trumpsploitation!
Many of these movies are obviously obscure, almost-amateurish productions, ignored even during the Trump Era. However, they will continue to exist now that Trump is gone, and can serve as a bizarre relic to remind humanity of how pathetic the cult of leaders can be.
The Trump Prophecy (2018)
This film sounds even more embarrassing because it is based on a supposed real story. Mark Taylor, a retired Orlando-based firefighter, swears that on April 28, 2011, while listening to a television interview with then businessman Donald Trump, he heard God say: “You’re hearing the voice of a president”. After the 2016 election, Taylor decided to write a book about his experience: “The Trump Prophecies: The Astonishing True Story of the Man Who Saw Tomorrow… and What He Says is Coming Next”.
Seeing some potential in this absurd premise, some guys from Liberty University (a private evangelical Christian school in Virginia) decided to make an adaptation of the book, with a screenplay by Rick Eldridge and Jimmy Hager. Stephan Schultze directed it (in better times, this guy worked on the special effects team for the first two “Tremors”!).
In “The Trump Prophecy”, Chris Nelson plays Mark Taylor, a Christian firefighter who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after failing to save a boy from a fire. In April 2011, he is told by God that Donald Trump would one day become president of the United States.
This initiates a national prayer chain on the eve of the 2016 election, to try to achieve God’s wish of Trump becoming president come true. Yeah, it’s basically a remake of “Pay It Forward” with Trump in place of good deeds and no Haley Joel Osment (thank God, it’s the best news so far).
If it weren’t absurd (and embarrassing) enough, the message is even dangerous: the film defends the idea that God chose Donald Trump as his representative on Earth, but it doesn’t go so far as to say anything positive about him, nor explain why Trump would be a good president. The only argument is “some guy claims that it was God’s will”!
“The Trump Prophecy” was shown in movie theaters only for two days in October 2018. At the time, producers denied any political motive behind the film (really?), although “The Trump Prophecy” is political propaganda from the title to the poster. The movie even ends with interviews with conservative “celebrities”, like Michelle Bachman.
While it’s easy to find a copy on DVD or streaming platforms, and although it is one of those so-bad-is-fun projects, everything you really need to know about “The Trump Prophecy” is in the trailer.
Hearts are Trump (2020)
Donald James Parker is a retired computer programmer who decided to preach the word of God, first through his own publisher (called Sword of the Spirit Publishing), then writing, producing, directing, and sometimes even starring in very low-budget films with Christian messages (“Gramps Goes to College”, for example, is a drama about an old believer who decides to go back to school to question the theory of evolution!).
So it’s absolutely no surprise that this multifaceted artist’s latest project is a pro-Trump drama. According to the official synopsis, “Hearts are Trump” is about three generations of a white family and two generations of a black family whose lives intersect linked by racial and political tensions.
“Minds are changed as information and hearts are sifted and logic and common sense applied to determining the truth in a vast ocean of emotionalism, information, misinformation, and disinformation”, concludes the synopsis. Whatever you say, man!
The film premiered on the internet in October 2020 (it can be rented on Vimeo On-Demand for 4 dollars), but it had no repercussion at all. Again, everything you need to know about the film is in the trailer, which even shows one of the characters mocking Black Lives Matter.
But if you’re still in doubt about the general message of the movie, take a look at it’s official Twitter, filled with alarmist posts about the terrible things that will happen if Trump was not re-elected.
Donald Trump: The Chosen (2020)
Okay, from here things start to get really bizarre…
Wilfredo Torres is a retired Correction Officer who recently became the director, producer, and actor of low-budget productions for his own company, Connected Films.
“Donald Trump: The Chosen”, his latest project, is an action film that puts together the coronavirus pandemic and Trump’s reelection campaign in the same plot. Oh, and also vigilantism!
In the story, the President of the United States decides to do everything in his power to protect the good American people. As the official synopsis announces: “Humanity is facing two deadly pandemics — the coronavirus outbreak and violent career criminals being released from prisons”.
So, Trump (played by Thomas Mundy) decides to fight crime by implementing the so-called Operation Mindset, which is a secret society formed by vigilantes to hunt and execute criminals following the president’s direct orders!
Despite the disgusting message and the horrific title (with messianic pretensions), “Donald Trump: The Chosen” is just the thousandth variation of “Death Wish” or “The Punisher”.
The biggest problem here is facing the director-writer-actor defending the pure and simple execution of criminals following orders from the president, something that goes beyond fiction: the producers even posted a visibly fake video on YouTube showing Torres being “attacked by Antifas” during the premiere of the film, and the star reacting with punches and blows like a poor version of Chuck Norris!
The official synopsis also says: “Donald Trump has been empowered by a higher means and was chosen as a leader to find a cure to save millions of lives before it’s too late. (…) He stands to protect the innocent, the vulnerable, and the weak from all walks of life. We the people from all over the world must unite together as one and support the man that will implement laws to protect everyone who is being victimized”.
I really can’t decide if this is funny or scary…
Trump vs the Illuminati (2020)
Probably one of the best movie titles in history, along with “Plan 9 From Outer Space” and “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes”. But that’s not all: the script, which seems to have been written under the influence of drugs, mixes so many characters and situations that border on the surreal.
Let’s see: in the future, after a nuclear apocalypse that destroyed the Earth, a Chinese clone (!!!) of President Donald Trump escapes the destruction of the planet and arrives on Mars! There, the famous occultist Alistair Crowley leads the Illuminati, with the help of Egyptian god Anubis! They fear an ancient prophecy that says Trump will appear to defeat them! Meanwhile, Trump’s clone is recruited by citizens of Atlantis (!!!) to go to hell and fight the Devil himself! Does it seem demented enough? Well, there are also descendants of Van Helsing and Dr. Jekyll!
Considering that we are talking about an independent, low budget production — far from Pixar’s standard — , CGI artwork is well done and even impressive here and there.
But what stands out is how little the protagonist Trump really appears. The character is voiced by Timothy Banfield, who mimics the former president’s voice reasonably well, but the character’s face is almost always covered by the astronaut helmet he wears (perhaps to save time and money on the animation of a person’s facial expressions).
Unfortunately, “Trump vs the Illuminati” is more awkward and bizarre than properly funny or entertaining.
In fact, it’s never clear whether the decision to put Donald Trump as a hero is a joke or something to be taken seriously since the character gains heroic overtones, is presented as a badass, and seems much more intelligent than the original — a reviewer even wrote that he sounds “more reasoned and reasonable than the real Trump”.
A clue to whether it’s a satire or not is in the credits: the film was written, directed, and edited by a guy who identifies himself as BC Fourteen, who’s been involved in several pro-Trump documentaries like “Trumpocalypse Now!”, “One Nation Under Trump” and “Trump vs. Clinton: Clash of the Titans”.
President Evil (2018)
Although not a pro-Trump film, “President Evil” epitomizes the former president’s fame as intolerant (as many of his supporters) and can be seen as a summary without any subtlety of the Trump Era.
Director Richard Lowry and his co-writer Gregory P. Wolk created a satire on John Carpenter’s “Halloween” (1978), with a psychopath dressed as Donald Trump in place of well-known Michael Myers. As I said, things aren’t subtle: the murderer’s weapon is a huge knife in the colors of the United States flag!
Following closely the plot of Carpenter’s film, “President Evil” shows the psychopath fleeing a mental hospital and committing murders in a small town on Halloween night.
His victims are the same minorities attacked by the real Trump (and many of his supporters) in real life: a Muslim girl, an illegal Mexican immigrant, and a war hero who’s also a trans-male.
Some jokes with the universe of slasher films are fun (although they’re not new anymore), and the villain’s look is as scary as the real Donald Trump: business suit with a red tie, Trump rubber mask, and even that ridiculous toupee.
Unfortunately, it’s the type of project that would work best as a short film or skit. The satirical humor loses its breath in an 80-minute feature, and the jokes are not that funny — not even the countless references to members of the Trump Administration, like a creepy pedophile priest named… Father Guiliani!
But you’ll probably have more fun watching just the trailer.
George Orwell said that “History is written by the winners”. This may explain the number of “documentaries” released during the Trump Era: for each serious project on the topic (like Carolina Sosa’s “Trumphobia: What Both Sides Fear”), there are two or three which are nothing more than political propaganda — and poorly done.
Take the case of “Death of a Nation” (2018), written and directed by Dinesh D’Souza, and based on his own books “Death of a Nation: Plantation Politics and the Making of the Democratic Party” and “The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left”.
Well, the documentary is exactly what is expected of D’Souza, whose credentials speak for themselves. Basically, it claims that Donald Trump is the modern-day equivalent of Abraham Lincoln and that Democrats are linked not only to Civil War and slavery but also to Nazism and Fascism. This includes historical reenactments from the 19th century and Nazi Germany that seems to have cost some money.
The same D’Souza returned in 2020 with “Trump Card”, a new documentary whose synopsis presents as follows: “An expose of the socialism, corruption, and gangsterization that now defines the Democratic Party. Whether it is the creeping socialism of Joe Biden or the overt socialism of Bernie Sanders, the film reveals what is unique about modern socialism, who is behind it, why it’s evil, and how we can work together with President Trump to stop it”.
Well, it looks like it didn’t work, despite all of D’Souza’s efforts…
Directed by Jim Gufferson (and written by the same BC Fourteen of “Trump vs. the Illuminati”), “One Nation Under Trump” (2016) is basically a collage of TV clips from Trump’s interviews and speeches, stitched around a narrative that tries to contextualize “the unstoppable Donald Trump revolution” (taken from the official synopsis). Although the pro-Trump content is evident, today it’s curious to analyze the film for the unfulfilled promises of the then-president-elect.
Other films by the tireless BC Fourteen are “Trumpocalypse Now!” (2017), which he also directs, and “Trump vs. Clinton: Clash of the Titans” (2016), which he just wrote for Doug Geoffrey to direct. Despite the sensational titles, these documentaries are just collages of news clips of the election or/and the first speeches of Donald Trump as president, without any contextualization or analytical insight.
Just released in 2020, “Trump 2024: The World After Trump”, by Dwight Thompson, is yet another Christian film that ignores all Donald Trump’s noticeable flaws as a human being to announce him as a kind of Messiah — the only one capable of saving America in the name of God! I quote a review of the documentary on Amazon Prime: “95% of the ‘experts’ are pastors and other religious figures. They pick and choose parts of the Bible and interpret them in their own ways to make Trump look like he was chosen by God”.