GenreSci-Fi, Thriller Music directorRichard A. Girvin CountryUnited States
WriterDonald W. Thompson (story), Russell S. Doughten Jr. (story) Film seriesA Thief in the Night Film Series CastPatty Dunning (Patty Myers), Russell S Doughton Jr (Reverend Matthew Turner), Maryann Rachford (Diane Bradford), Tom Rachford (Jerry Bradford), William Wellman Jr (David Michaels) Similar moviesTomorrowland, 2012, The World's End, The Matrix Revolutions, The Book of Eli, World War Z
TaglineThis prophetic series began with
Image of the Beast is a 1981 film by Russell S. Doughten and directed by Donald M. Thompson. It is part of a series of four films popular in evangelical Christian groups, dealing with the subject of bible prophecy. The film is an account of the rise of the antichrist, who establishes a world government and forces everybody to take the mark of the beast. A handful of Christians refuse to take the mark and try to survive living apart from society.
The film picks up where A Distant Thunder left off. Patty Myers (played by Patty Dunning) is faced with the decision to either accept the mark of the beast or lose her head. The soldiers strap her to the guillotine, but then flee due to a sudden earthquake. Left alone, Patty first screams that she wants the mark then screams for help, only to die anyway as the earthquake causes the blade to fall on its own. Nearby, a woman named Kathy (played by Susan Plumb) and David Michaels (played by William Wellman Jr.) have just escaped a government detention center during the earthquake along with Kathy's young son Billy, and another woman named Leslie (played by Wenda Shereos).
The group evades the soldiers of the government, called UNITE (United Nations Imperium for Total Emergency). Kathy, David, and Billy become separated from Leslie (with whom David reunites later) when a UNITE soldier shoots her below the shoulder, and David leaves her lying on the ground believing her to be dead. The trio eventually meets up with the Rev. Matthew Turner (played by Russell Doughten). By this time Rev. Turner's church has been forced to close by the government, and he is living underground as a survivalist.
Kathy and David attempt to use their knowledge of computers to create a fake "mark of the beast" which will allow them to move about freely in society; David rationalizes this by saying they are not taking the real mark. Kathy also finds the mark morally questionable, but David convinces her that they have no choice. The fake mark allows Kathy and David to move about freely through checkpoints where guards are checking people to make sure they have the mark, but when they attempt to use it to buy groceries, the plan falls through.
Meanwhile, the Bible prophecies in the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation, as explained by the Rev. Turner, begin coming to pass. A new world leader is installed who speaks to the world through a computer-generated image broadcast on television. Earthquakes, wildfires, and a nuclear war occur. Eventually, David reunites with Leslie, and they are set up by, of all people, Sandy. Initially frustrated in her attempts to hack the mark, Kathy eventually realizes that the barcode system itself is the source code for the mark.
Unfortunately, Kathy is discovered by Dianne, who tries to arrest her. Dianne is attacked by a giant locust, and while Kathy flees, she is stung. We do not know what becomes of her after that, though David later implied (in The Prodigal Planet) that she died. Turner is also stung. Billy is arrested, and locked up with Leslie and David, then Leslie leads him to Christ before she is sent to be executed. The guards want David to convince Billy to take the mark, but after Billy tells David that Leslie led him to Christ, he instead tells Billy to close his eyes and put his faith in God. Both David and Billy are then faced with execution themselves.