End of Days (film)

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End of Days
End of days ver5.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Peter Hyams
Produced by Armyan Bernstein
Bill Borden
Thomas Bliss
Written by Andrew W. Marlowe
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger
Gabriel Byrne
Kevin Pollak
Robin Tunney
Rod Steiger
Music by John Debney
Cinematography Peter Hyams
Edited by Steven Kemper
Production
company
Distributed by Universal Pictures (US)
Buena Vista International (non-US)
Release dates
November 16, 1999 (Premiere)
November 24, 1999 (Theatrical)
Running time
123 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $80 million
Box office $211.9 million[1]

End of Days is a 1999 American action fantasy horror thriller film directed by Peter Hyams starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gabriel Byrne, Robin Tunney, Kevin Pollak, Rod Steiger, CCH Pounder, and Udo Kier.[2]

Plot[edit]

In 1979, a priest in the Vatican witnesses a comet arching over the moon, described as the "Eye of God", heralding the birth of the one chosen to be the mother of the child of Satan. The priest is sent on a mission by the Pope to find and protect the girl from Satan at all costs. However, a few Vatican Knights (led by a corrupted cardinal) insist that she must be killed to prevent Satan's plans. Meanwhile, in New York City, a newborn girl named Christine York is identified by Satanists—including her physician, Dr. Abel, and her nurse and future guardian, Mabel—as the one chosen to bear Satan's child during the last hour on New Year's Eve, 1999. The Satanists practice occult rites on the newborn.

Twenty years later, near the end of 1999, Satan emerges from hell and possesses an unnamed investment banker in a restaurant. Satan then destroys the restaurant, killing many people inside.

Suicidal and alcoholic ex-cop Jericho Cane, in a constant state of depression since his wife and daughter were murdered by hit-men, works for security company Striker. He and his co-worker Bobby Chicago are assigned to protect the possessed banker. A priest, Thomas Aquinas, attempts to kill the banker but fails. Jericho pursues and captures him, but not before he tells Jericho that “the thousand years has ended, the dark angel is loosed from his prison.” He also mentions a girl being central to this. Jericho shoots and incapacitates Aquinas, who is arrested by the New York Police Department (NYPD). Marge Francis, an NYPD detective who knew Jericho when he was a cop, challenges his claim that Aquinas spoke as he has no tongue.

Jericho and Bobby begin investigating the case on their own. They learn that Aquinas was a priest trained at the Vatican, and that he was sent to New York and recently disappeared. Jericho questions Father Kovak, a priest who knew Aquinas. Kovak asks if Jericho believes in God and Jericho says he has not since his family died; Kovak tells Jericho that Aquinas was driven mad by forces that an atheist cannot understand. The two travel to Aquinas’ apartment where they find his self-severed tongue in a jar, along with messages and symbols written in what appears to be blood on the walls. Police including Marge arrive and make the two leave before they can investigate further. Satan infiltrates the hospital where Aquinas is being held, aided by a Satanic cop, and crucifies him on the ceiling. He survives this but is shot by the cop. Jericho and Chicago see Latin text and the words “Christ in New York” scratched into Aquinas' skin and begin searching for Christine York, who they believe is the girl Aquinas previously referenced.

Jericho and Chicago find the now-adult York in her apartment. They save her from a group of Vatican Knights who attempt to assassinate her to prevent Satan from having a child with her. That evening, Chicago and Jericho stakeout Christine’s home. Mabel is instructed to bring Christine to Satan but says she cannot because she would be followed to their temple. Eventually, Jericho goes inside to talk to Christine. Satan destroys the van, killing Chicago. As Jericho and Christine try to flee, Mabel tries to stop them, but Jericho subdues her. Satan enters the house and kills Mabel for failing him, while Jericho and Christine escape. Outside, Marge and another officer—both Satanists—confront him, demanding he hand over Christine. Jericho kills them both, but Satan resurrects Marge for her usefulness as an NYPD detective to have the police search for Jericho and Christine, who have gone to Father Kovak’s church. Kovak explains to Jericho and Christine that Satan must impregnate Christine between 11:00 and 12:00 the next night in order to usher in the ”end of days”. Kovak offers to protect her, as Satan cannot enter a church; Christine agrees to remain with Kovak.

Jericho discovers that Satan has infiltrated his apartment. Satan shows him a vision of his family being murdered and blames God for their loss. He tells Jericho that he will return his family to him if Jericho tells him where Christine is. Jericho refuses. The two fight and Jericho throws Satan out of his apartment window. Chicago soon shows up, alive and well. Despite Jericho's initial suspicion, they make a plan to retrieve Christine and Jericho tells Bobby where Christine is.

At the church, the corrupted cardinal and his knights arrive and try to kill Christine again, but are stopped by Jericho. Satan then appears, revealing that he is able to enter churches. Jericho and Christine flee while Satan kills the cardinal, the knights, and various other clergy. Jericho and Christine arrive outside and find Chicago waiting with a car. Chicago then betrays the two, leaving with Christine while Jericho is beaten by a mob of Satanists, crucified and left for dead. The next morning, Jericho is found and rescued by Kovak. He wakes up in the church at 7:00 on the last day of 1999, with just a few days before Satan will reproduce. Jericho goes to the Striker office where he arms himself, and uses a computer to find the location of the car Chicago was driving. He travels to this location, where he discovers a Satanic temple. There, he manages to rescue Christine and kill Marge for the second time. Chicago steps in to stop Jericho, revealing that Satan resurrected him in exchange for his help capturing Christine. He manages to fight off Satan's influence after some persuasion by his friend; in retaliation, Satan burns him alive. Enraged, Jericho opens fire on Satan and escapes with Christine.

The two make their way through Satan's hideout and into a subway tunnel. They board a train but Satan catches up with them and kills the driver. In the ensuing fight, Jericho fires a grenade launcher at Satan, wrecking the train and buying them time to escape. The banker's body is now irreparably damaged, and Satan leaves it to find a new host.

Jericho and Christine escape to the streets and into another church where he prays to God to help him fight Satan. Satan smashes through the floor and confronts Jericho in his true form: a massive, winged, demonic creature. He enters Jericho's body and possesses him. Now controlled by Satan, Jericho attempts to rape Christine, but with the help of her begging words, he is able to fight Satan's control for a few seconds. Using his last opportunity to redeem himself, Jericho impales himself on the sword protruding from a fallen statue of Saint Michael The Archangel, thus disabling his body for the few remaining seconds before midnight. At the stroke of midnight beginning the year 2000, the will of God frees Jericho's body and sends Satan back to the depths of Hell for the next thousand years. After being granted a vision of his wife and daughter smiling and waiting for him on the "other side," Jericho dies contented. Christine thanks him for saving her life as she holds onto him one last time.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Sam Raimi and Guillermo del Toro were originally offered to direct End of Days, but both turned it down as they were busy with other projects. Marcus Nispel was set to helm the movie, but he left due to problems with both the budget and the script, and Peter Hyams immediately replaced him.

The role of Jericho Cane was originally written for Tom Cruise, but he passed as he instead chose to work on Magnolia and Arnold Schwarzenegger was then cast. Liv Tyler was the first choice for the role of Christine York, but she backed out over contractual issues. Kate Winslet was initially set to play the character, but she dropped out and Robin Tunney signed on to replace her.

Peter Hyams later recalled:

Jim Cameron was the kind of godfather of me doing that film, because of his relationship with Schwarzenegger. He told me I was doing it!... End Of Days was going to be Marcus Nispel, but it wasn’t working somehow, but they had Arnold and a start date, and Jim came to me and told me I had to do it. This was the first picture Arnold had made for a couple of years. I think he had a heart thing. So this was Arnold coming back. And he wanted to try to make something good, and to take some chances. I applauded that. And we had very, very good actors around him, like Gabriel Byrne and Kevin Pollak and Rod Steiger. It was a very enjoyable experience. Half way through shooting I told Arnold I thought he should die in this movie. Of course Universal blanched at the idea, so I shot the ending both ways, and everybody agreed that the dying ending was the better one.[3]

Alternate ending was filmed in which Jericho resurrects after impaling himself on the sword of the statue and then leaves the church with Christine. Test audience preferred ending where Jericho dies. Even though "resurrection" ending was never released, it was used in novelization of the movie. [4]

Reception[edit]

The film received mostly negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an overall approval rating of 11%, based on 99 critics. On Metacritic, the film holds an average score of 33, based on 33 critics. It grossed $66,889,043 in the U.S. and around $212,000,000 worldwide,[1] against a budget estimated to be between $80 million and $100 million. The film was profitable only because of its strong international numbers and DVD sales, but its final numbers were not what Universal Studios had hoped for. Schwarzenegger received a salary of $25 million for his lead role in the film.[5]

The film was nominated for three Razzie Awards including Worst Actor (Arnold Schwarzenegger), Worst Supporting Actor (Gabriel Byrne) and Worst Director, and was a pre-nominee for Worst Picture, but was removed shortly before the actual awards ceremony.

Soundtrack[edit]

End of Days Original Movie Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released November 2, 1999
Genre Alternative metal, industrial rock, nu metal, hardcore hip hop
Label Geffen
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 1.5/5 stars[6]
Entertainment Weekly B+[7]

The soundtrack to the film contained, for the most part, tracks by alternative metal and industrial rock bands. It also contains the first song to be released by the "new line-up" of Guns N' Roses, the industrial rock track "Oh My God". During the editing of the film, soundtrack selections were cut into the movie in a manner that none of the songs were left out, which meant overlaying songs in scenes that are typically silent in most thriller films. In several scenes we can hear a sample from the sounds library of Spectrasonics' "Symphony Of Voices".

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Performer(s) Length
1. "Camel Song"   Korn 4:21
2. "So Long"   Everlast 5:00
3. "Slow"   Professional Murder Music 3:58
4. "Crushed"   Limp Bizkit 3:24
5. "Oh My God"   Guns N' Roses 3:40
6. "Poison"   The Prodigy 6:15
7. "Superbeast" (Girl On a Motorcycle Mix) Rob Zombie 3:51
8. "Bad Influence"   Eminem 3:40
9. "Nobody's Real"   Powerman 5000 2:54
10. "I Wish I Had"   Stroke 6:34
11. "Sugar Kane"   Sonic Youth 5:58
12. "Wrong Way"   Creed 4:19

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]