Ticket to Heaven
|Ticket to Heaven|
|Directed by||Ralph L. Thomas|
|Produced by||Alan Simmonds |
|Written by||Josh Freed |
Ralph L. Thomas
|Music by||Micky Erbe|
|Edited by||Ron Wisman|
|Distributed by||Miracle Films Ltd (Canada), United Artists (US and other nations)|
Ticket to Heaven is a 1981 Canadian drama film directed by directed by Ralph L. Thomas and starring Nick Mancuso, Saul Rubinek, Meg Foster, Kim Cattrall, and Christopher Britton. The plot concerns the recruiting of a man into a group portrayed to be a cult, and his life in the group until forcibly extracted by his family and friends. The film was based on the nonfiction book Moonwebs by Josh Freed.
Following a relationship breakup, David Kappel (Nick Mancuso), a twentysomething school teacher, visits a training camp for a religious cult. At the camp, everything is done in groups, along with much singing. There is also a low-calorie, low-protein diet; sleep deprivation; constant positive reinforcement; and chanting of slogans.
All of the elements of the camp begin to have an effect on David mentally. He graduates and is put to work as a volunteer laborer for the cult. In an especially powerful scene he vomits up a hamburger and milkshake which he had just eaten in violation of cult dietary guidelines.
David sets out to work, led by cult leader Patrick (Robert Joy). David is shocked when Patrick lies to a customer but Patrick explains that they are only "using Satan's methods to do God's work", and that it is okay because "it's only Satan's money we're taking."
David's best friend Larry (Saul Rubinek) and his parents, Morely (Paul Soles) and Esther (Marcia Diamond), are concerned about him. Larry visits the cult's camp and almost falls under their influence. He escapes with the help of Eric, a fellow camp prospect who befriends him. The latter has been visiting various cult camps, trying to find his sister. Once free, Larry returns home.
David's parents, Larry, Eric, and some other friends enlist the aid of a deprogrammer, Linc Strunc (R.H. Thomson), and arrange for his kidnapping. David is isolated and after some struggle is convinced of the cult's dishonesty and mistreatment. He is confused and when he asks of "true love", he is told that he only needs to look around him: at Larry, Danny, Sarah, his parents, and everything they've done for him, and still are enduring for him. Crying, he embraces them all. Everyone reunites and embraces outside Mrs. Foster's house.
The film was selected as one of the top ten films of 1981 by the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. Roger Ebert gave the film three and a half out of four stars, but added that the ending was less interesting and powerful than the cult indoctrination scenes which came before. Janet Maslin of The New York Times called it "an absorbing, frightening, entirely believable movie, which is particularly amazing in view of its subject matter."
Ticket to Heaven was nominated for fourteen 1982 Genie Awards, and won four :
- Staff. "Box office business for Ticket to Heaven (1981)". IMDB. Retrieved 2007-11-23.
- Ebert, Roger (January 1, 1981). "Ticket to Heaven, Review". Chicago Sun-Times. rogerebert.suntimes.com. Retrieved 2007-11-23.
- Maslin, Janet (November 13, 1981). "'Ticket to Heaven,' A Sleeper About Cults". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2009-12-12.