The Mashin’ Of The Christ: Negativland Crucifies Religion

The art provocateurs and cut-up masters create a study of hypocritical religious brutality.

Back in 2004, Negativland – masters of the prank and provocation – decided to celebrate the release of Mel Gibson’s gore-drenched The Passion of the Christ with their own mash-up video featuring scenes from a plethora of Biblical epics, satires and children’s cartoons, concentrating on the final moments of Christ’s life (and the new secular religion of Communism) and allowing viewers to marvel at just how much Christianity fetishes pain and suffering. Backed with the band’s most (in)famous track, Christianity Is Stupid, the video is a display of the sort of torture and abuse of the sort that would be seen as gratuitous and offensive in any other context – very much the sort of thing that religious censors have long sought to remove from other movies. Of course, if you are a Christian, you’ll probably find this sacrilegious version  – or at least the song – much more gratuitous and offensive than any graphic crucifixion footage in a religious movie. Each to their own.

Those familiar with Negativland’s cut-up videos will have an idea of the information overload in store for viewers; newcomers are advised to sit back and settle down for a dramatic and powerful explosion of fast cuts and visual excess, where high camp and hardcore violence collide.

This version of the video – for reasons that are probably obvious in a world of copyright trolls – deletes the listing of source material that appears at the end of the original version. Here is the full list in chronological order.

From the Manger to the Cross (1912, Sidney Olcott)
Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ (1925, J.J. Cohn, Fred Niblo, Charles Brabin, Rex Ingram)
The King of Kings (1927, Cecil B. DeMille)
The Robe (1953, Henry Koster)
Ben-Hur (1959, William Wyler)
King of Kings (1961, Nicholas Ray)
Barabbas (1962, Richard Fleischer)
Shake Up In The Kremlin (1963, King Features)
The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964, Pier Paolo Pasolini)
Greatest Story Ever Told (1965, George Stevens)
Home Front 1917-1919: War Transforms American Life (1966, Encyclopaedia Britannica Educational Corp.)
A Clockwork Orange (1971, Stanley Kubrick)
If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do? (1971, Rev. Estus W. Pirkle)
The Ruling Class (1972, Peter Medak)
The Holy Mountain (1973, Alejandro Jodorowsky)
Jesus Christ Superstar (1973, Norman Jewison)
Jesus of Nazareth (1977, Franco Zeffirelli)
Leonid Brezhnev: The Rise to the Top (1977, Hearst Metrotone News)
Jesus (1979, John Krish and Peter Sykes)
La Vida de Nuestro Senor Jesucristo (1986, Rafael Gil)
Christianity Is Stupid (1987, Negativland)
Jesus and His Times (1987, Kaari Ward and Readers Digest)
Children’s Bible Story: The Story of Jesus – The Resurrection (1988, director unknown)
The Last Temptation of Christ (1988, Martin Scorsese)
The Easter Story (1989, Don Lusk)
Jesus (1999, Roger Young)
The Life of Jesus the Revolutionary (1999, Robert Marcarelli)
Mary, Mother of Jesus (1999, Kevin Connor)
Jesus Christ Superstar 2000 (2000, Gale Edwards and Nick Morris)
The Miracle Maker (2000, Derek W. Hayes and Stanislav Sokolov)
Live Out Loud (2001, Steven Curtis Chapman)
The Story of Jesus for Children (2002, director unknown)
The Passion of the Christ (2004, Mel Gibson)

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