The pulp action thriller “The 4th Beast” takes on the endtimes from a different perspective. “You aren’t going to see a bunch of people disappear if that’s what you’re expecting,” says director and Columbia College Chicago alum, Nathyn Brendan Masters. (He believes that the Rapture comes after the Tribulation.) “This film is more about explaining the endtimes.” Apocalypse movies are a popular genre that grabs the attention of secular viewers as well as Christians but Masters believes there’s more to the story than what’s been told. “A lot of people buy these films and books to be entertained but also to get information about the Revelation prophesies but most of these films and books only give half the story and they’re all saying the same thing. We try to really break the prophecies about the Antichrist down.”
Based on Steve Wohlberg’s book End Time Delusions, an exposé on the Bible’s endtime prophecies, “The 4th Beast” revolves around an ex-army ranger, Daniel Abrams home from the “Shock and Awe” engagement. To ensure the safety of a disc, which contains information about the Antichrist, a priest enlists Daniel’s aid. The stakes are raised when two rogue upstart Vatican agents, the straight laced Sebastian and his borderline psychotic commanding officer Delilah come to retrieve to the disk for their own purposes.
The film’s action oriented theme and production has raised eyebrows, but producer John Rogers is confident in his directing abilities. “Nathyn does action.” Says Rogers. “This is his first feature film so why should he try to produce something he may be decent at as opposed to something I know he’s great at.”
Some have compared it to the Matrix because of its stylishly dressed, dark suited shade sporting agents and martial arts scene and gunfights. “That’s fine. I like The Matrix, although it should be known Asian action cinema is where the Matrix, like myself, ripped most its influence.” Says Masters, “The stylish clothes, the wire work. It all came before the Matrix not after. And there’s no wire-fu here. This is all straight on the ground action.”
Master’s secular martial arts action film and staring vehicle, “Silvergun Samurai,” was pushed back so he could produce this film. He was also going to star in it but decided not to. “I felt it would be better if I worked on production versus trying to act and produce. This is something special so I wanted to get it right and didn’t feel the cinematographers I knew would shoot it the way I would.”
Feeling distributors would want to make changes taking away the effect of the Biblical content Masters has decided to keep his production independent with plans to distribute the film from his website until he finds a distributor who he can be sure won’t change the impact of the film’s message.
The film is slated for summer release (2004) and stars Jon Ross, Joelly Mejia, Katie Getty, Jason Walsh, and Vanita Nickole, with appearances by Chicago theater actors Michael MacRae and Glenn Dhont.
“The 4th Beast: Mask of the Antichrist,” is currently shooting on location in Chicago (March 2004). Masters and his Chicago based production company, TimeCode Mechanics are heading up the project. The film is being financed out of pocket and through donations. Updates on the film can be seen at the Web site www.the4thbeast.com.