Today, I’ll be recapping the late 1990s Nollywood horror movie, Mark of the Beast.
Once upon a time, an insane Christian book that claimed the devil created football as a tool to destroy humanity trended on the internet. I did the dirty work of actually reading and recapping it. The article was so popular that I decided to make my recaps into a weekly series named “So You Don’t Have To“, where I find batshit crazy pieces of media (books, movies, etc) and recap them for your pleasure.
You can tell, based on her facial expression, that Genevieve was serving premium sass in whatever scene that screenshot was taken from.
I watched this movie for the first time when I was 8-years-old and spent the next few years blocking it out because it was too terrifying. The only memory I had of it until recently was the scene of a pastor being yelled at by a rotund and particularly rude serving of pounded yam; a memory I most likely held on to because it’s funny as shit. Anyway, I was at my birthday dinner on the 18th of January 2022 when I encountered this tweet:
And just like that, all the horrifying parts of the movie I’d worked so hard to forget came rushing back, causing me to scream and fall to my knees in the toilet of the restaurant where my birthday dinner was taking place. After the mini-breakdown, I figured that this film would make a good “So You Don’t Have To” entry, so here we are.
The movie starts with a woman in the hospital giving birth. After struggling for a bit, the baby is born. The doctor (Segun Arinze) says, “Congratulations. You’ve delivered a bouncing baby boy,” and hands the still bloody baby to the mother. When the mother opens her eyes, she sees the doctor as this…
…and sees her baby as this:
Homegirl is understandably horrified by all this and proceeds to die of shock.
As this is happening, a man named Chief Modupe (Enebeli Elebuwa), flanked on both sides of his head by a pair of incredibly unsettling sideburns, is sitting in his living room and watching TV. A breaking news broadcast comes on, anchored by a woman wearing what appears to be a Golden Girls Halloween wig.
The lights in Chief Modupe’s house flicker, causing his heavily pregnant wife, Mrs Modupe (Ngozi Ezeonu), to slip and fall in the bathroom. After getting her to the hospital, Chief Modupe learns from the doctor — the same one that delivered the baby in the opening scene — that Mrs Modupe’s fall SOMEHOW ruptured her uterus, killed the baby in her belly, and destroyed her womb. The prognosis is that she’ll never again be able to conceive.
Chief Modupe is distraught and about to ugly cry when the Doctor suggests that Chief Modupe adopt the baby born in the opening scene and pass it off to his wife as the one that was in her belly.
Chief Modupe takes the child and names him, Chris.
Ten years later, Chris has grown to be a creepy precocious child. Mrs Modupe walks into his bedroom one night and finds some scary drawings he’s made.
She’s about to dismiss it as something he probably picked up from a movie or video game until she looks at his face and sees this:
We later see Chris having a Zoom meeting with Lucifer in his room. It’s revealed that the reason Chris looked like a demon piglet at the time of his birth is that he’s the literal spawn of Satan. Satan tattoos Chris’ forehead with the mark of the beast (666) and sends him into the world to win souls for hell.
Because of what she saw in Chris’ room, Mrs Modupe becomes terrified of Chris. Chris picks up on this and proceeds to fuck with her mind by infiltrating her dreams and turning them into nightmares. Like this one:
Any time Mrs Modupe tries to tell her husband what’s happening, Chris wipes her memory with magic. After months of torture, Chris kills her by making her stab herself in the chest with a long-ass kitchen knife.
Twenty years pass. Chris has taken over his father’s vague business is now being played by a man that looks like a Christ Embassy youth pastor.
Actor: Charles Sadiq-Waran
And it’s revealed that the doctor who helped deliver Chris as a baby and convinced the Modupes the adopt him knows about Chris’ origin and is a soldier of Satan.
OVER ONE HOUR INTO THE MOVIE, a pair of siblings named Mike (Joe Nwodo) and Nene (Genevieve Nnaji) sashay into the story. The first time we see them, they’re at a hospital visiting their chronically ill mother, who’s going in for surgery and is not sure she’s going to survive.
And she’s right. She dies during surgery and the children are emotionally wrecked. Mike decides that God has called him to fight the anti-christ so he quits his job and starts a church. He and Nene are driving down a road one day when they witness a group of armed robbers attempt to rob Chris. Chris steps out of his car and does this:
Which makes the armed robbers go:
When the robbers flee, Mike and Nene go to check if Chris is ok. Even though he’s acting like you’d expect the anti-christ in an old Nollywood movie to act (weird and rude), they insist on being friends with him and invite him to their church. He agrees to attend and makes the decision to start messing with them like he did his mother.
Mike is in bed one night, wearing the pyjamas Nene bought him and reading the bible when the spirit of konji rears its head. He starts rubbing his penis and gets the disgusting idea to go have sex with his Nene, HIS SISTER. So he sneaks into her room and proceeds to grab her boob…
…but comes to his senses before actually doing anything. Meanwhile, Chris finds out that Nene is a virgin and spiritually sexes her up in a dream. She starts hanging out with Chris more and acting out until Mike notices something is not right with her and initiates a surprise deliverance session.
We find out that the night Chris was born, so were six others around the world; one for each continent. Their job is to get as many souls as possible for hell from their respective continents. Satan gathers all seven of them for an all-hands meeting to track their progress. Here’s a picture of all of them.
It tickles me greatly to see that they’re all light-skinned.
Chris reveals that he’s been using his business to recruit more souls by infusing the following things with soul-binding dark magic:
- Video games
- Fast food
- Second hand clothes (remeber this one)
- THE FREAKING INTERNET (keep in mind this movie was made in the late 1990s and the internet wasn’t mainstream in Nigeria yet so there were still conspiracy theories surroudning it)
Mike is getting ready for bed another night when he puts on the pyjamas Nene bought him and gets the urge to bump genitals with her again. Somehow coming to the conclusion that the pyjamas are the problem (sure, he’s right but that was an insane mental leap he took), he takes it off and burns it. He then goes to his sister and is like:
Chris amps up his attempts to fuck up Mike and Nene’s lives. And that’s what leads us to the iconic talking pounded yam scene. Nene makes pounded yam for dinner one night and as Mike blesses the food, the pounded yam goes:
Mike and Nene join forces to vanquish the demonic pounded yam. This experience makes them organise a night vigil at their church, which Chris attends for some reason. When a priest (don’t ask why a catholic priest is at a pentecostal night vigil) starts throwing holy water over all the people present, a drop of it touches Chris and this comes out of Chris’ body:
And everyone lives happily ever after.