Based in Park City, Utah, Sunn Classics produced and distributed big hits, such as THE LINCOLN CONSPIRACY (which posited that, among other things, John Wilkes Booth’s death was faked by anti-Reconstruction government forces) and IN SEARCH OF NOAH’S ARK. Certainly it was that movie’s success and the then-trendy Shroud of Turin controversy that spurred the production of 1980’s IN SEARCH OF HISTORIC JESUS, a corny, cheap-looking laugh riot that nonetheless earned big box office.
John Rubinstein (CRAZY LIKE A FOX) portrays Jesus wearing a comically fake beard, who looks to a cloudy blue sky to receive marching orders from God (voiced by Peter Mark Richman!). He wanders about, placing his hands on the faces of lepers (wearing atrocious makeup), which makes their faces glow with cartoon animation. He calls for the resurrected Lazarus, who emerges from a cave looking fresh as the morning dew. He walks on water and makes storms go away just by placing his palms together. After his crucifixion, he appears to his disciples in an animated starburst like a sitcom genie.
Brad Crandall, whose deep voice is instantly recognizable as the narrator of the studio’s trailers and films, hosts this “documentary” with pomposity, dressed alternately in a three-piece suit or V-neck sweater and showing off impressions of the Shroud of Turin in his wood-paneled library. His “evidence” consists of passing off gospel and random musings as fact. One “expert” claims Jesus’ corpse released a burst of radiation to scorch the Shroud. . . .
Here is a too long one minute trailer: