Russell S. Doughten Jr. died last week (Monday, Aug. 19) in Carlisle, Iowa, after a kidney ailment. He was 86.
His signature film, A Thief in the Night, was a "radical new way of making a Christian film" when it debuted in 1973, combining "religious themes with the chills of a horror film." CT recently examined how the movie "left scores of people wondering if they'd survive the Rapture."
Doughten also produced secular films, including 1958's The Blob starring Steve McQueen, but was "best known for his four-part film series about what life on Earth might be like after the Rapture," reports the Associated Press.
His production company claims A Thief in the Night has been "seen by more than 300 million people worldwide, and viewings led more than 1 million to deepen their Christian faith," reports the Des Moines Register.
The Baptist Bulletin offers a lengthy tribute, including this quote:
"People generally have one of two reactions to the prophecy films," Doughten once told a researcher. "Either people are scared to death and tell themselves it isn't real, or they say, 'Forget it, nothing like that could ever be.' But the Bible is true, and this is what the Bible says."