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I'm a journalism freshman at MSU, and I hope to eventually publish my own novel one day.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The ORIGINAL Omen

I really don't like scary movies. It's not just because I don't like being scared, but also because horror movies nowadays are so stupid. I mean the characters keep making the same mistakes over and over again! They are practically asking to die!

Still, there is one movie of that genre I enjoy. No, it's isn't The Exorcist--that was a little more gross than scary. It is neither Halloween nor Friday the 13th, mainly because their many sequels turned me off. For a while, it was Child's Play, but now it's more funny than scary.

No, the ultimate scary movie I am talking about is the original 1976 film, The Omen.

I think I first saw it on TV a few years ago. I knew I probably shouldn't have watched it, only it was so interesting that I couldn't change the channel. Even though I regretted it, it was probably one of the best scary movies I have ever seen, mainly because it still scares me no matter how many times I see it.

Why is it so scary? Probably for the same reason why The Exorcist scary: religion. I'm not an overly religious person; I'm not one of those people that think that the end of the world will come any day now. All the same, when I saw that movie, I was terrified. Religion in movies always seems to touch a nerve with people. Maybe on some level, we're all terrified of whatever is beyond life, whether it's paradise, eternal damnation, or some sort of limbo.

The idea that the apocolypse could be caused by a five year old child is also interesting. What adds to the film's suspense is the character of Damien himself. Throughout the movie, you're not sure whether the child knows that he's evil. Let's face it, he's the creepiest part of the movie. Yet throughout most of the movie, he never actually does anything evil--the dirty work is done by the demon dog and the evil nanny--aside from the party when he knocks his "mother off the indoor balcony with his little tricycle. Yet it's clear that he isn't normal: the animals go crazy with fear at the sight of him and he goes berserk within ten feet of a church. (Actually, when filmed from his POV along with the satanic music, the church did look kind of scary.) It's easy to understand Gregory Peck's situation: how can you kill a little boy, demon or no?

But at the funeral scene, when we discover at the funeral seen that Damien is still alive, all that sympathy vanishes. As he smiles eeriely at the audience, we can't help but think, "Oh, my God, we're all going to die!"

Other factors are the Latin choir that makes up the soundtrack and the death scenes. How each character dies is so creative, it makes all the Final Destination movies look ludicrous in comparison (which isn't hard). I know that in real life, rarely anyone dies in freak accidents, yet at the same time, you're a little more paranoid every time you go outside.

I did see the other two movies, though I didn't enjoy them that much. Having Damien find out who he is in the second movie defeats the tone set in the previous one--it isn't as much fun when you know that he knows that he's evil. Still, the death scenes were as elaborate as ever. And the part about priests becoming assassins to kill Damien in the third one was creative.

The first Omen is a classic. So most of you will understand why I was so angry that there was going to be a remake. The reviews I read were pretty much what I expected: it's the exact same movie, it's pathetic! The new Damien's creepiness is too obvious, and whose idea was it for Julia Stiles to play the doomed mother anyway? Needless to say, I will not be seeing it. I can only hope that audiences will wise up and the movie will bomb in order to prevent any sequel remakes.

My advice is to rent the original movie. Even if you've seen the old one, paying five or ten bucks to see a remake that's the exact same story is just stupid.

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