I disagree with Lona in her opening statement, both the things post-birth are true. She didn’t return to pre-baby person AND her kid is the anti-christ. I’m kidding about one of those things…
Two of the scariest parts of giving birth, at least for me, were the concern that the baby might be the antichrist and that I would never look as good post-baby as I did pre. If you have ever seen a photograph of me, you know that one of those fears did become my reality, and one of those fears became the reality of the parents of Damien Thorn, who is, according to Wikipedia at least, the antichrist. In an effort to understand these end times, I watched a series of documentaries on his life.
Robert and Katherine Thorn have it made. Well, sort of. In our original Omen, we find the Thorns, he a diplomat and she younger and hotter, about to become parents except, oops, the baby died. Luckily some Catholic priests have a spare baby lying around and Robert makes the switcheroo with Katherine none the wiser, and the family of three eventually settles in Great Britain, where Rob is the U.S. ambassador. Their son, Damien, is an ambassador too — to hell — which we learn when people around the young blue-eyed devil begin dying. First his nanny hangs herself at his birthday party, which I feel goes against strict British manners. Damien also decides that this is the point in time where he should not go to church, and attacks his mother when she tries to take him to an Episcopal wedding (but we’ve all been there, right?) and then his mother, a little weirded out by her son, takes him to the zoo where they are attacked by a pack of baboons. Things grow increasingly weirder, with a mysterious new nanny and a mysterious new rottweiler, and in the midst of this Robert is confronted by a priest who tries to tell him that Damien has a touch of the devil and will kill his family for their wealth. Robert undiplomatically tells the priest to go away, and he does, forever, when he’s impaled by a lightning rod outside a church Robert and Katherine are getting freaked out, and when Damien uses his trike as weapon of destruction and lands his mom in the hospital with a broken arm and a miscarriage before she dies mysteriously, Papa Thorn heads to Rome to determine who his son really is — and learns his kid is, like, 73 percent jackal, which of course means Satan, and he does what any parent would do — he goes reverse Menendez. Unfortunately the cops act like cops and are trigger-happy and kill Robert, which leaves Damien an orphan who appears to be placed in the custody of the U.S. president. THANKS OBAMA. FILM-TO-OMEN EQUIVALENT: Learning that Halley’s Comet is coming around again, and glancing at your birth certificate to read your name is William the Conqueror and not King Harold II.
DAMIEN: OMEN II
Funny thing, this movie. It seems Damien has been passed from the President to his aunt and uncle, who are very wealthy and have a son of their own (sort of, he’s from Uncle Richard’s first marriage). Seven years pass and Damien and his brother/cousin (brousin? brocuz?) are in military school when puberty begins to set in, and I guess one part of Damien’s boy-to-man transition is antichristical tendencies. The movie does offer some good death scenes: A woman at the beginning of the film has her eyes pecked out and runs blind into traffic, a coworker in the way drowns underneath a lake at a birthday party (Thorn birthday parties, don’t RSVP, just a suggestion) and Anthony from Designing Women gets sliced in half with an elevator cable. Once everyone is dead, Damien is the only person left standing, and it’s obvious that he will grow up to be a very ambitious man and probably assume his rightful throne as a U.S. Congressman. The biggest problem I had with this movie is that Damien tries to be a good boy. Where is the asshole toddler Damien who attacked his mummy and was sort of unlikable? When Damien learns of his real purpose on earth, he runs as far as he can (on campus) and then wails out, “Why meeeee?” Really? Really Damien? You’re kind of a bitch of an antichrist, is all I’m saying. Luckily he does come to terms with his fate, with the help of a few handy allies on the way, including Robert Foxworth, who I had a very weird crush on throughout this movie (he may play to my affinity of bastard-acting blue-eyed men) and might have considered going out for a drink with, were he just a bastard and not legitimately evil. I can never get this dating thing right. FILM-TO-OMEN EQUIVALENT: Having someone say that your eyes are pretty and then they take a photograph of you, which reveals strange happenings with your pupils, so you go to the doctor and guess what? Your eyes photograph weird because you have a brain tumor.
OMEN III: THE FINAL CONFLICT
You know what’s not impressive? Full-grown Damien. Let me break it down for you in the form a mathematical equation: Antichrist children > Antichrist adults.
So Damien, who looks suspiciously like a younger Sam Neill, is in his 30s and head of Thorn Industries and Worldwide Hellscapes when he gets appointed ambassador to the UK. Like adopted father, like evil son. Once across the pond, he meets a lovely single-mother journalist and her son while he begins growing more and more concerned about a priest-led assassination plan that will coincide with the Second Coming. What’s terrible for Damien is that the priests have acquired the Seven Daggers of Megiddo, which are the only things that can kill him.
You know what sucks? The entire portion of this film we could call Damien Makes Time for Love With a Single Mom Who Wants To Be Appreciated for Who She Is. BO-RING. Give me more murders, please. So while Damien is charming Lady Journalist, there are a bunch of potential Second Coming British babies being born, and his henchmen are killing them so as to thwart good over evil. Unfortunately, the Nazarene baby is born to, wait for it, one of his henchmen, and when Damien realizes he has to kill the kid himself, he runs into trouble and kills Lady Journalist’s kid, and she, now in possession of one of the Megiddo daggers, as it is in her child’s spine, then stabs Damien herself. Hell of a morning after, but this is what happens when you have premarital sex. With the devil. FILM-TO-OMEN EQUIVALENT: Almost running over a black cat that is crossing the road in front of your vehicle, and feeling very relieved that you did not take its life, only to arrive home and find it has broken into your house and infected your dog (whose vaccinations ran out 5 hours prior) with rabies.
OMEN IV: THE AWAKENING
You know, one would think a film titled “The Final Chapter” would not have a made-for-TV movie released after it. However, the Omen folks disagree with that sentiment and, as such, we get the fourth installment of the American Devil Child.
Same premise to the original omen, but with some gender modifications. Parents (Gene and Karen, who seem a bit self involved even when at the orphanage) adopt a baby. Baby is an asshole. The good news with this version, which was made in 1991, is that our television actors and filmmakers have committed to having Delia, the she-devil, be a total bitch throughout. She is lighting people on fire, throwing nannies out windows, killing classmates’ parents and that, that I like.
Delia is also, however, a terrible actress and I had a hard time not wanting to punch her in the face, which may say something about me as a grown up. Anyway, Problem Child and her mom have a falling out, you know, because she’s terrible and the devil, and when Delia learns her mommy is pregnant with a new baby you think, oh this won’t end well for that baby except wait! TWIST! Turns out Delia is Damien’s biological daughter! And she has been sent to care for the REAL antichrist, the baby growing inside Karen’s womb! So Karen realizes that she is, like, either part jackal or the worst mother ever, and kills herself, and leaves the two kids with their politician daddy walking off into a funerary sunset.
FILM-TO-OMEN EQUIVALENT: Being handed a box by Mrs. Ganush and when raising your brows at her, being told, “Things are not always what they seem.” Upon attempting to open the box you realize it is really a concrete block painted to look like a box, and the ominous tone of Mrs. Ganush wasn’t so much an omen as it was, just, well … a fact.
Remember that time Gus Van Sant was like, “I think a great idea for a movie is to remake Psycho, shot for shot?” Remember that? Remember how terrible that was? Well, imagine if someone, say, John Moore, decided to do that in 2006 with The Omen. WELL HE DID.
In this remake of the quality classic, Julia Stiles takes advantage of her constantly unhappy-looking face as she and her husband, Ray Donovan, raise a jackal baby with the help of a creepy nanny (Mia Farrow, who is by far a highlight in this dismal film) and come to the same conclusion that the original parents of the original Damien did: Procuring a child from a sketchy priest in a Roman hospital will only result in tragedy for all. Perhaps if they had watched the original Omen we would not have had to have a back up Damien, if you will.
Of note, my favorite part of this movie is when Ray Donovan and his reporter friend go visit the burned up Father Spiletto, only to discover that he looks exactly like Voldemort! I so desperately wanted Father Spiletto to also have a pet snake, and Damien would be, like, a Horcrux, and then, like some sad British Oliver Twist kid would fight Damien on the playground and survive and be all The Boy Who Lived, and we would have an Omen/Harry Potter mashup, but nope. I am so disappointed and plan to soothe myself by creating erotic Omen/Potter fan fiction. (“What is this scar?” Damien asked, his cold finger tracing the lightning bolt on Harry’s forehead. Harry shivered and looked away until Damien caught his chin. “I also have a mark,” he said, smiling. “Would you like to see?”)
FILM-TO-OMEN EQUIVALENT: Looking at review on Rotten Tomatoes regarding the 2006 version of The Omen and seeing it’s very rotten and described as “it’s as if someone took a corpse, embalmed it to preserve the external appearance, slapped on a layer of fresh makeup, and then stuffed it full of animatronics to make it move and speak,” and then watching it and being slightly surprised at one’s complete disappointment.]]>