We are almost at the halfway point of the MASSACRE MARATHON, so I figured it’s about time I revel in a classic. When I think of the top 10 horror movies of all time that shaped what the genre has become today, I would probably be obligated to include The Omen. Not only did it help set the world up for countless evil kid films along with The Exorcist, it showed how little the real antagonist has to do on screen to make you fear them.
The only instance throughout the entire film the boy does anything truly evil is when he knocks his mother off the table she is standing on with his tricycle. Even still, it’s not clear how much Damien did on purpose or if it was an accident (or what was caused by outside manipulation). The scariest things happen when Damien is off-screen. It’s murky from the start whether the menacing dog is guiding the boy or the other way around.
And how about that relentless Rottweiler scene in the graveyard? That is definitely the part that scared me most because of how they just will not let up. The barking becomes deafening as the cameras linger on the attack for what seems like an eternity. Along with the helplessness of the characters caught off guard by the ambush, this sequence is quite disturbing.
The Omen moves from scene to scene with a perfect pace and never lets the terror die down for too long. Once the characters have a short intro the ominous incidents kick off with no brakes. My favorite performance is the short but sweet nanny’s early on at Damien’s birthday party. The haunting calmness in her voice as she commits the unspeakable act is mentally scarring for even the most horror-hardened patrons.
The 70’s were a time before grand set pieces and expensive special effects both digital and practical. This makes The Omen‘s reliance on simple yet effectively thrilling spectacle truly commendable. How could they create so many ways to frighten with so little to work with? This film refuses to be forgotten with each new era and will stay fresh in the backs of our minds for a long, long time. “Look at me, Damien! It’s all for you!”
5 mythical, prophetic poems out of 5
BONUS REVIEW (MM 2018)
The MAN is BACK!!! We’re talking Michael Myers and he has returned in a big way! I am very excited to see how this new trilogy of semi-sequels pans out because, while Halloween 2018 didn’t outdo the original two, it was a stable step in the right direction. The series doesn’t reinvent itself (it does forget that horrid run from Halloween 4 onward) but it strives to create new iconic scenes while maintaining what made its grandfather films so exquisite. The return of Laurie Strode facing her own demons along with her family held at a distance is a smart angle to take. Jamie Lee Curtis’s crazy cat lady impression is spot-on. The perspective of the lowly podcasters traveling to interview her is not only refreshing, but a great way to initiate the younger generation into the Myers cult. The opening with Michael in the psych ward, his back turned away from his long lost mask gives me chills. As does the longshot of The Shape stalking the neighborhood of Anywhere, America on Halloween night. Just like old times! The ending maybe gets a bit too corny but the idea behind Laurie being prepared to stand her ground after all these years makes a lot of sense. Sign me up for more MM slasherness David Gordon Green!
4 crushing jack-o-lanterns out 5
P.S. Fuck you COVID-19 for pushing Halloween Kills back!
BONUS REVIEW (MM 2019)
THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT
What’s this? Could it be? A Lars von Trier film I actually liked? Yes, The House That Jack Built has that solitary honor. After the abhorrent Antichrist and Melancholia, von Trier finally gets through to me. Matt Dillon (The Outsiders, You, Me & Dupree) lights up the screen with his take on a deranged psycho killer. His victims line up almost as if they are working with him in a funny way. The sadistically humorous flashbacks are so engrossing, the foreground of a blood spattered Pollock piece, marred only by the overarching journey’s poor CGI. I waited for the home release of the director’s cut because I heard how violent this film is and I don’t like my dismemberment censored. Based on comparisons it seemed to be the right call, so I would seek out the longest edition if you can. For fans of Patrick Bateman and Ash Williams alike.
4 cocky leaps of faith out of 5