Tuesday, February 23, 2010

BMC MOVIE OF THE WEEK: OMEN IV: THE AWAKENING

Omen IV - The Awakening
  • Omen IV - The Awakening
  • another victim
Gene and Karen York are the living embodiment of The American Dream. Rich, influential attorneys, they have everything a couple could want... except a child. When the Yorks learn of a beautiful baby girl waiting to adopted, they instantly fall in love with baby Delia and adopt her. But terror and destruction seem to follow Delia wherever she goes. The priest who baptized her mysteriously dies, the psychic fair she attends burns in a fiery holocaust and her nanny falls from a second story window, impaling herself on a merry-go-round. Soon, Delia's mother begins to questions the "coincidence" of these catastrophes. Her thoughts can't help but turn toward the biblical prophesy of Armageddon... the final confrontation between the forces of good and evil, beginning with the birth of Satan in human form.
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February 21, 2010: First Sunday of Lent (Year C)

Yes, there’s an Omen IV. Ten years after the last theatrical release, the fledgling Fox Network attempted to jumpstart the franchise with this made-for-TV offering. Unfortunately, the effort turned out to be bloodless, pedestrian, and decidedly non-scary.

But also kind of hilarious. Just try not to laugh during the scene in which a guy runs into an alley and bumps into a small choir wearing blue zombie makeup and belting out Jerry Goldsmith’s Ave Santani chant from the previous films. Can’t be done. And don’t even bother trying to suppress the giggles whenever little Delia torments her new age nanny, Josephine. Irritated by Jo’s belief in “stupid stuff”, the girl  turns all of the poor woman’s crystals black, frightens off her pony-tailed aura-photographing boyfriend, and finally just burns down the entire new age psychic faire. (Is it a sin to be cheering on Satan’s granddaughter during this part of the movie?)

But figuring out whether or not the filmmakers were being intentionally funny comes afterwards. Long before pushing play, most folks will find themselves asking, “Didn’t a big glowing Jesus show up and kill off the antichrist at the end of the last movie? How can there even be a sequel?” Well, apparently there was a backup plan. It seems that Damien’s tryst with that reporter in Part III spawned a little girl (Delia) who then carried her twin inside herself in zygote form. At the proper time, that cell became infused with Damien’s soul and was implanted in the womb of Delia’s adoptive mother by a devil worshiping obstetrician so that Damien could be reborn. So, basically, Damien became his own father, which would make his daughter also his sister AND surrogate mother. Confused? Forget it, Jake, it’s Satantown.

Still, convoluted as this scheme is, it has some truth in it. In the very last line of this week’s gospel we read: “When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.” FOR A TIME. You see, even though Jesus himself (not big and glowing this time around) had just smacked down Satan in an exegetical cage match and sent the Old Serpent crawling off with his tail between where his legs used to be, Scripture lets us know he’s gonna keep slithering back again and again and again. Kind of like in a bad movie.

We are meant to recognize our own ongoing battle with temptation in Jesus’ time spent in the desert. Pope St. Leo put it this way, “He fought then, therefore, that we too might fight thereafter… For there are no works of power, dearly-beloved, without the trials of temptations, there is no faith without proof, no contest without a foe, no victory without conflict. This life of ours is in the midst of snares, in the midst of battles; if we do not wish to be deceived, we must watch: if we want to overcome, we must fight.”

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

St. Leo the Great, 1; Attila the Hun, 0. St. Leo the Great, 2; Robber Synod heresiarchs 0. St. Leo the Great, 3; Satan's granddaughter, 0 (unless you count trouncing the psychic faire in pre-season warmups).

I want him on my team.

Smiter the Sub-under-hemi-in-comparison-with-St.-Leo-deacon

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Excellent! We have the exact same tradition (!) in Slasher movie franchises, but I suppose only The Omen makes the theological dimension explicit.

EegahInc said...

I don't think Delia taking out the new agers counts as a win on the regular schedule. That was more like the pros putting on an exhibition match with a minor league team.

And, yeah, I almost went with Friday 13th Part VI: Jason Lives for this one until I remembered Omen IV.

romishgraffiti said...

Unfortunately, the effort turned out to be bloodless, pedestrian, and decidedly non-scary.

But also kind of hilarious.


I'm sure I'm not the first to notice this, but one of the effects of conversion seems to be that horror films becomes comedic. It's like we are Madeline:

She liked winter, snow and ice
She was not afraid of mice
And to the lion in the zoo Madeline only said "Poo poo!"


But then again, and I don't know if Omen IV used it, I think CGI is absolutely ravaging craeative filmmaking. Neither me nor my wife can take it seriously when it appears.


Scott W.

Anonymous said...

need an expert opinion....I just learned they're remaking "Clash of the Titans" (ok, during the Olympic Gold hockey game--I don't watch much tv). Would the original be considered B-movie? or was it too high budget?

And what about "Legend"? I think of it as B-grade fantasy & camp, but apparently it's considered a serious movie because of the director. What do you think?

Xena Catolica

romishgraffiti said...

In my non-expert opinion, both Clash of the Titans and Legend would be examples of bad movies, not b-movies. But our host has been known to bend the distinction to cover such things. Legend I imagine is a potential gold mine. As an old Yes fan, a few swipes at Jon Anderson and Vangelis might be in order. :)

EegahInc said...

Well, I'm not exactly sure how much of an expert I actually am, but I'll give it a try.

The term B-Movie was originally applied to low budget features which made up the second side (b-side) of a double bill. For instance, you could go see Rebel Without A Cause (A-Movie) and then stick around for Dragstrip Girl (definitely B). With the disappearance double features, the term has been adopted to refer to most any low budget feature. There's a lot of leeway in that, though, since even $30 million is a relatively cheap outing these days. Depends on when it was made.

By that definition, Clash & Legend wouldn't really make the cut. Believe it or not, the original Clash only cost a few million less than The Empire Strikes Back to make, while Legend almost doubled Empire's budget.

However...

With certain movies it gets cloudy because "cult movies", those with small fanatical fanbases, often get lumped in with B-Movies in magazines and on sites like this one regardless of budget, especially if they have a high cheese factor. (I guess we obsessives have to stick together.) So under the "cult" loophole, Clash & Legend might just might make it.

EegahInc said...

Oh yeah, and Scott, I have noticed a lot of the fear is gone since returning to the Church, although every now and then I still get a chill. That scene in Emily Rose where the guy rolls over and sees her all twisted on the floor really gave me the creeps the first time I saw it.