Damien is all grown up in TV follow-up to The Omen

The Exorcist spawned a series of sequels and prequels that couldn’t agree on where its characters had come from or where they were going. Now it seems the same fate has befallen The Omen, which was one of the other big supernatural horror movies from the 1970s.

The original film spawned two big-screen sequels that saw Damien Thorn, the boy destined to become the Antichrist, grow to adulthood. The third film ended with the Second Coming of Christ and the death of the Antichrist at the hands of his lover, but it was followed ten years later by a TV-movie in which we learned that Damien had sired a daughter in whom his creepiness lived on. (Meanwhile, the TV-movie also revealed, no doubt unintentionally, that the Second Coming had had absolutely zero effect on the world, and that things were still ticking along as though nothing had happened.)

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Review: The Omen (dir. John Moore, 2006)

In the last few years, we’ve seen two prequels to The Exorcist and a remake of The Amityville Horror, so it was probably only a matter of time before someone got around to reviving that other popular 1970s supernatural horror movie, The Omen. The producers of this film had an especially timely marketing hook: a release date (6/6/06) that lends itself to ad campaigns with a mark-of-the-Beast theme.

In other ways, though, the remake of The Omen cannot help but seem as dated as the movie on which it is based. This is partly because the new film is extremely faithful to the original. Composer Marco Beltrami does not just emulate the style of Jerry Goldsmith’s Oscar-winning score for the original movie, he even re-uses some of its themes. And screenwriter David Seltzer does not adapt his earlier script so much as dust it off and tweak a few time-sensitive details; for example, where the first film speculated that “the Common Market” was the fulfillment of a prophecy about the Roman Empire — a key piece in the end-times puzzles of Hal Lindsey and others at that time — the new film refers to “the European Union” instead.

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Almighty dollars

Many of the books, films, music and TV shows that make up the parallel universe of the Christian entertainment industry are keyed to the idea of Judgment Day. Odd, writes Peter T. Chattaway — the Rapture is a modern concept with virtually no basis in the Bible

Until it was released in theatres in the United States three weeks ago, Left Behind — an apocalyptic thriller filmed in Ontario and based on a best-selling series of novels by evangelical authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins — was heavily promoted as the breakthrough film that Christian movie buffs had long been waiting for. The eight books in the series to date have sold over 30 million copies, and the film, which stars former teen idol Kirk Cameron as a TV journalist and Flight of the Intruder star Brad Johnson as an airline pilot, reportedly cost $17.4 million to make — though how much of that was spent on promoting the film, and not on the actual production, is a matter of some debate.

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