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Blood, Breasts and Beasts: THE OMEN COLLECTION

Old 10-15-00, 09:46 PM
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Attention Drive-In Mutants ...



It was Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist that proved moviegoers were itching to have the wits scared out of them by Old Scratch hisself -- the original bogeyman who has pervaded our collective fear for all of time. And Hollywood didn't have to look any further than The Bible itself for truly horrific inspiration, as the pages of Revelation are chock full of garish descriptions of Earth's end times, about the rise of the Anti-Christ and all the really nasty stuff he's gonna do. So, what if the apocalyptic prophecies are true? What if Satan's child WILL rise to rule the world? And what if your rosy-cheeked, newborn son WERE the Anti-Christ? That's exactly what The Omen pondered and would laboriously explore through THREE sequels -- Damien: Omen II (1978, 107 minutes), Omen III: The Final Conflict and Omen IV: The Awakening. All are presented in a groovy new box set from Fox called The Omen Collection, with the fourth feature currently only available in the set.

The movie: When last we left little Damien, Gregory Peck was attempting to stab him to death with a holy Ginsu knife. Thankfully, the local police got involved and assured the world there'd be a sequel by saving the boy. He has been taken in by his uncle Richard Thorn (William Holden), and now, the Anti-Christ has hit puberty and all hell breaks loose, literally. The plot is dang near exactly the same -- one or two folks are convinced Damien is evil, but his uncle simply won't accept it. And like before, strange "accidents" occur to those who dare question the young man's lineage, and usually after they've been scared half to death by a squawking black crow. But this time, though, there's proof. Some archeologists dug up an ancient temple wall that's covered in an image of the Anti-Christ -- and he looks EXACTLY like Damien. Only no one bothered to photograph the thing, and it takes the whole movie to ship it to the Thorn-funded museum. With piles of bodies all around him, Uncle Richard, STILL has to see the wall for himself before he'll comprehend the truth and decide to finish the job his brother started. In the first movie, Damien was protected by Satan's henchmen, the same is true for this film, but now he's old enough now to discover, for himself, his true purpose and who his REAL father is. And the fella charged with that instruction is none other than B-favorite Lance Henriksen as Damien's military school mentor.

Notables: No breasts. 10 dead bodies. Three gallons blood. THE Beast. One cave-in. Gratuitous slide show. Devil crows. One road pizza. Elevator fu. Runaway locomotive. Museum inferno.

Quotables: Could this be an ode to a certain sci-fi doctor?: "I'm an archeologist, not a religious fanatic!" Damien has trouble coping with the truth, "Why?! Why me?!" One of the worst school-yard put downs ever, "A jackal! You were born of a jackal!"

Time codes: Damien's all grow'd up (9:30). Hitchcock-inspired kill sequence (37:35). Trapped under the ice floe (47:00). Damien shows off his superior mind (51:45). One of the more brilliant elevator accidents depicted on film (1:11:10). The Thorn family has a REAL home theater (1:17:28). Damien channels Darth Vadar (1:28:05).

Audio/Video: Crisply presented in its original widescreen (2.35:1) format, with a new Dolby Digital Surround track. It's also been enhanced for widescreen TVs.

Extras: Commentary by producer Harvey Bernhard (Goonies, The Lost Boys) who remembers most everyone on the cast by saying, "What a great actor." But he still fumes over the first director's decision to have Elizabeth Shepherd wear a bright-red dress. It seems the subtly of each victim wearing red was definitely lost on him. Harvey's a bit crabby, but does well in relaying his unique insight on the film's production. Slick-looking animated menus featuring Satanic imagery and the Omen chant. Trailers for The Omen, Damien: The Omen II and Omen III: The Final Conflict, plus these additional Fox titles: Alien, Best Laid Plans, The Fly (1958), Return of the Fly, The Fly (1986), The Fly II, Ravenous and Titus.

Final thought: Best of the series. More visceral than artistic, as all the restraint of the first flick gets pancaked by a Mac truck. Outstanding "accidents" with moments of true horror. Highly recommended.

For a look at DVD Talk star rankings and purchasing info, click here.




Also reviewed: The Omen: Special Edition (Highly Recommended), Omen III: The Final Conflict (Recommended) and Omen IV: The Awakening (Recommended)
Coming soon: The Alien Files and more.


COLLECTOR SERIES
Blood Feast: Special Edition, The Fly/The Fly2, Night of the Living Dead: Special Collector's Edition

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
The 4th Floor: Special Edition, A Bucket of Blood, Communion: Special Collector's Edition, Dance With The Devil, Divine Trash, From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter, The Gore Gore Girls: Special Edition, The Omen: Special Edition, Damien: Omen II, Piranha: Special Edition, Razor Blade Smile: Special Edition, Shaft in Africa, Showgirls, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, They Live

RECOMMENDED
The Amityville Horror, The Blood Spattered Bride, Caracara, The Crush, Deep Red, Eaten Alive (Elite Version), Four Sided Triangle, Freejack, The Hidden: Special Edition, Hide and Seek, Inferno, I Was A Teenage Zombie, The Madness Trilogy: Reefer Madness, Cocaine Fiends, Sex Madness, Mercy, Misery, Omen III: The Final Conflict, Omen IV: The Awakening, Oxygen: Special Edition, Pumpkinhead, Shaft's Big Score!, Shakes the Clown, Shock, Showgirl Stories, Stealth Fighter, Swamp Thing, Torso, Two Moon Junction, The Vampire Happening, Where the Buffalo Roam, The Wizard of Gore: Special Edition

RENT IT
Autopsy, Blood, Guts, Bullets & Octane, The Highwayman: Special Edition, The Hitcher, The Killing Hour: Special Edition, Lucinda's Spell, Lured Innocence: Special Edition, Possession: Special Edition, The Wrecking Crew: Special Edition


G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.
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Old 10-17-00, 09:50 AM
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A sad day noelgross. Itís one thing to like a film thatís so bad itís good (Showgirls for instance) but when you find merit in wretched dreck like Omen IV you should seriously think about what constitutes "good" in your criteria. This movie is fit for nothing, using it as a coaster is a step up for it. I sold mine instantly when I got the set and I felt sorry for the person who bought it, just as I do anyone who watches it based on the recommendation youíve given it. This is a genuinely appalling movie and people need to be warned about it, not encouraged to see it. The series as a whole suffered from the law of diminishing returns but at least they held true to the central concept and followed one character through. Damienís daughter!!! - WhatĎs next? Damienís dog??!!!

I recommend anyone buying the box to check out my humble review on IMDB of this terrible film. Thank God itís only available in the set.

[This message has been edited by jonathan.e (edited October 17, 2000).]
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Old 10-17-00, 10:57 AM
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Thanks, jonathan.e. I've officially become a success ... I've alienated my ONLY reader. Heh.

I stand by my review. Despite, or maybe BECAUSE OF its massive instability, the fourth film is still slightly more entertaining than the third (weakest) installment of The Omen series. I made it clear Omen IV: The Awakening is a T-R-A-S-H flick ... I just happen to embrace and enjoy that fact.

The psychic fair inferno was genius. Delia smacking a bully upside the head with her lunch box ... stomping on his sandwich. Snake handling. Singing zombies. Come on. That's comedy.

Incidently. I sold all of The Omen movies ... except Damien: The Omen II. My favorite.

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[This message has been edited by noelgross (edited October 17, 2000).]
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Old 10-22-00, 11:38 AM
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I like all the Omens. And yes, that includes part four. Fun stuff, Noel!
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Old 10-22-00, 04:30 PM
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Hey Noel, **I** read your reviews (well, started recently after getting chastised by you ). I have to admit though that I have seen only the first Omen. I just might rent the rest.
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Old 10-23-00, 01:19 PM
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kuroiinu and mersaulte: Thanks for the kind words. I guess I'll have to try harder to run y'all off with my upcomming reviews of Bloody Murder, Habit, Elephant Parts and some other gangster flick whose title I escapes me at the moment. Over at DVDShrine.com, I just filed my first of a series of reviews for those fellas, Hellraiser. Look for Friday The 13th: Part 3, Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter, Hercules in New York and Don't Mess With My Sister real soon. Thanks again for taking time to write.

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Old 10-25-00, 03:06 PM
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another reader here

You are the only reviewer I always read, no matter what the movie is. I can always tell from your reviews whether or not the movie is one I would like, because you are so thorough. Don't always agree with your recommendations, but that's OK.
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