Hollywood Gothique
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Director hypes Omen remake – I’ll buy that for a dollar!

Above: Gregory Peck and Lee Remick in the original version of The Omen. Director John Moore cast younger actors in the remake to make the parents “more identifiable.”

In “The Omen: Bad Signs,” Susan King of the Los Angeles Times lets director John Moore hype his remake of THE OMEN by hinting at an on-set curse and proclaiming that the film “is very much a movie that feels right now. I think the world is in a very dark place at the moment, so I think this movie can speak to sort of a metaphorical version of our collective fear.”

I know Hollywood is all about the hype, but I just wish they would put this particular template into the garbage can. Stories about cursed films are tired, espeically when the best example Moore can come up with is not a mishap but some footage being destroyed by the lab.

And as I’ve posted before, I think that remaking THE OMEN at this particular time is a pointless exercise. The end of the world is not upon us, and there’s no reason to think that a film upon this theme will have any particular resonance with today’s audiences. Maybe the simplistic “Good vs Evil” theme will appeal to those still on board with the Iraq War (i.e., to those with a religious conviction that we’re doing the right thing, no matter the overwhelming evidence to the contrary), but other than that, the only anticipation the film has going for it is a combination of nostalgia and bloodlust, as we wonder how much more spectacular the gore effects can be thirty years later – and will they do the decapitation scene again?

One other point: I did get a kick out of hearing Moore explain why he cast younger actors as the parents in this film: “In a story like this, you want the audience to put themselves in the position of the characters, so that’s why I cast a little younger. To me it was a little more identifiable.”

Whatever the weaknesses of the original OMEN, the presence of stalwart actors Gregory Peck and Lee Remick in the leads gave the film a serious gloss, proclaiming that you were not watching just a dumb matinee movie. It was this sense of conviction that lent credibility to the chills. As if I didn’t have doubts enough already, it’s sad to see the new version is being tailored to a typical teen audience who can’t “identify” with anyone over forty.