The Omen V The Exorcist

November 16, 2008


Last night I watched The Omen. The 2006 remake. It was ok. There was a nice twist on the journo getting his head chopped off bit, but other than that, just ok. And it seemed to all be filmed in Prague, pretending to be London, hence the photo above of a place I visited in Prague but can’t remember the name of. Some kind of church library. And I’m almost sure it was used in the film for a talky Priesty bit.

Oh, I’ve just remembered… Something crucial. The film wasn’t scary. At all. But then nor was the 1976 original. Now you’d think a film about the son of the Devil would be fairly scary. It should be. As far as I know, the Devil’s supposed to be really bad. The worst. Someone who’d do really really bad things just for the Hell of it. And when I think of the Devil, I think of that line from The Usual Suspects; “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist“.

Well, The Omen goes out of it’s way to show us that the Devil does exist; his tricks being very much Tommy Cooper style, not “I can fly in a big baggy sweatshirt” Copperfield style.

First rubbishy trick; the Devil gives his son, Unscary Devil Boy, a special Devil birthmark; only 666 you stupid unsubtle Devil. And then when his mothers’ grave is dug up, we find he was only born of a bloody jackal*. Why not a hyena? At least then you could have the last laugh. But if your plan is to sneak up on us, take us unawares, TRICK us, choose a human you idiot. And preferably a woman.

So, The Omen, learn from The Exorcist.

The Exorcist is the only film that’s ever truly scared me. Lots of films have shocked me, made me jump, revolted me, but The Exorcist is the only film to ever put the fear of the Devil in me. Heck, the Power of Christ compels him, and even that doesn’t work at first. That’s the Power of Christ folks! Not just the Will of, or the Asking of… it’s the Blackpool Illuminations of Power.

And crucially, from what I can remember, everything in The Exorcist could be down to personality disorders in Regan (the poor little girl not the misspelt dead president)**. Yes, furniture flies around rooms, but there will still be the possibility of scientific explanation. Unbelievably, there are still things we don’t know, and that we know we don’t know, and that we don’t know we don’t know… etc. (sorry for the crude reducing of the clearly obfuscatory Rumsfeld speech… indeed can something be clearly obfuscate? Yes.)

So, The Devil in The Exorcist is the real Keyser Soze deal.

The Exorcist wins. In all senses.

Now, kindly undo these straps.


Another of my Prague pics, this one of the National Museum, which in The Omen remake is remade as an opera house.

* When I was a child in the 70’s I used to think a jackal was a bird, and I could never understand what was meant to be scary about a bird giving birth to a baby. Doh! I was confusing a jackal with a jackdaw!

** As I slept last night, something troubled me. Regan’s head does a full 360 degree turn! Now levitation and spider-walking (absent from the first exhibited cut of the film) could well be phenomena we as yet do no understand, but the problem with a head turning 360 degrees is that our scientific knowledge would lead us to conclude that this can’t be done, at least not without killing someone. Regan survives. So, did it happen? Father Merrin is old and in ill health; Father Karras is traumatised over the death of his mother. And they are the only witnesses to this event… Ok, I’m clutching at straws… it’s still scarier than The Omen, and that’s that.


2 Responses to “The Omen V The Exorcist”

  1. Andrea said

    I have to disagree: I saw The Omen when I was a young girl and thought about it every night before I went to sleep for a whole year afterwards. I’m not kidding. 😦

  2. Simon Hickson said

    I understand. Now, if you’d seen The Exorcist when you were a young girl…

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