Give Me That Old Time Religion

I don’t pretend to be a biblical scholar but I’m pretty certain the coming of the Antichristâ„¢ is not supposed to be heralded by a mediocre Hollywood remake. Maybe I’m just being pissy because of a deep personal connection I have with the original. And no, I don’t fancy myself some sort of 666 guy made flesh. I figure whomever Satan appoints as regional manager of the material plane probably will have achieved more in four decades of existence than I have.Back when I was about 13 or 14, my mom took my brother and I to see the original “Omen” when it played in the theaters. This was a big deal for me; my being allowed to see R-rated films was a pretty recent thing. The movie also had a character named “Jennings.” It was like being able to watch some crazy, long-lost uncle up on the big screen. What’s more, the actor playing him was David Warner, whose ability to look simultaneously constipated and malevolent lends him an unequaled screen presence.

The most memorable scene for me was the decapitation scene, where Warner is digging around a construction site for the Ye Olde Antichrist-killing dagger and a window pane slides out of the back of a truck and smacks him in the Christopher Reeve vertebra.

What made the scene a moment of cinematic perfection for me was that the head did not simply roll around on the floor. Oh no, this head did a slow-motion backspin in mid air with an agility and grace rivaling that of Nadia Comaneci.

Years later, I was reading an essay by Harlan Ellison where he got his panties in a serious bunch over the gratuitous violence in the scene and questioned the humanity of anyone who enjoyed it. If I didn’t love that movie already, having it make Ellison expose himself as the elitist little hall monitor I always suspected he was would have won my heart for sure.

So no, I won’t be going to see the remake. The real Antichrist, spawned in the age of disco, shall always have my loyalty.

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