With the cinema release of Omen 666 imminent (on the 6th of the 6th 2006, natch - do you see?) I've been thinking about horror films.
Notably, the best horror film I've seen, The Descent (VSX reviews HERE and HERE).
As a cold-blooded rationalist, perhaps one of the elements helping make The Descent so horribly terrifying is that, unusually for a monster film, it is fairly securely anchored into reality - this thing could actually happen, these monsters could really exist. Nature might serve up these creatures where supernature fails; evolution as the Ultimate Bad Guy.
Not forgetting the claustrophobia and the jumpy-out scares, of course!
It can't be denied that horror films featuring ghosts and malevolent spirits still have their place - the propensity of humankind towards belief in these things is too hardwired into our psychology to prevent payback of a thrill from a good ghost story. However I find that the knowledge that these things wouldn't actually exist tends to create an annoyingly-reassuring comfort barrier between myself and the scares - a spook-flick must be very good indeed to fully draw me in.
Likewise demons and hellspawn don't hold that same innate fear for the non-believer, although it has to be said that the Dark Prince Natas can possess a certain camp charm.
It takes something like the original Omen to really put the willies up me. Maybe its the faultless portrayal of the tormented Father Brennan by Doctor Who Two Patrick Troughton. Maybe its the fantastically powerful musical score, or maybe its because all kids are scary and antichrist kids are scarier. Perhaps its just the scary 80s goths Fields of the Nephilim sampled the film's soundtrack all over scary 80s album The Nephilim. Or possibly it might be because I've not actually seen it in 20 years.
However, possibly the scariest film ever, (of the ones that I've starred in at least), is Hormone Hell. I recommend it whole-heartily. VHS copies are available from VSX Industries at a bargain collector's edition price of Â£75. Get in quick.
The Descent was good - didn't have too much sympathy for the victims though, they were an annoying bunch. Found myself rooting for the subterranean creatures!
I don't see the point in remaking The Omen. I think it still stands up as a creepy and unnerving film after all these years. I was a big fan of the trilogy when I was younger - particularly The Final Conflict. I've even got the soundtrack CD.
Seems that Hollywood is going through a creative dry spell at the moment with all these remakes...
I got a M&S Horror book with two Ira Levin stories: The Omen and Rosemary's Baby, both are really well written and based on facts, well, stuff in the bible (Omen), and contain anagrams (Rosemary). Rose! Aargh! It makes me think if Levin could have been the Dan Brown of his day. Hell! Both writers have the same name format: 3-letter-christian-name 5-letter-surname. Stone me! Levin even wrote The Boys from Brazil. I've seen the trailers for the The Omen remake and My God! it looks like a scene-by-scene reconstruction of the 1976 original, just like Gus Van Sant's remake of Psycho. As for horror films, give me the old Universal b&w masterpieces: Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolfman, The Mummy and their subsequent crossovers: The House of Dracula, The House of Frankenstein. I don't know about you, but I used to love those old BBC2 Saturday night Horror Double-bills over the summer in the 80s. SIGH! (Oh, I wish I was punk rocker with flowers in my hair...)
Hi Astolath & Maximillian (the latter's name being appropriate to the little update I'm about to apply to the later post; might I just quote V.I.N.C.E.N.T - "I don't mean to sound superior, but I hate the company of robots"
The Descent - must admit I felt sorry for the poor sub-ter guys & gals. Especially being invaded like that. Still, I'm sure they won out in the end.
OmenSorry, my mind has wandered since I was going to write wot I was giubg to write. However, I used to have a pub acquaintance called Damien who was the sort of pub friend who you'd never see apart from in the pub (not least because he didn't know where I lived).
One night, though, for whatever reason, he popped round (to drag me to somehwhere else, though I dunno how he found me).
I was sitting playing MicroMachines with my mate when he turned up, and we used to always have a "5 CD shuffle" thing going on on my music player thingummy (this was in the time before MP3s). He rang the door-bell, we let him in, he came through to my room, the machine unexpectedly started playing "DAMIEN etc" from the Omen soundtrack, and he said "You guys..." (in a Welsh, not an American, manner), as if we'd planned it....
Do you remember that "Worst Of Hollywood" series back from 1983?
And that's another thing I forgot to mention. The soundtrack to The Omen. Why do people (TV people) always play the music from the Old Spice ad believing it to be the score when they want to send-up the film?