Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Damien: His Father’s Son
the original Omen films, Damien Thorn
was truly his father’s son. In the Marvel universe, Daimon Hellstrom, a.k.a.
The Son of Satan, was also the spawn of the evil one, but he rejected his
infernal legacy. This time around, the potential antichrist appears to be
somewhere in between. Regardless, the end times might just be coming judging from
the promising first episode of Damien (promo here), A&E’s new series adaptation of the Omen franchise, which premieres this
is hard to believe parents still name their boys Damien (or Daimon or the
especially evil Damon), but apparently they do. It has be thirty-some years
since the original trilogy (the subsequent made-for-TV sequel, failed mid-1990s
Fox pilot, and 2006 remake do not count). Traumatized by the events of his childhood
(which technically took place in the late 1970s), Thorn is now a present day war
photographer who has repressed most of his early memories. He has a history of behavioral
issues, but presumably he is no longer the hellion he once was. In fact, he rather
earnest and responsible. Thorn even broke up with his former colleague, Kelly
Baptiste, to protect her from the evil vibes that follow him around.
on assignment in Syria, Thorn encountered an intense, chador-wearing woman who
seemed to know way more about him than she should. Having been expelled by the
Assad regime, Thorn seeks out help from his contacts at a Council on Foreign
Relations type group to renew his visa. There he encounters Ann Rutledge, who
positions herself as Damien’s equivalent
of the X-Files’ cigarette-smoking
man. Apparently, she has been watching Thorn for some time—and she’s not the
it is cool to see Damien reference
the original films with stills of Gregory Peck portraying Robert Thorn doubling
as Damien Thorn’s family photos. The pilot gives us reason to suspect Thorn will
try deny his antichrist destiny to some extent. Of course, if we are to assume
the series is an updated account of the events between Omens II and III, than he
must inevitably turn into Sam Neill. However, it could be entertaining to watch
showrunner Glen Mazzara wrestle with those constraints.
is worth noting two intriguing characters will not survive to see the second episode,
so clearly Mazzara isn’t pulling punches. Those Walking Dead habits die hard. He also shrewdly incorporates recognizable
imagery from the original films, including the iconic black hellhound (or in
this case hellhounds). So far, the contemporizing elements also feel quite
fitting, such as the sinister business in war and oppression-stricken Syria.
It is hard to really judge from only one
episode, but in the title role, Bradley James seems suitably confused while
hinting at Thorn’s profound dark side. The premiere episode shows a lot of
potential, but even if the rest of the season craters, horror fans should still
enjoy the opener’s hat tips to the classic source film. Worth starting (and
hopefully worth finishing, only time will tell), Damien debuts this Monday (3/7) on A&E.
Labels: A&E, Omen franchise