100 Days of Horror welcomes you to ... SATANFEST 2013

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"Y'all know me, know how I earn a livin'. I'll catch this bird for you, but it ain't gonna be easy. Bad fish! Not like going down to the pond and chasing bluegills and tommycods. This shark, swallow ya whole. Little shakin', little tenderizin', and down you go. And we gotta do it quick, that'll bring back the tourists, that'll put all your businesses on a payin' basis. But it's not gonna be pleasant! I value my neck a lot more than three thousand bucks, chief. I'll find him for three, but I'll catch him, and kill him, for ten. But you've gotta make up your minds. If you want to stay alive, then ante up. If you want to play it cheap, be on welfare the whole winter. I don't want no volunteers, I don't want no mates, there's too many captains on this island. Ten thousand dollars for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing."

Monday, October 18, 2010

100 days of Horror Day Eighty-Seven - The Omen!"

Yes, I know it's technically tomorrow but I had a lot to do today and I still wanted to get this out there because this is one of my favorite movies and I have to run my mouth about it.

So shut up, sit back and prop open your eyelids with toothpicks against the late hour and enjoy - if you're able - the 70s classic, "The Omen!"

The Omen (1972): Directed by Richard Donner. Starring Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Harvey Stevens and Leo McKern.

The Skinny: When a US Ambassador swaps his stillborn child for an orphaned child, he gets a hell of a lot more than he bargained for - he gets the Antichrist.

What's Good: There's something about horror movies from the 70s that just never ceases to amaze me. They're so moody and dark. Brooding and sullen, like an angry teen. And it was the Golden Age of the Devil as far as cinema was concerned. With "The Exorcist" breaking box office records for horror, suddenly Old Nick was at the top of the list for go-to scares, and "The Omen" is no exception. Take that and add to it the unconscious fear that every parent has - will by child turn out bad? - and you get the perfect recipe for a horror film. And this one actually is horrific - a woman gleefully hangs herself in front of dozens of children, monkeys do insane and attack the car when the family visits the zoo, and in the final ultimate horror, a man decides to kill the only son he ever knew because he believes it to do the right thing. Unlike Abraham of the Old Testament, however, god fails to intercede and stop the sacrifice - it takes a hail of police bullets to stay Gregory Peck's hand in one of his finest onscreen moments.

What's Bad: As is typical with director Richard Donner's movies, "The Omen" is a bit overlong, and there is little to keep your attention in the film's final moments - nothing trumps the scene where David Warner is decapitated by a huge sheet of glass, and that scene kicks off the final sequence of events. Other than that, no complaints - the acting, the score and the script are all fantastic.

Why We Like It: Like many horror films from my childhood, this movie scared me shitless. I had a habit of watching movies I should probably not have watched until I was much older and this is one of them. In fact it had me convinced that I bore the Mark of Satan somewhere on my body and even asked my mother to take a look once. Remarkably she did. Maybe she had similar fears.

Memorable Stuff: Yes, the movie's ending is perhaps the best scene in the film, but about halfway through there is a pivotal scene that is also quite terrifying. Peck and Warner return to the cemetery where his son's real mother - who allegedly died in childbirth - is buried. When they dig ip the grave, however, they make a shocking discovery - the bones of a jackal. Suddenly, a pack of savage dogs descends on the cemetery and attacks the duo. For whatever reason, I was always terrified of being attacked by dogs when I was a youngin', and so this scene gave me nightmares for a month. And it's still mighty scary even today.