While it’s pretty easy to name a good fright flick, far fewer are the films that succeed so well in terrifying audiences that they ascend to the level of horror classic. Richard Donner’s 1976 effort The Omen is undoubtedly one of the latter category, wowing both critics and audiences, and remaining a genre staple ever since. In addition to almost single-handedly spawning a horror subgenre commonly known as the “killer kid film,” The Omen also popularized the concept of the Antichrist to mainstream moviegoers, and managed to forever ensure that anyone who chooses to name their child Damien will receive bemused glances going forward.
With that level of esteem, The Omen spawning a franchise was almost inevitable, leading to the release of sequels Damien: Omen II and The Final Conflict. These follow-ups served to continue Damien’s story as the son of Satan grows older and eventually comes to terms with his biblical destiny, and were both minor hits in spite of critical scorn. The series lay dormant for awhile, before returning via a woeful 1991 made-for-TV movie entitled Omen IV: The Awakening, a sequel most now pretend doesn’t exist. The original Omen was also inevitably remade — nearly shot for shot — in 2006, turning a good profit but fading into relative obscurity almost as soon as it left theaters.
Still, it seems you can’t keep the Antichrist down, as Damien Thorn (Bradley James) is set to return to the small screen next year in a new A&E drama series Damien. Set 25 years after the events of The Omen, Damien will focus on the now 30-year-old titular satanic spawn’s return to his childhood home, and the beginning of his journey toward bringing about the apocalypse. Perhaps wisely, showrunner Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead) has chosen to retcon the prior sequels for this continuation of Damien’s story, meaning that this Damien will begin the series still in the dark about who and what he really is. Guiding his path will be Ann Rutledge (Barbara Hershey), Damien’s protector and guardian in the years since the deaths of his parents.
A&E previously released a short trailer for Damien at Comic-Con that served to get across the basic plot of the series, but the new teaser above is much more about setting a mood than telling a story. The clip features an unidentified woman falling out of a high-rise window at a rapid pace, only in reverse. When she reaches her starting point, the soon-to-be victim repeats a familiar phrase to Omen fans: “Damien, it’s all for you.”
That infamous line accompanied a horrific suicide in the original film, suggesting that the woman in the teaser is also being compelled to take her own life in service of Damien, whether he’s aware of it or not. Both the trailer and teaser drive home just how tied to the first Omen movie this show will be, unlike A&E’s fellow horror franchise adaptation Bates Motel, which takes a mostly “broad strokes” approach to adapting the material from Hitchock’s 1960 classic. Although one does wonder how Damien can take place 25 years after events that took place in 1976 when the series is clearly set in modern day.
Years ago, reviving a flagging film property on television would be seen as a risky move. After all, if audiences aren’t coming to the theater to see it, why would they want to watch it every week? However, that’s all changed as of late, with studios now seemingly tripping over themselves to bring anything with a built-in audience onto their affiliated networks. There truly has never been a better time to be a TV series based on a movie, meaning that Damien’s chances of taking over the world one flat screen at a time are definitely looking up.
Damien is set premiere on A&E in 2016, but has no firm debut date as of yet.
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