OMEN IVTHE AWAKENING
Golly! OMEN III: THE FINAL CHAPTER, wasn't the final chapter after all. Why? Because the box office it did at theaters was mediocre, but eventually became profitable in home video, and so more than ample enough for television.
Back in 1991, home video was burgeoning, foreign markets were growing, DVD was unheard of, and the Internet was CompuServe. People thought they were blistering down the Internet Highway on a 16mhz computer with a 2k modem.
In other words, while your parents didn't know it yet, it was the golden age of the wired world and wireless was a joke.
Am I boring you with this trivial history yet? Good! Now you know how your kids will feel when you turn your fond memories on them, by cracky!
And you'll also be prepared for OMEN IV: THE AWAKENING. Made for Direct to Video and TV, but with an eye for theatrical release in foreign markets.
What does that mean exactly? It means that this is the first and so far only OMEN that didn't get a rating. That NOT RATED box isn't telling you that OMEN IV will have a censorious abundance of sex and violence. It is telling you that it is safe for prime time TeeVee.
I guess that means that OMEN producers, Harvey Bernhard and Mace Neufeld will really have to bring it on the story to entertain us, right?
Once again, a splinter of Catholic clergy are up to no good, insuring the safety of Satan's latest incarnation, into the infant body of a baby girl.
Once again the devil's child is adopted by a well-to-do Catholic family ('cuz Catholics are the unwitting tools of the Debil, in these flicks). Karen York (Faye Grant: V , THE JANUARY MAN, TRACES OF RED) and her husband Gene (Michael Woods: LADY BEWARE, THE HAUNTING OF SARAH HARDY, THE COLONY).
During a lunar eclipse, the younger of two nuns, Sister Yvonne (Megan Leitch: IT, SHATTERBRAIN, KNIGHT MOVES, X-FILES [TV], X-MEN: EVOLUTION [TV]), has second thoughts. An debate erupts between the young nun and the old nun - pros and cons of aborting demons, that kind of thing. The next thing you know the old nun is possibly dead and the young nun tears her clothes (TV safe) before an upside down cross.
Baby Delia gets baptized and when she does the little devil pitches a fit.
Karen and Michael take Delia away and a chorus announces the end of the baptizing priest. Whew! God just ain't there for the Catholics in this franchise, is he/she/it?
Meanwhile, a photographer catches a senator en flagrante. The next thing you know, Gene is being talked into running for congress, he does, and wins.
It must be a year or two later because Delia is walking about on her a birthday. The young nun (now nun no more) approaches the York house with a book and sees Delia in the window, chewing the face off of her doll. The nun has second thoughts and leaves.
Golly! What do you suppose will happen to that young former nun?
Nothing. This is 1990s TV movie land.
Delia runs in front of an oncoming semi truck! Gosh! What do you suppose will happen?
Nothing. This is 1990s TV movie land.
A few more years pass and an older Delia, now played by Asia Viera, gets cartoonishly bullied at school.
Gee! What do you suppose will happen to him?
He wets himself and gets laughed at by the other children. Sigh.
It's implied that the bully's Pop gets decapitated, and we see that in as safe a prime time TeeVee method as possible. There was more horrific violence in the 1970s KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER.
There was more horrific violence a few years later in the first season of THE X-FILES.
By the age of 8, Delia is menstruating (we're told) and that scares... uh... horses of all things.
Unlike Damien, who was devilishly popular among his classmates and others, Delia is a charmless outcast without friends.
Apparently that's what Producer and story writer, Harvey Bernhard, was going for this time around and that's what screenwwriter Brian Taggert (THE SPELL [TV 1977], VISITING HOURS, V [TV 1984], POLTERGEIST III) and directors Jorge Montesi (BIRDS OF PREY [TV 1985], MATRIX [TV 1993], TOTAL RECALL: THE SERIES [TV], FIRST WAVE [TV], THE OUTER LIMITS [TV 1998], MUTANT X [TV]) and Dominique Othenin-Gerard (AFTER DARKNESS, HALLOWEEN 5, NIGHT ANGEL) gave him. The idea that Delia's parents sappily tolerate her ever-increasingly violent outbursts is amazing, though Mom's nearing her breaking point.
Okay, what's next? Ah! Delia gets a new Nanny of course, Jo Theuson (Ann Hearn: MIRROR MIRROR ). This Nanny isn't about Christianity, but New Age healing crystals!
Delia is skeered of New Age healing crystals!
Nanny Jo soon finds that her drawer full of healing crystals have turned black! "Whoa! Bad Cosmic forces!"
Nanny asks her New Age friend, Noah (Jim Byrnes: HIGHLANDER [TV], THE NET [TV], HIGHLANDER: ENDGAME, X-MEN: EVOLUTION [TV], SANCTUARY [TV]), to come over and do a reading. "Ooh! That Delia! Bad vibes, man! We need to take that kid to a psychic fair!"
One day trip later and Delia freaks out the psychics at the fair with her presence. Nanny Jo tricks Delia into getting a Kirlian Polaroid (that was an instant photo back then).
"Ooh! That kid's Kirlian photograph is bad mojo, dude!"
Delia uses her mental juju and the Psychic Fair goes up in flames.
Finally, some action occurs in this flick, but it's really all one damn thing after another and it's all so pale and mediocre compared to the least of the trilogy.
Delia is a far cry from her previous incarnation as Damien. Despite the dutch tilts, Delia is simply a manipulative brat with a bad dog, driving a wedge between her parents.
In the third act (this movie has about six), a Private eye, Earl (Michael Lerner: STRANGE INVADERS, THRESHOLD, ANGUISH, VIBES, MANIAC COP 2, BARTON FINK, TALE OF THE MUMMY , GODZILLA ) is called in and the movie gets much better (we finally get some sense of powerful, horrific evil) when the movie leaves the York family and follows the Dick around. In fact, it becomes so much better that I'd be willing to bet that there was a major rewrite of the third act and that's when one of the two directors replaced the other. Then, just as it is getting good, it gets unbelievably silly!
OMEN IV: THE AWAKENING simply unfolds to reveal to us the same story we saw in THE OMEN, only without a powerful story that attracted folks in the first place.
Also bear in mind that this is supposed to happen directly after OMEN III where Jesus returns to end the reign of Satan and rule the earth. Nobody notices Jesus is ruling the earth?!?
And the Apocalypse of Revelations is going to happen a second time?
This wasn't supposed to be a reboot, but a continuation. Delia is supposed to be Damien's prophecy reborn. Instead, OMEN IV butchers the entire storyline of all the Omens that came before. Christ! OMEN IV even has the good Nanny replaced by the evil Nanny! For a movie that's only 97 minutes, OMEN IV feels a lot longer. And instead of the big reveal end to clarify things, it only serves to further muddy the waters. Gap!
What possible point could there be in making this a part of THE OMEN franchise?
In the 1990s, going through their most popular movie franchises and butchering them was 20th Century Fox's business model, and it ran an awful long time (ALIEN3, ALIEN RESURRECTION, PLANET OF THE APES ). It would be 15 years before 20th Century Fox would attempt - and fail - to reignite THE OMEN franchise again.
Faye Grant and Michael Learner's performance raises this movie to 2 barely earned Shriek Girls.
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