When I was a kid the one film everyone in my neighbourhood knew as a great horror flick was The Omen. This is significant because in Nagercoil, people only knew Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee. The first English movie that ran for 50 days was Jurassic Park. Chan and James Bond did about two weeks.
Now The Omen has been remade. Saw it last week and have to say it's bad.
What made the original such a popular movie? Hard to say. But two things strike me: everybody understood the movie without the help of dialogues and everyone was horrified. Now I can't say that for Rosemary's Baby, a much better horror film from Roman Polanski. The horror in that movie, however, doesn't work on a gut level.
In the 1976 movie, Gregory Peck's struggle between a sceptical atheism and horrified belief in God seemed so real. Now, in these days of instant communication, Satan's rise to political power hardly seems possible and movie is no longer terrifying to watch. That technology has not much improved the big scenes - the murders of the nanny, the photographer and the priest - is a testimonial to the original movie's grip on our imagination.
But seize this opportunity to watch a retrospective of Gregory Peck films.
Suggested filmography: The Omen, McKenna's Gold, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Guns of Navarone, Roman Holiday, Gentleman's Agreement, Duel in the Sun, Spellbound.
A good time to read this and this too.
(Take Two is a new category that will include two minute - very short - film reviews and announcements regarding movies)