Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


THE CHOSEN (aka Holocaust 2000 aka Rain of Fire/1977). Director/co-writer: Alberto De Martino.

Released in theaters in 1977, this Italian film has had its name changed more than once, and resurfaced on DVD as Rain of Fire [not to be confused with Reign of Fire, which was about dragons decimating the world of the future]. It would seem for all the world like a direct imitation of Damian: Omen 2 -- there's an anti-Christ, sinister deaths and "accidents," and even a doctor cut in half -- were it not for the fact that it came out one year earlier. In any case, The Chosen was clearly influenced by The Omen (1976) and is in some ways a very loose "sequel" to that film. Robert Caine (Kirk Douglas) wants to build a thermonuclear power plant in the mid-east but there's a great deal of opposition to it, including objections from his own wife (Virginia McKenna), who is an early victim of an assassin's blade supposedly meant for Caine. In short order others who oppose the plant are killed off, even as Caine is told that the unborn child he is having with journalist Sara Golan (Agostina Belli) may be the anti-Christ. Then there's Caine's pleasant son, Angel (Simon Ward), who may be anything but. An interesting aspect of the picture is the notion that this plant may be a modern-day embodiment of a seven-headed demon with ten crowns that "will rise from the sea and destroy the world." Adolfo Celi of Thunderball, Alexander Knox [The Sleeping Tiger], and Anthony Quayle [A Study in Terror] are also in the cast. The movie is dull, poorly made and indifferently directed, although the actors, including Douglas (who appears buck naked in a dream sequence to show off what good shape he was in at 61), do the best they can with mediocre and mostly unoriginal material. A gruesome scene involves a politician and the spinning blades of a helicopter, and an unintentionally comical one has a Catholic priest attempting to mastermind an unwilling abortion! The music tries to imitate the score of The Omen without being one tenth as effective.

Verdict: Watch Damian: Omen 2 instead. *1/2.

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