NBC has Hannibal Lecter. A&E has Norman Bates. Showtime has Frankenstein and others. Soon, even Jason Voorhees is getting his own TV show. So it should surprise exactly no one that Lifetime is getting into the classic horror game with former The Walking Dead showrunner for – get this – Damien, a sequel of sorts to Richard Donner’s devilish 1976 thriller The Omen which apparently has nothing to do with Don Taylor’s 1978 sequel Damien: Omen II. None of the words in that sentence should ever fit together, and yet here we are.
Perhaps inspired by NBC’s recent Rosemary’s Baby miniseries, Lifetime is brave enough to look potential backlashes in the face with this complete departure from the original franchise, or whatever it ended up becoming. Mazzara will write the screenplay for the project, and will also executive produce through his 44 Strong Productions company, through his overall deal with Fox Television Studios. (Wait, even Fox didn’t want to take this on?)
The Omen was essentially all about the realization that a family’s young son, Damien Thorn, was an incarnation of the Antichrist, discovered through the awful deaths of those around him. According to THR, Lifetime’s horrorish drama will focus on Damien as an adult who is haunted by his past and is once again at the center of a series of cataclysmic events, thus forcing him to finally come to grips with being Satan. How in God’s name – or not in it at all – did Damien make it through another 20 or 30 years without that whole Antichrist thing coming up every few minutes? Maybe Mazzara will answer some of those questions for us.
Honestly, the idea inspires this reaction, but I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt for now.
Mazzara, who also wrote and produced for quality series like The Shield and Life, was a big part of how The Walking Dead turned into a cable ratings juggernaut, though his time there ended rather unamicably. And this isn’t the only classic he’s messing with, as he’s also scripting Overlook Hotel, a prequel to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, itself based on Stephen King’s novel. No pressure, Mazzara! You can’t really do a lot worse than the 2005 Omen remake.
Interestingly enough, THR doesn’t actually make any references as to whether or not this is a series, a miniseries, or an original movie. The following tweet from Mazzara himself is technically the only thing we have to go on.
Either way it goes, it’s an ambitious project for a network more known for centering dramas on battered women and Lizzie Borden. Maybe next they’d like to tell the story of Nancy from Nightmare on Elm Street.