MEGIDDO: THE OMEGA CODE 2
If The Omega Code was an attempt to conduct a version of The Omen (1976) that more accurately reflected the Christian interpretations of the Book of Revelations, then Megiddo is surely the series equivalent of Damien: Omen II (1978). It follows the life of the teenage Anti-Christ and, more importantly, parallels Omen II in terms of having a number of scenes set in a military academy where the young Anti-Christ comes into recognition of his powers. On the other hand, Megiddo is a head-scratcher in terms of trying to work out how exactly it fits in to the chronology established by The Omega Code. For one, there is a considerable change in the nature of Michael Yorks central character Stone Alexander the only character to appear in both films. In the first film, Alexander was someone who became the Anti-Christ after deciding to enact the Biblical prophecies; here he is now a clichéd evil child who has his diabolic destiny spelt out for him from birth. Furthermore, the first film had Alexander killed off before he was able to bring about the Biblical End of the World, while this film has him mounting the battle of Armageddon (clearly the result of the film being afforded a much larger budget). Also, the first film where Alexander was killed was set on the eve of the millennium, while this takes place in the year 2011. Not to mention a few factual inaccuracies that pop up, such as having Alexander becoming the President of the European Union in 1976, when the European Union wasnt even formed until 1992. (Moreover, the Presidency of the European Union was, up until the Lisbon Treaty in 2007, not a standing position but a role that was rotated among the prime ministers of its various constituent countries).
By and large, Megiddo seems less interested in the clearly prosthelytic mission that Omega Code was fired up by it has little concern with depicting the actuality of the Biblical prophecies and diverts off more into conducting itself along the lines of the clichés of the End Times horror film a la The Omen and imitators. Thus the Anti-Christ comes accompanied by sinister lackeys, engages in secret occult rituals, is surrounded by demonic shadow creatures, has some interesting novelty effects of being able to produce locust swarms from his mouth and flare-ups of flame from fireplaces, not to mention the arsenal of novelty (albeit PG-rated) deaths a paintball gun pellet that turns into a real bullet wound and a cardiac infarction-inducing handshake. By comparison, the original was not at all interested in effects, novelty deaths or the horror element. The film also takes the opportunity of a bigger budget to go on location in Italy and maximizes the scenery to gorgeous effect during the early scenes. Certainly, in terms of writing, Megiddo falls into the odious political outlook of the Christian Right the Anti-Christs ideals are ones that are directly opposed to notions of American freedom and democracy (where by implication the American way of life is one that is following the true Christian path).
The direction of Megiddo has been handed over to Australian émigré Brian Trenchard-Smith. Brian Trenchard-Smith emerged out of Australian exploitation cinema in the 1970s. He once made a couple of good films, the childrens film Frog Dreaming/The Quest (1986) and the futuristic social satire Dead-End Drive-In (1986), but following his emigration to the US, he turned out several excruciatingly campy horror films, Night of the Demons 2 (1994), Leprechaun 3 (1995) and Leprechaun 4: Leprechaun in Space (1996). One isnt sure whether Trenchard-Smith signed on here out of personal religious convictions he did after all make Night of the Demons 2, which was supposedly designed as a message film for the Catholics or simply as a hired gun. To his credit, Trenchard-Smith plays the show seriously. Unfortunately, his time served making Leprechaun sequels has had its effect and Megiddo is terrible.
A large part of Megiddos terribleness is down to the unrestrained bad acting of Michael York. With his pained and elocuted over-enunciation, York is an actor who seemed to rise to a level of skill that he clearly wasnt up to by being cast in heroic roles in the 1970s but was then relegated to much supporting B villainy in the 1990s and beyond. Michael York also takes a co-producer credit on Megiddo and this has allowed him the opportunity to let out all stops. Alas, when he is trying to act evil, Yorks performance descends into hammy posturing. The speeches he delivers are ridiculous and Stone has zero threat as a character. It is a performance of ludicrous posturing. Diane Venora is not much better as his wife, which she plays as the cliché of an Italian hausfrau. In both cases, the younger actors that portray either role during the early scenes, Noah Huntley and Elisa Scialpi, give far better performances than the adults. A clearly slumming Michael Biehn at least gives his customary intensity in the nominal hero role.
In genre material, Brian Trenchard-Smith previously directed the terrible future prison film Turkey Shoot (1983), the quite good future satire Dead-End Drive-In (1986), the worthwhile Aboriginal childrens ghost story Frog Dreaming/The Quest (1986). he later went to the USA to make a host of bad films Night of the Demons 2 (1994), Leprechaun 3 (1995), Leprechaun 4: Leprechaun in Space (1996), Tyrannosaurus Azteca (2007), the environmental catastrophe film Arctic Blast (2010) and various tv movies including the alien abduction film Official Denial (1994), the meteor collision film Doomsday Rock (1997), Atomic Dog (1998) about a mutant dog, the haunted house film Sightings: Heartland Ghost (2002) and the plague film The Paradise Virus (2003). Trenchard-Smith has also produced the monster movie Blood Tide (1982), Demonstone (1990), Malibu Shark Attack (2009) and the remake of Turkey Shoot (2014)
(Winner in this sites Worst Films of 2001 list).
Full film available online here:-