David Seltzer’s novelization of his screenplay for the 1976 movie THE OMEN, which starred Gregory Peck and Lee Remick as the unfortunate parent’s of the devil’s son, is being re-released in May to coincide with THE OMEN 666, the latest movie in the franchise, which includes three theatrical films and two TV movies (one of which was a pilot for a weekly series). This news is worth reporting because it’s not often that novelizations get re-released — certainly not thirty years after they were last in print. The shelf-life of a novelization is even shorter than most mass-market paperbacks and usually disappear as soon as the movie its based on falls out of theatrical release…if not earlier.
(Thanks to Bookgasm for the heads-up)
6 thoughts on “The Omen Lives Again!”
I’ve a 30-year-old copy of Delos W Lovelace’s KING KONG novelisation which was first published about 40 years before that… they reissued it when the Jeff Bridges remake came out and they just reissued it again this year to coincide with the Peter Jackson version.
It’s been a long time since I read it, but my recall is that it’s a pretty good job.
Novelizations, I guzzled those things like soda pop back when I was a kid. Since theatrical releases were more regional than wide (that began to change with Jaws) novelizations of movies would litter the shelves, being a cheap way to market the movie. Many low to modest budget independent movies were novelized (something almost unheard of today) – a few I remember and/or read/have: Dark Star, Halloween, The Fog, Escape from New York, Vice Squad, The Funhouse (by a slumming Dean Koontiz, no less), The Boogens, Final Exam, Kingdom of the Spiders, Grizzly, Day of the Animals, and The Dark, to name only a very, very few. I still have my novelization of The Car, which will have to be pried from my cold, dead hands. (That reminds me, I need to re-read and review that on my blog.)
Seltzer also wrote a novelization of his Giant Mutant Sausage Bear movie, Prophecy. Read that one, as well.
As far as the longevity of novelizations goes, their being nothing more than marketing tools, yeah, real short shelf life. I think only the Star Wars novelizations have been republished with any kind of regularity. Perhaps some of the Star Trek adaptations as well.
I still consider Alan Dean Foster to be the King of Movie Novelizations. There seemed a time when, if it was big summer science-fiction/fantasy movie, then Foster would novelize it.
Am I the only one who is really sick of revivals and spin offs and TV shows being made into movies?
Am I the only fool who longs for something — if not original — at least new?
Nostalgia is great, but enough is enough.
When I was a kid, before we got our first VCR, novelizations were the way to revisit a film or TV show, or to catch something we missed in the theater. I read Alan Dean Foster’s novelization of Alien like six times before I ever got to see the film.
I LOVED “The Omen” novelizations as a kid. Wasn’t allowed to see the movie so I devoured that thing! I’m psyched the series is back. I’m such a geek.
In general, novelizations (as opposed to original novels set in the fictional universes) seem anachronisms, left over from the times when (as the comments above point out) movies weren’t available inexpensively on video and non-movie-plex theatres limited regional access to movies. The exceptions are where a particularly interesting choice of author lends a new perspective to the film. Examples include Burl Barer’s Saint novelization, and the recent spate of superhero film novelizations written by comics writers/novelists known for the character (Denny O’Neil for Batman Begins; Chris Claremont for X2; Peter David for Spider-Man and The Hulk).