Fri, Jun 09, 2006 - Page 17 News List

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It is a poor advertisement for a church. A young boy, travelling with his parents, seems happy enough. Suddenly he spots the passing spire of a cathedral. As the building looms into view, he is thrown into a rage. He foams at the mouth and tries to bite his mother.

Last weekend it emerged that the negative connotations of this scene from the 1976 horror film The Omen have overshadowed Guildford cathedral in southern England for 30 years. Now the cathedral's dean, Victor Stock, has used the release of a remake of the film to launch a scathing attack against all those concerned.

Stock believes that The Omen should never have been produced and has urged audiences to stay away from director John Moore's new version, released on Tuesday, which stars Liev Schreiber, Julia Stiles, Michael Gambon and Pete Postlethwaite. The film follows the assimilation of the `son of the Devil,' Damien, into an ordinary family, who are soon the centre of tragic and bizarre events. The story takes its inspiration from the Bible's Book of Revelation which purportedly predicts the rise of the Antichrist.

Stock said: "It was a disaster, it should never have been done. People who were a bit thick were frightened to come into the building. If I was dean then, I never would have allowed it. After that, the damage was done.

"I'm not sure if everyone is that clued up about fact or fiction. The clergy at the time were not very savvy about culture that everyone else took for granted. With hindsight, it has been a mistake."

The dean described how the members of the cathedral's staff had to battle with locals to get them to visit after the 1976 film's director, Richard Donner, portrayed a wedding at the cathedral as the reason Damien was thrown into a rage. He said: "It was terribly difficult. You had to deal with people personally."

Wedding Crashers, a comedy about two skirt-chasing bachelors, dominated the MTV Movie Awards on Saturday, taking home three awards, including best movie.

Another film about two men, the Oscar-winning gay romance Brokeback Mountain, won the second-highest number of awards -- including best kiss for actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger and best performance for Gyllenhaal.

The two wins by Brokeback were rare for a critically acclaimed movie at the offbeat awards show, which lets MTV viewers choose the winners and is known for thumbing its nose at more high-brow ceremonies with categories like best fight, statues of golden popcorn and shameless plugs for upcoming summer blockbusters.

Gyllenhaal kept the mood light when accepting the award for best kiss by keeping a wide distance between himself and the award's male presenter, singer Justin Timberlake, while the two shook hands. He gave actress Eva Mendes, the co-presenter, a peck on the cheek.

In addition to the top award, Wedding Crashers stars Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn took home the popcorn bucket for best on-screen team and actress Isla Fisher won best breakthrough performance for her role as Vaughn's sex-crazed love interest.

The show featured a hearty helping of irreverence. Steve Carell, who won best comedic performance for his starring role in The 40-Year Old Virgin, poked fun at awards show acceptance speeches by thanking a string of historic figures.

"Gandhi and the Dalai Lama, if I had any familiarity with your teachings I would not be the person I am today," Carell said.

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