Film The First Omen fearlessly features graphic female bodies

Film The First Omen fearlessly features graphic female bodies

LOS ANGELES--For “The First Omen” director Arkasha Stevenson, it was imperative to create a fearsome film focused on female body horror, including graphic birthing scenes. “It was really important to us to not shy away from the imagery of the female body,” Stevenson told Reuters, ahead of the film's premiere in theaters on Friday. Her vision almost did not materialize, however, when a birthing scene showing a woman’s vagina was almost taken out. The graphic scene is what turned the film’s rating from NC-17 to R due to the body imagery. It was vital to Stevenson to keep the scene and the R-rating for a chance to boldly depict a woman's body. “The shot really encapsulated the themes of the film for us, and we felt that without this image, the film would be a lesser version of itself,” she added. The “Legion” director finds that body horror helps her reconnect with her body and serves as a reminder that every person’s body is their own, especially for women often taught to disassociate with their own physical forms. 20th Century Studios' “The First Omen” follows Margaret, an American woman training to become a nun at a church in Rome who discovers a dark secret that catalyzes the birth of the antichrist. The film serves as a prequel to the 1976 horror cult-classic “The Omen” and is the sixth film in the franchise, including three sequels that explore the devilish antichrist child named Damien. Exploring femininity and grotesque imagery was also something that Nell Tiger Free, who portrays Margaret, embraced. “Having female-led horror is a wonderful thing to see, and we’re seeing more of it now, which is great," she told Reuters adding that having a female director and a female protagonist was a "nice combination work-wise." Free felt like she and Stevenson, who both grew up watching “The Omen” films, were in sync from the get-go when they began working on the prequel film. “I trusted her straightaway,” the “Game of Thrones” actor said. Joining the franchise that both she and Stevenson admire helped Free immerse herself not only in the role of Margaret, but also “The Omen” storyline. “It felt like a big honour to be part of the lore now, part of the legend,” she said.

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