Plowerplay: Sometimes mistakenly attributed to Pieter Brueghel the Elder, this photograph from Toronto circa 1909 shows workmen and a shinny crowd at a city park that could be (says Toronto Archives) either Ossington Avenue Park, Willowvale Park, or Christie Pits.
(Image: City of Toronto Archives, William James family fonds, Fonds 1244, Item 460A)
“We’re coming,” Joe shouted. “Don’t be afraid.” And as he skated he tried to remember all he had learned at Scout meetings about rescuing people who broke through the ice.
“It’s lucky I have this hockey stick,” he thought, for as he drew nearer the terror-stricken child and felt the thinner ice begin to crack beneath him, he carefully went down flat on his stomach and held the stick out in front of him, pushing it slowly closer and closer to the hole. Once his heart was in his mouth, for the little red head disappeared and he was terrified lest the current should sweep the child under the ice, beyond all hope of rescue. The little boy was plainly growing weaker, but even such feeble attempts as he was able to make to clamber out of the hole kept breaking the ice around him.
At last Joe shoved the hockey stick close enough. “Hang on,” he pleaded. “Hang on to the stick. Just grab it with both hands and Joe will pull you out all right.” He kept his voice calm so the frightened, freezing child who had been sobbing piteously and thrashing into deeper danger in his panic, quieted for a moment — long enough to notice the stout stick on the jagged ice in front of him.
• Skating Today (1945), M.R. Renick, illustrated by Raymond Vartanian
In Damien: Omen II, the dubious appeal of the original — a toddler turns out to be the son of the devil — is missing. The sequel takes place approximately seven years later and the toddler is now a teenage brat. Frankly, there’s nothing particularly surprising or horrifying about a teenager in league with the devil. Also, the commotion the kid inspires this time is not particularly frightening. A crow eats an old woman. Big deal.
• Gene Siskel, The Chicago Tribune, July 6, 1978
Before Damien has finished this time, there have been approximately a dozen new victims, a couple of whom have succumbed to what appears to be internal disorders while others have been sliced in half, stabbed, burned, impaled, gassed, pecked (by a nasty crow) and in the film’s most inspired moment of cinematic nonsense, drowned beneath the clear ice of a Wisconsin lake.
• Vincent Canby, The New York Times, June 10, 1978
Chilliest of the horror sequences — imaginatively achieved — a drowning scene during an ice hockey game.
• Bernie Harrison, The Washington Star, February 5, 1980