The Omen (1976)
Back of the box...
“American diplomat Gregory Peck adopts a baby in a Rome hospital on the night his wife (Lee Remick) has a miscarriage. Details of the child’s birth remain a secret but as the boy grows older it becomes apparent that he is no ordinary child. A priest warns that he is the son of Satan; a nanny commits suicide; a cameraman’s photographs reveal awful warnings and the numbers 666 bring about the most terrifying revelations.
A brilliantly executed thriller, one of the most popular and controversial horror movies of the 70’s.”
Director: Richard Donner
Starring: Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner
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Even if you haven’t seen The Omen, you probably already know what it’s about. The story of the demon child is so etched into the collective conscious of popular culture that it’s hard to imagine a time before it existed. Or maybe you’ve just been quoting Wayne’s World this whole time when you called people Damien?
In case you’re unfamiliar, let us bring you up to speed. Wayne and Garth are sitting on the hood of the mirth mobile and—just kidding. The Omen tells the story of American Ambassador Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck) who after a series of unfortunate deaths and ominous warnings suspects his son, Damien, of being the AntiChrist. Thorn then sets out on a journey with the scientist who made the ooze in TMNT II (David Warner) to discover the truth about Damien’s mysterious birth. Their Indiana Jones-esque trek through Europe and the Middle East hunting for clues and relics is a highlight of the movie and probably the key element that separates The Omen from its contemporaries.
Following in the footsteps of Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, The Omen is often criticised as being the lesser of the “evil kid trilogy.” Maybe that’s true, but being the lesser of those three movies is hardly an insult, consider it the Return of the Jedi of the group. Like the company it keeps, The Omen is from a bygone era in film when horror movies could be taken seriously and were even occasional Oscar contenders. It is undoubtedly a classic and deserves its place etched into our collective conscious. . . and its reference in Wayne’s World.
We couldn’t talk about The Omen without bringing up The Omen Curse! That’s right, just like Poltergeist, unforeseen forces didn’t want this movie to get made. There are differing opinions as to the credibility of the curse, even among the film’s crew, so we’ll just stick to the facts.
-Two flights containing crew from L.A. to London were struck by lightning on different days.
-IRA bombings took place throughout London while the cast and crew were there, sometimes shortly before they arrived at shooting locations.
-An airplane that had been chartered for a shoot lost control after colliding with a flock of birds and crashed into a car containing the wife and children of the pilot, killing everyone.
-After shooting a scene with lions that didn’t make the final cut, a lion escaped its enclosure, attacking and killing a guard.
-John Richardson, who did the special effects for the beheading scene, got into a head on collision that decapitated his girlfriend who was riding in the car with him at the time.
There are many other rumored curse events—feel free to look them up—but since we don’t trust IMDB or Wikipedia we stuck with incidents that we found video evidence of the crew discussing.