The Omen

Can I tell you how excited I was when Stacie Ponder chose The Omen for Final Girl Film Club? This is one of my favorite movies ever and I’m glad that I finally have a chance to write about it.


The movie opens with Ambassador Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck, who came out of retirement to be in this movie) in Rome, finding out that his son has died just after being born. He’s devastated and worried about his wife’s emotional well-being, he accepts the suggestion of Father Spilleto (Martin Benson) that he adopt another child whose mother also died. Thorn takes the child and never tells his wife, Katherine (Lee Remick) his true identity.
We see the years pass and they live happily until Thorn is named the U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain. It’s at the child, Damien’s (Harvey Stephens), fifth birthday when his nanny gleefully hangs herself. Afterwards, a mysterious woman shows up as his new nanny, Mrs. Baylock (Billie Whitelaw), insisting that “the agency” sent her after hearing about the death of their original nanny. You can tell this movie was made in the seventies because twentieth century parents would be freaking out if mysterious strangers showed up claiming to be the nanny.
There are other signs that Damien may not be normal. Animals are scared of him and him and Katherine are violently attacked by baboons at the zoo. Yet, a mysterious huge rottweiler shows up and bonds with Damien.
Father Brennan (Patrick Troughton) starts following Thorn, insisting that Damien is the Antichrist and that he must go to Megiddo to learn how to fight him. Thorn dismisses him until Father Brennan tells Thorn that his wife is pregnant and Damien won’t allow the child to be born. Part of why I dislike the remake is because the people cast as Robert and Katherine were way too young. In the original, you can see that they’re an older couple and this may be their last chance to have biological children. That’s why Thorn is willing to accept the lie about who his son really is and why he’s so desperate for Katherine to have this child.
Keith Jennings (David Warner, oh my god it’s Beydool/Vultaire from that Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode Quest of the Delta Knights!), a photographer, meets with Thorn after Father Brennan is killed in a freak impalement. He photographed the nanny before she died at Damien’s party and she had this weird shadow across her neck. Brennan also had this strange shadow where he’d eventually be impaled.
Katherine confesses her pregnancy to Thorn and tells him she doesn’t want to have the baby and that she’s having irrational thoughts about Damien. Damien eventually pushes Katherine off of a balcony and she miscarries. The rest of the movie is basically Thorn and Jennings trying to find out how to destroy Damien.
My personal favorite scene in the movie is when Jennings and Thorn are in the Etruscan cemetery trying to find the body of the woman who gave birth to Damien. They find a jackal in the woman’s grave and they find Thorn’s baby son in her son’s grave, with his head bashed in. This was all a scam perpetrated by Satanists to ensure the Antichrist would be cared for!
Jeez, I love this movie. It’s so atmospheric and creepy. The actors give really terrific performances, especially little Harvey Stephens. Apparently, he was cast because he attacked the director best in an audition that simulated the scene where Damien freaks out at a church wedding. He has very few lines but manages to seem ominous, especially in the very last scene.
Can we take a minute to talk about the Polish movie poster for The Omen?

Polish movie posters of the Soviet era are notoriously insane and gorgeous.
Past Film Club Offerings
Children of the Corn
Twitch of the Death Nerve/A Bay of Blood
The Initiation
Maniac
Cold Prey
Frozen
The Funhouse
Onibaba
Hellbound

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About scarina

I like scary movies a little too much. I thought I'd share my obsession with you.
This entry was posted in 1970's, cults, film club, satanism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to The Omen

  1. vinnieh says:

    Great post, that scene when the baboons attack is so creepy.

  2. Amiee says:

    I always the hanging nanny most creepy (in a movie with a lot of creeps!) and the jackal of course, giving me goosebumps.

    • scarina says:

      It’s how gleeful the nanny is about hanging herself. That’s what makes it creepy. In h.s., I remember breaking into this old, old cemetery at night (Because that’s what you do when you live in NJ) & thinking it was like the Etruscan cemetery. Although America really doesn’t have anything that dates back to the Etruscan era, maybe burial mounds.

  3. Amiee says:

    *always found

  4. Crypticpsych says:

    And now, a selection of glorious Polish horror posters:
    Alien- http://pixel.nymag.com/imgs/daily/vulture/2012/10/30/aliens-polish.o.jpg/a_560x0.jpg
    Young Frankenstein- http://pixel.nymag.com/imgs/daily/vulture/2012/10/30/young-freankenstein-polish.o.jpg/a_560x0.jpg
    Cronenberg’s The Fly- http://pixel.nymag.com/imgs/daily/vulture/2012/10/30/the-fly-polish.o.jpg/a_560x0.jpg
    The Birds- http://pixel.nymag.com/imgs/daily/vulture/2012/10/30/the-birds-polish.o.jpg/a_560x0.jpg

    (all from this page: http://www.vulture.com/2012/10/polish-horror-movie-posters-are-the-craziest-horror-movie-posters.html)

    As for me, I actually didn’t like The Omen the first time I saw it…I thought it was boring, I wasn’t paying enough attention to it…I just didn’t get it. Fast forward and I watched it again and have loved it ever since to the point I really have absolutely no desire to watch the remake…I do want to watch the rest of the series though. I’ve heard it gets really weird and crazy. Damian in a military school and in politics and such.

    David Warner for me is always the scientist from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 for the record. Nice guy, too, when I met him in May. Harvey Stephens was pretty cool too when he did a rare convention appearance though the convention screwed him by shoehorning him into a panel on Return of the Living Dead just to give him a panel. No one asked him anything the whole time until right near the end when someone asked him a question, he answered and then told the guy he was going to go have a drink with him right after since he’d finally asked him a question. Sad that he got treated like that really.

    • scarina says:

      I can definitely see why people would think that about The Omen. I’ve heard people say the same thing about The Exorcist.
      Thanks for the links to the Polish movie posters! I love looking at the artwork of that era. I read somewhere that artists really looking to express themselves without a lot of risk during the Soviet era could get good work doing movie posters for American releases.
      I didn’t know David Warner was in TMNT2! I have to go back and watch that now. That story about Harvey Stephens is so sad, though. I want to hear ALL of his stories about filming The Omen. Can I drink with you, Harvey Stephens!? My friend has an amazing Damien tattoo & I know she’d be down with drinking with him too.

    • scarina says:

      I love that Aliens poster so much! It is so, so creepy.

  5. Crypticpsych says:

    PS: Just for the Hell of it, Polish poster for The Muppet Movie. http://meansheets.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/the-muppet-movie-swierzy-polish-movie-poster.jpg

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