HOLLYWOOD—I was slightly wowed how great of a movie the 1976 classic “The Omen” directed by the late Richard Donner blessed the world with. You might be asking what is it about this horror flick that makes it a classic. While the title alone screams danger is headed in your direction. It’s about a couple who have been trying to have children, but continually suffer miscarriages as a result. The movie has two great actors in Gregory Peck and Lee Remick as Robert and Katherine Thorn.
Robert is an American diplomat and constantly on the move, so when Katherine is on the verge of giving birth in Rome, Katherine loses the baby unbeknownst to her. Robert decides to keep the death of their child hidden and is asked by a priest to secretly adopt a child whose mother has apparently died. That child turns out to be Damien (Harvey Spencer Stephens), the spawn of the Devil. Stephens does a stellar job at crafting evil. The looks this child gives just sends chills down the spine.
That is what works so well for “The Omen,” the movie manages to get underneath your skin with the perspective that this child is indeed the spawn of evil and the wickedness that unfolds here and the unforeseen circumstances are a tease at another franchise, “Final Destination.” The difference is that movie was about the Grim Reaper, but we’re talking evil no matter how you look at things. His nanny goes to extreme lengths to protect Damien at all costs. I mean killing people, having massive guard dogs at the child’s waist side if needed, it’s unnerving, but that is the point of the movie people, to get underneath your skin.
The script is perfectly paced, every time you think someone is going to warn Robert and Katherine about the danger lurking in their home, they are taken out by a metal pole, bad weather, a sliding sheet of glass, just the way our protagonists are taken out is vicious. It is clear the Devil’s bidding is being done and as a result people die and in violent ways. With that said the audience is placed in this weird dichotomy where the question is posed, “If you knew you had a child who was the spawn of the Devil would you kill them?
It is hard to fathom and while most people would say absolutely without a doubt, but having those attachments to the child would warp what you ‘need’ to do versus what you ‘want’ to do. Also the suspense in this movie is so intense, I mean that scene with Damien riding that bicycle in circles in that bedroom before his nanny allows him to exit and he strikes that stool knocking Katherine over the banister and forcing her to fall to the ground losing the child that she was pregnant with was absolutely bonkers.
Damien knew what he was doing and had no regret in doing it, I mean he watched his ‘mother’ cling to the banister hoping for her son to help her, but it did not transpire people. What is so scary is this flick doesn’t end on a happy note. With most horror that tends to be the case, but you have a survivor who has lived the mayhem, and that mayhem tends to be over so we think. This film has the reversal, there is a survivor, but not the person we expect and it proves in an odd way that sometimes good does not always triumph over evil. If you have not checked out the original “The Omen” it’s the perfect scare as the month of October kicks off.