The Omen (1976)

For my third film in the 2015 edition of 31 Movies in 31 Days is The Omen from 1976. It’s also the third film I’ve watched in a row set outside of the United States and the second to be remade thirty years later.

The Czech poster for The Omen with their alternate title “Satan is Coming”

There probably isn’t much to say about The Omen that hasn’t been said before. It’s brilliant. The score is masterful and terrifying all on its own. The acting is quality all around. It’s directed masterfully. It’s one of the best horror films I have ever seen.

Perhaps my favorite part of it all was that there’s always this lingering doubt among the characters that Damien was in fact the Devil. This keeps the film very grounded in reality, and makes the actions of those within the film conceivable. Once they display without a doubt in their minds that Damien is evil, that’s when they die. (The priest, the mother, the photographer, and the ambassador all did this). It does make for an interesting thought if you assume that all of the characters have gone mad (including the nanny), and Damien is in fact just a regular child.

Just a regular kid who likes bikes and dogs.

The Omen featured two excellent supporting performances from two actors that I’ve admired in other roles. The first, Patrick Troughton, best known as the Second Doctor in Doctor Who, was terrifying and ominous. Despite him being possibly my favorite classic Doctor, it took me a while to recognize him, as his appearance and performance was vastly different compared to what I know him from. The second was David Warner, from TRON, Batman: The Animated SeriesTMNT II: Secret of the Ooze, and several others. (He’s also appeared in Doctor Who, though his appearance was in the newer series.) His role was a bigger one than I expected, and he owns every bit of screen time he is present for. It’s hard to say of the two, which death was more gruesome, but neither were as shocking as the death of the original nanny.

MS Paint depiction of how it went down

My MS Paint depiction of how it went down

The film also featured one of the coolest shots I have seen in a while. In the beginning, in the nursery, the doctor, future ambassador, and nurse holding the newborn are all looking at the baby through reflective glass, and all of their faces are visible in a triangle. Man. What a cool shot. Here, look at it!

Look at how amazing this is.

My only regret with The Omen is that I didn’t see it when I was younger and more apt to be afraid. Still, it’s nice to know that there are classics all around that I haven’t made it around to watching. I enjoyed it thoroughly from beginning to end and am still running it over in my mind today. From Billie Whitelaw‘s Nurse Ratched-esque performance to legendary Gregory Peck‘s emergence from retirement, to Richard Donner convincing me yet again that Superman II should never have been taken away from him, The Omen will go down as one of my favorite horror films. I give it 4.8 severed lego arms out of 5.

That's pretty close to perfect.

That’s pretty close to perfect.


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