The Omen Pentology (1976 - 2006)
By: Mr Intolerance on April 18, 2009  | 
DVD
20th Century Fox (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 2.35:1, 1.85:1. English DD 5.1, English DTS 5.1, English DD 2.0. 512 minutes
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Richard Donner; Don Taylor; Graham Baker; Jorge Montesi; Dominique Othenin-Gerard; John Moore
Starring: Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Billie Whitelaw, Patrick Troughton, Leo McKern; William Holden, Lee Grant, Robert Foxworth, Nicholas Pryor, Lew Ayres, Sylvia Sidney, Lucas Donat, Jonathan Scott-Taylor, Lance Henriksen; Sam Neill, Rossano Brazzi, Don Gordon, Lisa Harrow, Barnaby Holm; Faye Grant, Michael Woods, Michael Lerner, Asia Vieria; Julia Stiles, Liev Schreiber, Mia Farrow, David Thewlis, Pete Postlethwaite, Michael Gambon, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick
Country: USA
External Links
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"Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is 666."

Book of Revelations Chapter 13 Verse 18

One of horror's seminal masterpieces, The Omen pulls no punches and really offers some good scares. Robert Thorn (the always impressive Gregory Peck, who brings so much class and gravitas to the movie) is a US ambassador whose wife Kathy (Remick) is going through a difficult pregnancy. The child is stillborn, and Thorn has one of those moments of temptation we all really wish we were strong enough to avoid. He accepts a child, Damien, into his house who isn't his – it's the Anti-Christ, basically – and the next two hours will show you why this cuckoo in human form should have been killed at birth.

Opening to the strains of a tune that sounds like the one Ozzy Osbourne used as his intro tape at gigs for years to come (check out the Randy Rhoads tribute record if you disbelieve me), what I love about The Omen is that it never tries to leaven its impact with any kind of levity – it's a movie that wants to frighten you, and knows that if it takes the pedal off the metal, that ain't gonna happen. Even the soundtrack is scary, and I mean that – grandiose, Wagnerian and evil.

Rome: 6 am the 6th of June (Iron Maiden fans would get the significance – it's the Number of the Beast, people!) and ambassador Robert Thorn's wife has given birth to a stillborn child. Now she doesn't know it, but Thorn has taken a parent-less child in his own dead child's stead, and thus brought the son of Satan into the world of international politics – the Devil certainly is willing to bide his time and achieve his aims, and use the tools of God (mercy, compassion) to do so. The priest who offers Thorn the baby even states that it's a gift from God – how wrong he is…

A couple of years pass, and Thorn is appointed ambassador to the UK, inching Damien ever closer to the seat of world power, Thorn having an eye for the main chance to the US presidency, and the UK embassy is a glamour job on the way up. A photo montage later, and Damien's a year or two older, celebrating a birthday and generally being the creepy child we're all scared of (oh yeah? Seen The Bad Seed lately?). A black dog – the Devil? The Devil's messenger? We're never sure, but Damien seems to like him well enough – tells Damien's nanny to hurl herself off the roof, attached by her neck to a rope in a genuinely shocking scene the re-make never equalled, despite being nastier, and photographer Keith Jennings (the always brilliant David Warner, one of my very favourite actors) starts getting curious as to what the fuck's going on.

At the same time, Father Brennan (Patrick Troughton, the second Doctor Who!) turns up in Thorn's office from Rome. He's not exactly the bearer of glad tidings. Brennan seems like an absolute nutter – but, despite his fervent Catholicism, he knows the score completely, and in one of those crucial moments we all lament over later, Thorn dismissively, possibly guiltily, ignores him.

Our photographer friend, Jennings, has also noticed some…abnormalities in pictures he's been developing recently, since his interest in the good ambassador has been piqued. I think Father Brennan's days might well be numbered. And out of nowhere, Mrs Baylock, satanic nanny from hell, turns up to look after Damien. She is a nasty piece of work – think Mrs Danvers from Rebecca, but with a more openly explicit homicidal streak.

Damien suffers the mother of all tantrums, violently attacking his mother, when taken to church for a wedding (if the violence of this episode should indicate who God favours, the Episcopalians are the one true faith, folks!), which finally sets the alarm bells ringing with Thorn – I guess we can't expect too much from Captain Ahab, but I expected a lot more from Atticus Finch (if you don't know what I'm talking about, you don't watch enough movies – and you haven't seen Peck's best roles).

Mrs Baylock has taken the black dog we saw earlier (it's a Rottweiler, and a mean-looking bastard, at that) into the house – Thorne is not best pleased by this, despite Mrs B's claims that Damien loves the beast, and wants the ornery thing gone. Damien's odd relationship with animals is further compounded by his trip to the zoo. The giraffes can't fuck off quickly enough, and the mandrills – savage bastards to a man – are rankly terrified of him – this is not a kid who's going to find it easy to get on in life around our four-footed chums, to put it mildly.

Father Brennan has taken to hanging around Thorn's house, abjectly scared of the boy, and our photographer chum has maintained a steady interest in the Thorn family, too. Brennan delivers a mandate to Thorn – go to the ancient town of Megiddo (it's where the word "Armageddon" comes from) and get the means by which to kill Damien, or we're all fucked, basically. Satan isn't too keen on this knowledge being abroad, wanting his hellspawn to conquer the world, and Brennan suffers accordingly. There's one new martyr in the heavens tonight.

And Thorn needs to seriously look at what's going on at home, 'cos Kathy's not doing all that well, and Damien's not the loveable precocious brat he might first have seemed. Badness is going on. Might seem a weird moment for a trip, but Brennan's advice about Megiddo might well be the best way forward.

Kathy's laid-up in hospital due to some Damien-related carnage, and Jennings is on the phone wanting to meet up. You don't ignore a call from David Warner. Thorn and the rather unlucky photographer travel to Rome to find out what the hell's going on. It's not good, and we find out that Damien was born of a jackal, and that he is indeed, the son of Satan. That ain't good!

Thorn and Jennings are set upon by a pack of Rottweilers in a cemetery, having proven that Thorn's original kid was murdered at the moment of his birth – the skull is pretty convincingly stove in – and in terms of great cinematography, it's not a bad piece of work. This movie just gets colder and grimmer.

Leo McKern turns up at this point as an archaeologist armed with the seven daggers of Megiddo, the only weapons that will properly wipe Damien out forever, killing him spiritually as well as physically, Megiddo being the birthplace of Christianity. This is not a pleasant thought, nailing a small child to the ground (and it must be in a church) with a half dozen daggers. This is, however, Thorn's immediate future. Infanticide does tend to put the kibosh on Presidential hopes and dreams, you understand. Hey, I'd still vote for Gregory Peck, even despite his role as Josef Mengele in The Boys From Brazil… Jennings comes to a rather spectacularly sticky end, and Thorn becomes a one-man AntiChrist-killing machine.

The performances are excellent, particularly Troughton, Warner and Peck. The film itself is a little flabby, and could have been trimmed quite substantially – when I hit the 90 minute mark, I was checking my watch quite frequently. Regardless, this is one of the most iconic horror film s there is, and shame on you if it's not in your collection. I love watching films from back in the day when horror films weren't full of cheap gags, over-sexed teens, or when they weren't reliant on buckets of gore to scare people. A genuinely eerie film with frights galore.

Damien: The Omen 2

A week after the events of the end of the first film, and we're led, rather frenetically, by Leo McKern, reprising the same role as before to buddy of his about a recently uncovered wall in Megiddo, which depicts 4 stages of the AntiChrist's life, Damien's current visage being one of them.

Spin on a few years with a scene change to Chicago, and Damien, now 12 years old, has been taken in by his aunt and uncle (William Holden, folks! One of cinema's best drinkers – he was in The Wild Bunch, for fuck's sake – have you not seen it?). These Thorns aren't too much more cluey than the original pair, and haven't quite realised that they have adopted the AntiChrist. Wake up you idiots!!! Weird old Aunt Marion wants Damien and Mark (Damien's cousin) away from each other, seeing Damien as a bad influence, but they're both at the same military academy, and neither Richard (Holden) nor his wife Anne (Grant) are having anything to do with the matter.

Weird old Aunt Marion buys the farm, under suspicious circumstances, and the boys head back to Davidson Military Academy, to be ruled over by Sergeant Neff (the always cool Lance Henriksen), who just happens to be Damien's satanic guardian, much like the late and unlamented Mrs Baylock from the first film. Damien seemed remarkably self-aware as the son of the Arch-Fiend in the first film, but equally remarkably un-self-aware in this sequel. What the fuck's with that? Does he know he's the son of the Devil, or not?

Anyhoo, Thorn gets into his limo with a journalist, Ms Hart, who tries warning him about the dangers he's in, but he ain't listening to a word of it. Ms Hart has seen the wall, and is terrified for a number of peoples' lives. Some people, however, are stupid, and don't listen. Not only does Ms Hart come to a nasty end, via some crows, which seem to serve the same purpose as the Rottweilers in the first film, but Bill, one of Thorn's friends and business partners, is lead to his death in the film's most memorable set-piece with his being trapped under ice. This is one cinematic moment which, when I saw it as a young tacker, terrified me to the bone. Y'know how when you're an older fella, you try to re-capture the things that scared you as a kid? This one still works for me. The panic emoted by being trapped under a sheet of ice – it's pretty fucking nasty. And (and no pun intended at all) it's cold and grim.

Damien's back at school again and showing off like a smart-arse. I guess when you're the son of the second most powerful being in the Universe, you'd do that. Neff takes the boy aside, and has a word with him, and this is where I experience a bit of an issue with this film. In the first movie, Damien seems very well aware of what he is. In this film he's utterly mystified. In the third he's very clear on where the power's coming from. Any issues? It stands out, and it's not just teenage identity-crisis. Continuity problems are irritating.

Damien works out he's packing the Number of the Beast writ large as a birthmark under his scalp (and if he was the singer in a black metal band, that'd be the most awesome thing in the world), and it's a bit of an eye-opener for him. Not all that surprising, really. Damien and his class go on a field trip to Thorn Industries, and Damien gets to see the workings of the pesky P84 computer, which is causing oh-so-many problems, including the gassing to death of its workers, and the near-death gassing of many of Damien's classmates.

One of Damien's doctors discovers something he oughtn't, and things pick up pace – rapidamento. This leads to the second-most memorable set piece in the film – death via elevator cable and counter-weight. Not nice, to put it mildly.

Those seven daggers of Megiddo turn up again (I would've thought they would've been gathering dust in a police evidence room somewhere in England, but there you go), and after yet another tragic death, and the final nail in Damien's innocence (or likeability, for that matter) it seems that Damien has to die. Yep, it's time for the apocalypse, and now! Does Damien die? Or does the AntiChrist have more lives left in him?

Neither of these first two films has any kind of flash special effects, the Devil never turns up with horns and a tail, wreathed in flames, Damien doesn't transform into some Balrog-like being – I like that, it aids credibility and brings the horror back to the characterisation. And the performances are quite fine – Holden is quite good, and of special note. I guarantee you won't spot the ending. That's a good thing, because otherwise all we'd be looking at would be a bit of a redux of the first, only with an older antagonist.

The Omen 3 – The Final Conflict (1981)

Damien has grown up and turned into Sam Neill. He's also got himself further in to the business of both of his fathers – US Ambassador to England with an eye to the Presidency on one hand, usurping power for the purposes of ultimate evil on the other. Thorn Industries, under Damien's care and control, has become a massive global success, even more than it was under Uncle Richard's. But he wants to be on hand in England, as that, as alluded to in the Book of Hebron, is where the Second Coming of Christ will be. And it's imminent.

At the same time, the daggers of Megiddo have been found, dug out of the ruins of the museum they were buried in at the end of the second film, and find their way to Italy, and into the hands of some monks out to stop the AntiChrist once and for all.

Damien becomes Ambassador and President of the United Nations Youth Council, and heads off to Blighty, from where he's going to run his campaign of carnage and attempt to kill "the Nazarene". As this is all happening, a trinity of stars are aligning themselves in the night-sky in the constellation of Cassiopoeia, indicating the upcoming Coming. This is about the point where the film runs off the rails – the introduction of the romantic subplot between Damien and Kate Reynolds, a TV reporter. Why would the AntiChrist want to hang out with a woman and her son playing with a boat in a park? Evil plans don't just hatch themselves, you know.

The first of the monks' assassination attempts goes pretty spectacularly wrong, and Damien knows they're out there, coming for him. By showing their hand too early and alerting him to their presence, they've effectively signed their own death warrants. Mercy and compassion aren't two of Damien's more noted character traits. Damien has a special room in his house where he has a life-sized crucifix which he likes to gloat over, and have a general rant at – these sequences are some of the more effective moments in the film, if a little hyperbolic at times. These are where we're meant to see Damien's "evil" persona, rather than the façade of suave urbanity the rest of the world sees.

The alignment takes place, much to Damien's mortification, which means Jesus has come back to earth. Damien has to take steps, and so much like the Ancient Romans of old, he takes steps that some people might condemn as excessive. Step one: kill the monks – this could be seen as sensible self-defence. Step two: kill every male child born in England between midnight and dawn on the day of the alignment. Now that could be argued as being rather excessive… But thorough, certainly.

Another assassination attempt, ensues, this time while Damien's on a fox hunt. When Damien "bloods" Peter, Kate's son, it isn't fox blood, let me tell you. I suppose that Peter and Kate are introduced to add the human element to the film, but they really only serve to slow down the pace, in my opinion, although Peter is used reasonably effectively in one way – to show Damien's charisma, and the thrall into which he can put people.

This latter is even more emphasised when we see Damien addressing his private army, the Disciples of the Watch – no, don't think paramilitary uniforms and such – these "soldiers" are everyday people like you and me, from all walks of life, all ages. In a post-9/11 world, the threat of terrorism (and the hyperbolic reactions the Right display to it) suddenly heightens the paranoia of the scene. They are given their commission: "Slay the Nazarene!" And off they go to do so.

The spate of infant deaths that follows obviously captures the nation's imagination, and fear, obviously, but besides those committing the acts, only the last of the monks, Father de Carlo, knows who's behind it all. He tries to do something, having realised the significance of the deaths, but given his team's strike rate so far, you don't have much faith in his chances. He goes to see Kate, to try to convince her – she's a journalist, after all, maybe she can raise awareness about both the birth of Christ and the presence of the AntiChrist, in order to help stem the wave of infanticide.

As usual, developing an interest in the Thorn family's history, specifically Damien's history has a way of being injurious to your health. The accidents that befall such people seem a little more intended here than in the previous two films, more directed. It's kind of like seeing the strings that hold up the flying saucer in an Ed Wood film, and I think that both that, and the more obvious intrusion of the supernatural into the story weaken it greatly. That said, there are some great boo scares, but the constant feeling of dread evoked in the prequels just isn't present.

The film winds its way to a close – but the ending itself is anti-climactic, and robs the film, and the series itself of some of its grandiose scale. Sam Neill gets the last line of the film, and it's a beaut, for his character, it's an ending that works just as well as Richard III or MacBeth, but it's too rushed, and does kind of make you look at the clock and think, how much time did I just waste watching these films?

There's a lot of windy theorising about notions of good and evil throughout the film, and one of the implications that's made here is that one way we can tell Damien is evil, is because he likes his sex a little rough, and has a penchant for anal sex. He's pitching, not catching, by the way. I actually would have thought that the fact he's instigated the murder of hundreds of babies would have been a more reliable indicator. The sex angle seems a little gratuitous, and redundant. It's an oddly prudish moral stance to make such an affirmation in a movie that gleefully shows a woman use a red-hot iron to batter her husband to death.

This is a much nastier film than the first two put together; the violence alone elevates it into a darker place – the punishment meted out to the monks is really quite gruesome, and from the opening moment of violence, where Damien takes care of becoming ambassador when the job's already been filled, you can see that the director has taken a more adult approach to things than we have seen before, appropriately enough.

The movie ultimately lacks scope, and basically just seems to be a bunch of reasonably memorable gory set pieces stuck together against a background that should be a lot more colossal in magnitude than it actually is presented as being here. As with the previous two entries in the cycle, the performance of the lead is the important factor, and Neill struggles manfully with a mediocre script and some rather trite performers playing opposite him.

This should have been the ending of the series – the clue is in the title, after all. But no, why finish something at it's logical conclusion when there's a buck to be made?

The Omen 4: The Awakening (1991)

Gene and Karen York are successful attorneys, but they aren't too successful at conceiving a child. So it's off to the local orphanage where they get given Delia, a girl of unknown origins, besides the fact that her mother was a student at University, and the father was an exchange student. Something ain't right at the Orphanage, and it's not just the acting of young Sister Yvonne – seriously, she stinks out loud as we watch her munch the scenery. I'm surprised she wasn't pouring bar-be-que sauce on the set. Made-For-TV does not have to spell "utter shit", but even six minutes in and given the rich smell of turkey this film gives off, you'd think it was Thanksgiving.

Delia is not an easy child to like – one of her first actions when returning home is to either stab or scratch her mother's face – not the kind of action guaranteed to endear you to mommy dearest. Spooky meteorological and astrological events have already started by this time, giving rise to a sentence I've never heard before: "How many spontaneous eclipses have you seen in your life?!" Probably never will again, either, unless I get brain damage and decide to watch this stinker again. Highly unlikely. Anyhoo, the eclipse, the Mother Superior's heart attack and Sister Yvonne shrieking about curses and damnation linked to the child, as well as the spontaneous inversion of a crucifix are all obviously signposting that the child is evil, and doing it with all the charm and finesse of an orang-utan performing brain surgery with a pipe wrench.

Delia doesn't respond well to baptism, oddly enough, and the priest who tries to perform the sacrament gets a little closer to God than he probably wanted to. Greg is convinced to run for office, thus keeping the socio-political milieu of these films in high society, which is kind of an essential, given the fact that the devil has to get his kid to the top of the corporate/political tree in order to really fuck everybody's day up. Besides which, the devil likes to travel in style.

Sister Yvonne basically revises the Father Brennan role from the original film, but conveniently with a complete lack of the gravitas and potentially dangerous loony quality that Patrick Troughton brought to the role. She's trying to warn the York family, but due to her inherent cowardice, this is proving difficult. Delia, in the meanwhile, exhibits some strange behaviours – chewing the face off of her Barbie doll-equivalent not being the least. She gets saved from certain squishing by…let's see if you can guess which breed of dog?...which then becomes the family pet, and Delia's cat's paw.

Time passes. Delia enters kindergarten, and we see her interacting with her peers. This includes getting into a fistfight with the class bully – you go girl! – and being excluded from games. All the while I'm watching this and it's not adding up. Damien, in the first three films, is charismatic – people want to be around him. Here, it's like the director is trying to keep Delia as the evil outsider, and it just doesn't seem to fit with the earlier versions of the tale. This is kind of like the original film, but re-written by an emo teenager. Plus, through having Damien practically mute for the duration of the first film, he's more enigmatic, and more threatening. Delia is positively garrulous, as a normal 5 year old would be, but it makes her more annoying than anything else.

Whoops! I fucked up – she's actually 8, and following a horse riding accident, we also find out she's started menstruating, which is a little unusual, to say the least. When the new Nanny, Jo, turns up, we can see that something bad is imminently to happen. She's no Mrs Baylock, let me tell you. Anyone who wears a healing crystal is a tool, in my opinion. Mind you, here they actually have a practical value – you'll see what I mean. Greg's having some differences of opinion with his Congress buddies, and the tension in the film quickly mounts – something is going to have to give… and soon.

Jo calls up her local psychic, who has the kind of mullet that would turn Billy Ray Virus…I mean Cyrus green with envy – business at the front, party at the back, indeed. He's psychic enough to see that Delia has an extremely negative life force, but not psychic enough to see that he looks like the King of the Rednecks? I doubt his powers indeed. Jo convinces Karen to let her take Delia to the local psychic's fair (I kid you not) – which the audience know is a really dumb idea, given the girl's contempt for healing crystals and other New Age stuff and such. This would have been made at the time when there was a boom in such beliefs, so I guess if you consider that, then movie seems quite topical, rather than a bit passé. Delia gets a lot of unwanted attention from the psychics there and retaliates, with the resultant chaos being an incredible display of D-list acting that would have Steckler, Mikels and Lewis dropping their jaws in disbelief.

Delia becomes increasingly and overtly malevolent, and Jo exits the scene, stage right. Or, stage window, if you take my meaning. Karen, it seems, has fallen pregnant, and Delia doesn't seem to keen on the idea, much as Damien wasn't in the first film. Karen is becoming increasingly paranoid, and heads off to get some spiritual guidance and a bit of cod philosophy about the Book of Revelations from yet another loony Catholic priest in this series littered with the corpses of loony Catholic priests. Delia really doesn't like Christian door-to-door knockers. And she has a way of dealing with them that is effective – I don't like Rottweilers either. Gene is totally suckered in by Delia's tales of innocence, and Karen is not.

So – what does she do? What every good mother who thinks her daughter is the spawn of Satan would do – she hires a sleazy private eye to find out about Delia. Sister Yvonne has long since left the cloth and become an alcoholic hooker, as you do, and Knight, our PI tracks her down, as a hellfire and damnation prophet, Felicity, in North Carolina. Life never works out the way you plan, huh? Karen starts getting a few twinges, pregnancy-wise, and becomes convinced that Delia is trying to kill her unborn child.

The child is born and healthy, too, as Knight heads towards seeing Yvonne/Felicity. You can feel the rounding up of the story happening as you watch – we've hit the final act, and yet, very little of note has happened. Felicity has gained a Southern accent, oddly enough, and has become a snake-handler – protected from the venom of the rattlesnakes in the church by the power of her faith. I'd want gloves, personally. Things don't go quite as per usual at the service, once Knight hands Felicity a photo of Delia. She's a long range weapon!

A new nanny appears, Lisa Riselli, and as with all of the nannies in these films, we have to wonder where her sympathies lie, and Lisa's connection with Delia has klaxons going off almost immediately. Knight, on the other hand, goes to Felicity's trailer and finds her dossier on the York family. So many dossiers in these films… Knight starts to see some badness in the street, and, well, we know what that's likely to mean in an Omen movie. Thankfully he's already mailed off Felicity's dossier to Karen, however…

Gene's thinking of relocating the family to Rome, and we all know the significance that city has in these films. Oddly enough, Karen seems to know that significance, too. And here we are 75 minutes into the film before we get the link between the first three films and this one. I can't say I was surprised by the link, although Karen's method of extracting the exact information raised an eyebrow. I didn't think she had it in her.

It did strike me while I was watching this film that the seven daggers of Megiddo were nowhere to be seen. Oversight? Or disappearing props? You can't move the goalposts like that. Mind you, on a technicality, they aren't strictly speaking necessary. But that's just nit-picking, I guess.

You can probably guess where the ending of this film is going. It's not terribly original, nor is it especially well told. The director and the script writer should be beaten with sticks like human pinatas for making something so obvious. I could have written something more original in my sleep.

This film is irritating because it moves in between being a potentially good idea and comical ineptitude on a dime. The effects are risible, the acting often incompetent, the dialogue almost uniformly atrocious and the story-line incoherent, but it is trying to re-boot a pretty decent franchise, if one that's rather conservative and right-wing Christian, but is doing so at the expense of the earlier films – it re-invents or re-imagines too many of the ideas we bought in its big brother prequels, and is too obvious in its doing so. It tries too hard, and given its resources simply can't pay the cheque its ambition wrote.

The producers are back on boards from the original series, and they oughtta be ashamed of their work. This isn't doing anything with the original story arc, and basically just states, "We want your cash based on a brand name."

Thankfully, the sequel you could see waiting in the wings from this atrocity never happened.

The Omen (2006)

Imagine being told your child was dead by Giovanni Lombardo Radice?! That'd fuck you up! This is a re-dux of the first film, except that the priest in the hospital starred in Cannibal Ferox, amongst other video nasties. Child to the US Ambassador, ya-daa, ya-daa, son of the Devil ya-daa, ya-daa, total re-tooling of the first film with extra nastiness, and without the class offered by Gregory Peck.

So up-and-coming ambassador on the move Robert Thorn has just had a son, Damien, and wants him to be looked after. And looked after he will be, by Mrs Baylock (Mia Farrow, Rosemary herself, don't you know, in a nice piece of intertextuality?). There isn't much more I can tell you, without repeating various bits from the original, just with more gore, which wasn't really necessary in the first place, given that the original movies' scares came from the frightening situations, not the splatter.

This is almost a shot-for-shot remake of the original, with the only difference being the inclusion of mobile phone technology, and it's just as jarring here as it was in Grindhouse, which then, of course, does beg the question – why bother? Okay, there are some top shelf actors – Postlethwaite and Thewlis spring pretty readily to mind – but what was the reason for the spending of many millions of dollars making this film? I just don't get it. There are some extra-nasty versions of the original films' scares and shocks, but they ain't really that impressive, because the director isn't that much cop, and doesn't know how to make the most of them. Could have been a whole lot scarier…

I did find it interesting that they cast such a much younger actor than Peck in the lead role – the youthercising of American culture, I guess. Remove the class actor and replace him with the much younger square-jawed hero.

Set up for a sequel? You'd better believe it.
Video
The Omen looks amazing – a really top-notch 2.35:1 anamorphic presentation. It's as epic as the story itself. The sequel, also presented in an anamorphic 2.35:1 aspect ratio, looks appalling – what the hell happened to the print? Part 3 is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio with 16:9 enhancement and is good without being great - looking pretty soft at some points. Pretty dark, which I guess is appropriate for the story. Part 4 comes in a 16:9 enhanced 1.85:1 aspect ratio with variable picture quality - sometimes quite crystalline in nature, at other times grainy and soft. The remake is faultless– I wish the sequels (well, the first two, anyway) looked this good, though in fairness their source prints were a little older.
Audio
The Omen is pretty fucking incredible. This has been re-mastered within an inch of its life and comes with Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1, and 2.0 options. Damien: The Omen 2 features a tinny and metallic sounding stereo track, while The Final Conflict has been given slightly better treatment, albeit still in 2.0. I'ts a shame neither of these movie was given a 5.1 remix as both were big budget movies made in the spirit of the blockbuster. The Omen 4: The Awakening comes with a flat and lifeless 2.0 track (it was made-for-TV, so that didn't surprise me) and finally, the remake comes with excellent 5.1, DTS and 2.0 options.
Extra Features
Full to the brim: The Omen comes with 2 different commentary tracks, 2 different documentaries, 2 shorts, an interview with Jerry Goldsmith, deleted/extended scenes, a screenwriter's notebook, original theatrical trailer and stills gallery. The Omen 2 features a producer's commentary track, and a couple of featurettes, While Omen 3 comes with a director commentary, part three in the The Omen Legacy series of featurettes that are on each of the discs. Part 4 of The Omen Legacy gets a featurette of the World Premiere of the remake as well as the casting session from the remake, but nothing else about this entry into the series at all, which doesn't bode too well for its quality. The remake's features are a commentary track, some featurettes some deleted scenes and an alternate ending. Doesn't make it any better. You are not going to find a more complete package of the series as a whole, however.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
This should be in your collection. You are not going to find a better collection of The Omen franchise, being as complete as you could hope for. The prints are generally top notch, even if discs 4 and 5 are pretty average, to put it mildly. Still, the iconic nature of the films make them worthy additions. If nothing else, Jerry Goldsmith's scores for the films and the performances of the lead actors really drag these films out of the average.

It's interesting when considering what scares people – these films, especially the first 3, really exploit that fear of big business and politics that people had in the 70s and 80s. If the AntiChrist was going to come from somewhere, it wouldn't be the working classes, let me tell you. The guys in the suits and ties are the scary ones. That's where the apocalypse is going to come from, not from Joe Lunchpail on the factory floor.

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