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File:The-omen-damien-crosses.jpg

 When the Jews return to Zion and a comet rips the sky

And the Holy Roman Empire rises, then You and I must die.

From the eternal sea he rises, creating armies on either shore

Turning man against his brother 'til man exists no more.

The Omen is a 1976 suspense/horror film directed by Richard Donner. The film stars Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Harvey Stephens, Billie Whitelaw, Patrick Troughton, Martin Benson, and Leo McKern. The first film was scripted by David Seltzer, who also wrote the novel.

Though similar to The Exorcist in several ways, The Omen has gained prestige over time for a number of reasons: its respectability (as a profitable major-studio film with renowned actors), its seriousness (it plays as a contemporary thriller, rather than with the knowing excesses of certain aspects of the horror genre)[1], and the originality of the movie's excellent choral score by Jerry Goldsmith.

It also displays some of the bad style of The Seventies and comes across as very cheesy at times, despite generally maintaining a solid degree of intelligence and sincerity.

The movie followed a cycle of 'demonic child' movies, such as Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist, and was itself followed by three sequels (Damien: Omen II, Omen III: The Final Conflict, and Omen IV: The Awakening) and a number of copycat films such as the Italian-made Kirk Douglas movie Holocaust 2000.

A remake was released on June 6, 2006, a release date chosen because of its significance to the Number of the Beast (666).


This movie series contains examples of:

  • Animals Hate Him: Damien terrifies most animals. They either flee or attack him and for good reason. The exceptions, of course, are his guard dogs.
  • The Antichrist: Damien
  • Arc Words: "Look at me Damien! It's all for you!"
  • Birthmark of Destiny: Damien, of course, bears the Mark of the Beast (hidden conveniently beneath his hair).
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Damien, not to mention the nanny.
    • Damien is a HIGHLY debatable example, as he never does anything evil in the first film directly, and its left ambiguous of how aware he is (and in the second film its retcon that he didn't know until he was about 13)
  • Children Are Innocent: ... not.
  • Creepy Child: Well, he's quite adorable for the son of Satan...
  • Did Not Do the Research: Police in the UK (where the main character is ambassador) are not routinely armed. It would have taken much longer to mobalise SWAT (who are...)
  • Doomed Appointment: Subverted. Thorn gets the warning, but doesn't believe it.
  • Downer Ending: The first two movies, plus the remake.
  • Enfant Terrible: The plot of the first film. He's better behaved at the start of the second film, until he learns of his call.
    • Well outside of throwing a temper tantrum when he comes near a church, and knocking his mother off the stairs (which may or may not have been a accident) its debatable on this in the first film.
  • Even Mooks Have Loved Ones
  • Executive Meddling: Damien was supposed to die at the end of the first movie, but Donner was persuaded to change the ending to allow for sequels.
    • The director wanted Damien to be fifteen in the sequel, according to Word of God. He wanted this because he thought it would be interesting to give Damien a girlfriend before he discovers what he is, ensuring Angst when he has to chose love or destiny. The execs forced him to accept Damien at 12. It's very ironic that nowadays the execs would be pushing to have Damien older.
  • Eye Scream: The iron from the third movie.
    • In the second film, one woman has her two eyes beaked by a raven, letting her completely blind and then making her gettting hit by a truck. Talk about gruesome way to go.
  • Famous Last Words: Damien: "Nazarene...you have won nothing."
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Damien isn't very considerate of his partner in the third film, leaving her full bite- and scratchmarks.
  • Half the Man He Used To Be: The doctor in the second film who tests Damien's blood and discovers he has jackal DNA.
  • Hannibal Lecture: In the third film, Damien gives one to a statue of Jesus on the Cross about how he is a weak charlatan who gives humanity false hope. The speech then goes into a Motive Rant about Damien avenging his father's exile from Heaven.
  • Hell Hound: Damien is guarded by a squadron of Rottweilers.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Lupin and Dumbledore are in the 2006 remake.
  • Hybrid Monster: Damien's real father is the Devil... and his mother was a jackal.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The priest in the courtyard during the thunderstorm.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted in the third film.
  • Mark of the Beast: Damien has a small birthmark on his scalp resembling three sixes.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Herod: The Final Conflict has Damien try to prevent the second coming of Christ by killing any and all children born during the herald of his return.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The build up to the deaths in the original were pretty intense, the deaths themselves were terrible ways to go for the most part but almost a relief when they come.
    • It could be argued that this teaser for the remake is infinitely more terrifying than the movie itself.
  • Number of the Beast: Sixes surround this kid's existence, in fact. He was born on June 6th at 6am.
  • Nuns Are Spooky: Like the one who tells Thorn that she can't give him any information about his child.
  • Offing the Offspring: The 'Bad Seed' variant. It doesn't work.
  • Off with His Head: Jennings's death, still considered by horror buffs to be one of the best deaths of all time.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Ave Satani.
    • For anyone thats seen the film it's pretty much the first thing people think when they hear creepy latin chanting in any medium.
  • Prophecy Twist: The Final Conflict has Damien attempt to stop the second coming of Christ by killing any children born during the sign of his immanent return. This is to prevent "the beasts" defeat to "the lamb" as predicted in Revelations before he's even had a chance to face him. Unfortunately for the forces of darkness, Jesus returns not as a mortal child but rather in his all-powerful divine form and proceeds to strike Damien down personally.
  • Religious Horror
  • Revealing Coverup: At times, the Satanic forces that try to protect Damien actually wind up helping to convince skeptics that he is, indeed, the Antichrist. Had all those mysterious deaths been a little less spectacular/creepy, Thorn and others might never have believed they were anything but accidents.
  • Rube Goldberg Hates Your Guts: And they go off with not so much as a hitch since they are planned by The Devil.
  • Secret Circle of Secrets: Nearly other person around Damien seems to be a member of a Satan-worshiping cult who are loyal to the death and do the dirty work of murdering those could threaten Damien when the accidents don't.
  • Screw Destiny: In the third film, Damien's motivation is to prevent his prophesied defeated at the hands of Jesus during the Second Coming.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The first two films end like this.
  • Sickbed Slaying
  • Spooky Photographs: Every single picture Jennings takes contains some clue about how the subject will die by Satan's influence.
  • Stock Subtitle: The Awakening for the fourth film.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: The last guy from the first movie (played by Leo McKern)who knew Damien's secret is killed off in the opening minutes of Damien: The Omen II, tying up a remaining loose end. McKern is the only cast member to appear in more than one movie of the series.
  • Sugary Malice: The babysitter.
  • Switched At Birth
  • Sword Over Head: Despite the vicitim being a crying child the audience is likely screaming KILL HIM ALREADY !!!.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Damien starts to become this in the second film, but what do you expect from an Antichrist, even if he eventually stay calm and accepts his fate.
  • Trilogy Creep: The fourth film (this a one made-for-TV deal) involved the daughter of Damien and the antichrist's return to Earth. It tried to explore the world of The Omen more, but the film had a meandering plot with more holes than Blackburn, Lancashire and was quietly shunted into Canon Dis Continuity.
    • It also had the audacity to have a sequel hook. Seriously the third movie was called "The Final Conflict" and the antichrist died infront of the risen Jesus how could it have been more final?
  • Unwilling Suspension: Happens to the one of the monks in the third film, who is then wrapped in plastic and is caught on fire.
  • We Can Rule Together: Damien tries to convince his adopted brother Mark to join him in his quest to rule the Earth.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: In the first film Damien puts on an impressive performance when faced with his demise. And it works.

 Hi-Diddle-diddle, the cat and the fiddle

The cow jumped over the moony

Now take your poem; and go on ho-em

Or I'll have you committed - you LOONY!

- The Omenous (Mad Magazine's adaptation)

Notes

  1. Gregory Peck didn't even know it was a horror film until they started shooting!
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