Overview of the Omen Series…
The Omen (1976)
starring: Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Billie Whitelaw, Harvey Stephens, Patrick Troughton
Directed by: Richard Donner
American ambassador Robert Thorn (Peck) begins to learn that his son, Damien Thorn (Stephens), is the antichrist.
Bold, intense and well-acted – this is one of the best horror movies of 70s. The film’s leads are extremely convincing and Peck probably provides his last great performance. There’s also a strong supporting cast with Billie Whitelaw’s devoted Nanny and Pat Troughton’s troubled priest being the best of the bunch.
Damien, being but a toddler, can’t really “bump off ” those individuals in his way, all by himself. This sets the scene for some very inventive death sequences (which became the hallmark of the series). To wet your appetite: a priest is horribly impaled on a rusty church spire and a snoopy photographer is graphically decapitated by a pain of glass which slides off the back of a truck.
The film’s soundtrack provided by Jerry Goldsmith is legendary – and rightly so. The choral chants of “Ave Satani” echoing around an Italian graveyard are pretty spine-chilling as are those same chants during the final scene of the movie – an innocent looking Damien holding the US president’s hand at his parents’ funeral…..a very powerful scene indeed.
A must-see movie for everyone.
hotdog rating: 8.5/10
Damien: Omen 2 (1978)
starring: William Holden, Lee Grant, Jonathan Scott-Taylor, Robert Foxworth, Nicholas Pryor, Lance Henriksen, Sylvia Sidney
Directed by: Don Taylor
Damien, now a teenager, learns of his own destiny – and once again, those in his way, are bound to die….
Nowhere near as well-produced as the first movie. Nevertheless, Holden is good as Damien’s uncle and Scott-Taylor does well in his debut as the adolescent Damien. Add to this, some spectacular set-pieces – the old guy (brilliantly played by Lew Ayres) trapped under the ice during the hockey match is a favourite of mine – and you end up with a pretty good horror film.
The ending is a bit of a surprise too – and Lee Grant plays it perfectly as the “whore of babylon” – and once again, the soundtrack is breathtaking (but of course you say!).
An all-round solid picture which is a decent companion to the original.
hotdog rating: 7/10.
Omen 3: The Final Conflict (1981)
starring: Sam Neill, Rossano Brazzi, Don Gordon, Lisa Harrow
Directed by: Graham Baker
An adult Damien becomes Ambassador to the UK and plans to put a stop to Christ’s second-coming. A group of fanatical monks are enlisted to murder him before he can achieve his task…..
Damien the adult is far less menacing than Damien the child. I actually think Neill plays him far too melodramatically to be in any way frightening. Further, the movie is predictable in ways that parts 1 and 2 were not (we know the eventual ending….). The plot gets a bit ridiculous too when Damien starts ordering the execution of baby boys all over the place like a latter-day King Herod.
These things aside, Omen 3 is not a terrible movie but it’s surely not close to the iconic original or the ‘kitsch’ Omen 2.
hotdog rating: 5/10