“Good morning. You are one day closer to the end of the world. You have been warned.” ~The Omen (1976)
This is the 21st of 31 posts in a row on horror movies. Yup, it’s October, baby.
IMDB Summary: Mysterious deaths surround an American ambassador. Could the child that he is raising actually be the anti-christ? The devil’s own son?
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 79%
Why I love it: It’s a wild ride of superstition play.
I feel bad for anyone named Damien who had to endure the taunting that came along as a result the main theme from this movie. But it’s an awfully catchy tune, even if it is being screeched by the devil’s chorus. Anyhoo, the prince of darkness has been born, and any poor bastard who stands in the way of evil is sure to meet their untimely end.
I love the ambitiousness of The Omen. As if you’re supposed to take it seriously. I guess you kind of do, considering Oscar winner Gregory Peck plays an ambassador married to Oscar nominee Lee Remick. And they don’t suck.
As kind of an atheist, I’m not particularly threatened by stories of possession, satanic activity or the devil incarnate. It doesn’t happen, y’all. But there is something jarring about what happens when the “juvenile Antichrist,” as one reviewer puts it, comes to play. I’m guessing this is the kind of thing you can expect:
Animals will react oddly when they see evil. Because they know. Fiercely protective rottweilers that show up out of nowhere are the exception.
They do not appreciate proximity to Jesus. Damien gets bejiggity when they drive up to church and screams like the baboons who freaked out on him at the zoo.
People will die heinously. One governness hangs herself at Damien’s birthday party. “It’s all for you, Damien!” One priest who tries to warn Ambassador Thorn that the kid isn’t human and that he must be stopped gets impaled by church spire during a sudden storm. A photographer’s head gets chopped off by a flying piece of glass. Damien knocks his mother off a stool and watches as she falls over a second-story railing along with a bowlful of goldfish and has a miscarriage. Freak accidents? Nope.
Outsiders will ingratiate themselves into your family. The new governness is as frightful looking as she is presumptuous. Little do they know she’s been sent from the man downstairs. Well, the rottweilers know.
There will be mystery surrounding the questionable origin of Lucifer, Jr. No records exist of Damien’s birth. I wonder why. In a grave in Rome with the name Maria Sciana they find the skeleton of a jackal, Damien’s actual mother, next to one of a baby who was clearly murdered so he could be replaced. (I ask my Italian mother-in-law what that last name might mean, hoping she’d say “devil mother,” but she had nothing.) I wonder about what jackals have to do with the devil. So I Google it, and I find this, which is genius, even if it doesn’t exactly answer the question: The Omen: What Does a Jackal Giving Birth To a Human Actually Look Like and Followup Question: Is That Even Possible? I keep digging and find this explaination: “In Ancient Egypt, jackals were often seen near cemeteries, which may have led the ancients to such an association. The Underworld is not Hell, per se, but more like a place where both Heaven & Hell exist. Egyptians believed there was a Lake of Fire here, and some scholars think this is where the Christians got such an idea. Jackals as representative of Satan must derive from years of religious misunderstandings.” Which is what I figured.
They will have the sign of the beast on their head, under their hair: 666. Did I mention Damien was born June 6th, 1966? Which ends up being 6/6/66, but still. Close enough.
Finally, you’ll die as well, if you get in the way.
One note: I really wish they’d stop doing pointless remakes of films like this. Curses on them.