31 Days Of Horror: The Omen

Richard Donner started his career directing mostly television for the first 15 years and the rest of his career directing Lethal Weapon films but his first hit came in 1976 with The Omen.

Gregory Peck and Lee Remick are having a baby. They are Americans in Rome and the baby, Peck is told, was stillborn and he is convinced by Father Spiletto to accept to a recently orphaned child as a substitute. Peck is worried about his wife’s mentality and agrees to the swap. They name the child Damien.

Soon after Peck is made the U.S. ambassador for Britain. A few years go by and Peck has started noticing some strange things. Damien freaks out when they try to go to a church. His nanny kills herself on his fifth birthday. A creepy new nanny quickly takes her place and brings along a big scary dog. Then Father Brennan (Patrick Troughton) tries to tell Peck that Damien is the son of Satan. Suddenly really bad accidents are happening to anyone who crosses in Damien’s path.

The Omen is one of those films that’s influence on pop culture is so overwhelming, that the original film is almost forgotten. The film was so successful that there were three sequels, a failed television pilot, several novel adaptations, a remake and more parodies than one can count. One of the best take-offs was Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s 1990 novel Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, which plays on the events of the film but has the son of Satan getting switched at birth and ends going to an average British family and raised properly instead of with the rich ambassador’s family.

The film is also known for it’s supposed curse. Both Peck and writer David Seltzer had their separate planes hit by lightning. A producer was almost hit by lightning, another plane that was supposed to be used crashed. A hotel was bombed and someone was killed by lions. Sounds like a standard film production to me.

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka has spent most of his life watching movies and reading comic books. He has decided to use this vast knowledge for evil instead of good.