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Featured Movie Reviews

The Omen

Updated: Apr 8

An all-time favorite, 1976’s THE OMEN mixes a great story with an all-star cast, top production values, some fun & gory moments and a classic horror movie score to scare up great fun.

Gregory Peck and Lee Remick star as US Ambassador Robert Thorn and his wife Katherine. As the film opens, Remick is in a Rome hospital having just given birth. The baby did not survive but Father Spiletto proposes that they switch the child with a newborn whose mother was lost giving birth at the same time, 6:00am on June 6th. (666 oooooooohhhh….)

As young Damien grows, people around him begin to die in spectacular fashion. This being the 70’s there are some spectacular and gross effects, but they are not the blood and guts gore of the 80’s, providing more jolts and movie fun than stomach churning horror. One scene in which a character falls from the second story, landing face down on a wooden floor is especially well done. As these are all mechanical & camera tricks (pre CGI), it makes the slaying scenes all the more incredible.

David Warner is great as a photographer covering Thorn that captures some strange shadows and omens on film that portend the death that soon awaits key folks around the boy.

Soon, Peck and Warner are on the trail of discovering more about the night of Damien’s birth. Their scenes in the Italian cemetery and hotel afterward are some of the film’s best moments. Director Richard Donner (Superman, Lethal Weapon, The Goonies) knows how to make a fast moving, fun film and this is one his finest. There is just enough menace to be suspenseful and scary. Donner brings great performances out of his actors. I can’t imaging this film would be half as good without Peck at it’s center. He is a big time movie star and excellent as Thorn. Billie Whitelaw is strange and scary as Damien’s nanny Mrs. Blaylock. She’s hell on wheels and creepy in every scene.

The spectacular deaths depicted for key characters drove a lot of chatter and interest in the film and they hold up pretty well nearly 40 years later. Anytime you can stage a beheading, an impalement, a hanging and assorted other mayhem and create a mainstream blockbuster, you’ve done something right. Donner, Peck and the cast do that one better and have put together a horror classic.

Jerry Goldsmith won a well-deserved Oscar for his imposing, scary music score that many of us mocked mercilessly to scare our siblings in the seventies. The music is constant in key scenes, sometime quiet, often powerful, but always creepy.

Avoid the needless 2006 remake and go for the original. If you haven’t seen THE OMEN in awhile, check it out. It’s a HELL of a lot of suspenseful fun and a horror tale very well told. It gets a 666….oops, I mean an A+. One of my all-time faves, with a solid spot in my Top 100.

Followed in 1978 by "Damien Omen II".

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