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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. It is the first film in The Omen series and was scripted by David Seltzer, who also wrote the novel.

The film followed a cycle of demonic child movies including Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist. The cycle continued with such films as Holocaust 2000.

A remake, The Omen 666, was released on June 6, 2006. This date was chosen as a reference to the Number of the Beast .

Plot

The premise of The Omen comes from the end times prophecies of Christianity. The story, set in Fulhammarker, Englandmarker, tells of the childhood of Damien Thorn (said to have been born on June 6 of that particular year at 6:00AM), who was switched at birth in Romemarker with the supposedly stillborn child of a wealthy American diplomat with only the husband's knowledge, in order to keep it from affecting his wife. Damien's family is unaware that he is actually the offspring of Satan and destined to become the Antichrist. His father, Robert Thorn (named Jeremy Thorn in the original book), eventually begins to realize his son's true nature with the help of a photographer named Keith Jennings (David Warner), after numerous people connected to Damien die in tragic accidents. After Damien's first nanny hangs herself at Damien's fifth birthday party, a new nanny, Mrs. Baylock, arrives to tend to him. A priest who knows about Damien begins stalking Robert and is eventually the one to first point out that Damien is the Antichrist and that he intends to kill everyone in his way—including the baby that Robert's wife is supposedly pregnant with. The priest later dies in a bizarre accident (he is impaled by a church spire hit by lightning). Shortly after, Katherine—Damien's mother and Robert's wife—tells a shocked Robert that she is indeed pregnant with another child. In order to prevent her pregnancy from progressing and creating competition, Damien causes his mother to fall over a railing and lose the baby that she is carrying.

Robert and Keith seek the hospital in which Damien was born to find his true mother. They find that the hospital burned in a horrible "accident," along with several people and all of the records. They then learn where one of the survivors, the head priest at the hospital, can be located and are led there to find he is in grave health. He tells them where to find the mother.The mother turns out to have been buried at an ancient and abandoned Etruscanmarker grave-yard. They then find her grave, and next to it Robert's true son's grave. They take off the cover of the grave to find the mother was a jackal confirming the realization that Damien is not a human. Keith beckons with Robert to leave but he wants to uncover the other grave, hoping it contains a similar corpse and to gain hope that his real son could be alive some where. To his horror, the grave holds a human child and the skull of this child has a wound showing it was murdered at birth. Then they are attacked by a pack of Rottweiler dogs and barely escape the cemetery.

During this turn of events Katherine is thrown out of the hospital window by Mrs. Baylock and dies. Robert is devastated when he finds out, and later he and Keith journey to Israel to find a man named Bugenhagen, an archaeologist who knows how to stop the Antichrist. Robert learns that he has to stab Damien with the seven daggers of Megiddo to prevent Damien from killing again. Sickened by the fact that the archeologist asked him to kill a small child, he throws the daggers away. Keith runs to retrieve them, but is decapitated gruesomely by a pane of glass atop a run-away truck. Robert returns to London with the daggers, intending to kill Damien.

Returning to his mansion, Robert finds Mrs. Baylock's guard dog (also a Rottweiler) awaiting him. He manages to lock it in the cellar and then goes upstairs to check whether Damien has the "666" birth-mark (as explained by Bugenhagen). Seeing it on Damien's scalp after cutting away some hair, Robert has no doubt about Damien's true identity.

Mrs. Baylock attacks him and after fighting her off, Robert attempts dragging Damien down the stairs, only to be confronted by the nanny once again. Robert wrestles with her violently until he manages to acquire a knife, with which he stabs her. She dies and Robert leaves the house heading toward a church to kill Damien at the altar.

When he arrives at the church, he lays Damien on the altar. He reaches for the daggers and pulls the first one out. But just as he is about to stab Damien, the police arrive and order him to stop. When Robert does not comply and tries to stab Damien, he is shot dead by the police.

The movie ends with Robert's and Katherine's double funeral, where they are given an honorable burial and are blessed by a Catholic priest. The last scene is of Damien holding the hand of the U.S. President, their backs facing the camera. Suddenly, Damien turns completely around, and looking straight into the camera, he gives a sinister smile. The credits begin to play.

Cast



Music

An original score for the film was composed by Jerry Goldsmith, for which he received the only Oscar of his long career. The score features a strong choral segment, with a foreboding Latin chant. The refrain to the chant is, "Sanguis bibimus, corpus edimus, tolle corpus Satani" (Latin, "We drink the blood, we eat the flesh, raise the body of Satan"), interspersed with cries of "Ave Satani!" and "Ave Versus Christus" (Latin, "Hail, Satan!" and "Hail, Antichrist!"). Aside from the choral work, the score includes lyrical themes portraying the pleasant home life of the Thorn family, which are contrasted with the more disturbing scenes of the family's confrontation with evil.

Track listing

  1. "Ave Satani" – 2:32
  2. "New Ambassador" – 2:33
  3. "Killer's Storm" – 2:51
  4. "Sad Message" – 1:42
  5. "Demise of Mrs. Baylock" – 2:52
  6. "Don't Let Him" – 2:48
  7. "Piper Dreams" – 2:39
  8. "Fall" – 3:42
  9. "Safari Park" – 2:04
  10. "Dog's Attack" – 5:50
  11. "Homecoming" – 2:43
  12. "Altar" – 2:00


On October 9, 2001 a deluxe version of the soundtrack was released with eight additional tracks.

  1. "Ave Satani" – 2:35
  2. "On This Night" – 2:36
  3. "The New Ambassador" – 2:34
  4. "Where Is He?" – :56
  5. "I Was There" – 2:27
  6. "Broken Vows" – 2:12
  7. "Safari Park" – 3:24
  8. "A Doctor, Please" – 1:44
  9. "The Killer Storm" – 2:54
  10. "The Fall" – 3:45
  11. "Don't Let Him" – 2:49
  12. "The Day He Died" – 2:14
  13. "The Dog's Attack" – 5:54
  14. "A Sad Message" – 1:44
  15. "Beheaded" – 1:49
  16. "The Bed" – 1:08
  17. "666" – :44
  18. "The Demise of Mrs. Baylock" – 2:54
  19. "The Altar" – 2:07
  20. "The Piper Dreams" – 2:41


Reception

The movie boasted a particularly disturbing scene, in which a character willingly and joyfully hangs herself at a birthday party attended by young children. It also features a violent decapitation scene (caused by a horizontal sheet of plate glass), one of mainstream Hollywood's first: "If there were a special Madame Defarge Humanitarian Award for best decapitation," wrote Kim Newman in Nightmare Movies (1988), "this lingering, slow-motion sequence would get my vote."

Novels

  • David Seltzer, The Omen. (Futura, 1976).
  • Joseph Howard, Damien: Omen II. (Futura, 1978).
  • Gordon McGill, Omen III: The Final Conflict. (Futura, 1980).
  • Gordon McGill, Omen IV: Armageddon 2000. (Futura, 1983).
  • Gordon McGill, Omen V: The Abomination. (Futura, 1985).


Both the movie and the novelization were written by David Seltzer (the book preceded the movie by two weeks as an effective marketing gimmick). For the book, Seltzer took liberties with his own material, augmenting plot points and character backgrounds and changing details (such as character names — Holly becomes Chessa Whyte, Keith Jennings becomes Huber Jennings, Father Brennan becomes Father Edgardo Emilio Tassone, et cetera). The second and third novels were novelized forms of their respective movies and more-or-less reflected movie continuity. Interestingly, Gordon McGill retroactively changed the time period of The Omen to the 1950s, in order to make The Final Conflict (featuring an adult Damien) take place explicitly in the 1980s. Although neither the first Omen movie nor its novelisation mention what year the story takes place, it can be assumed that its setting was intended to be the year the movie was released (i.e. 1976).

The fourth novel, Omen IV: Armageddon 2000, was entirely unrelated to the fourth movie, but continued the story of Omen III. Its premise is based on the one-night stand between Damien Thorn and Kate Reynolds in Omen III. This affair included an act of sodomy, and thence Kate gave the (rectal) "birth" of another diabolical entity called "the abomination" (presumably after the "abomination of desolation" from the book of Daniel) in Omen IV. This novel attempted to patch one of the Omen series' more glaring plot-holes, namely the question of whether the Antichrist could be slain by a single one of the "Seven Sacred Daggers of Megiddo" (which occurred in Omen III) or only by all of them (as stated in the first book and movie). The solution reached was that one dagger could kill Damien's form, but not his soul. This explanation was also explicitly stated in the first movie. Damien's acolyte Paul Buher (played by Robert Foxworth in the second movie and mentioned, though not seen, in the third) is a major character in the fourth book and achieves redemption in its climax.

This story was concluded in the fifth novel, Omen V: The Abomination. The novel begins with a "memoriam" listing all of the characters who had been killed throughout the saga up to that point, and which states Damien's life as having taken place in the period of 1950-1982. The story ends with the death of Damien's son, and the character Jack Mason deciding to chronicle Damien's story in book-form. The opening lines he writes are the exact same words which begin David Seltzer's novelization of the first film, bringing the series full-circle.

Frank Allnutt also wrote a sequel unrelated to the movie series titled "The Peacemaker" about a charming politician who is going to become the next President of the United States. But a TV reporter suspects that the wannabe President is the Anti- Christ.

See also



Reference



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