Review- The Omen (1976)

Review- The Omen (1976)

There are so many major films that I remember seeing on TV when they were shown for the first time. These first screenings were such big news in the UK. Jaws, Superman and The Omen all spring to mind.


It was high time that I reinvestigated The Omen. It tells the story of Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck) arriving at the hospital in which his wife Katherine has just given birth. However, events haven’t gone to plan and Thorn learns that their firstborn has died shortly after being born. However, he is told that another mother had given birth but had died during the procedure. Would he consider telling his wife that this baby was in fact the child she had given birth to? He agrees especially as she had experienced several miscarriages prior. However, strange events start to happen as the child grows up. It is soon established that the child is, in fact, the second coming of the antichrist as Thorn is approached several times by a very sinister doom-predicting priest.


On watching the film I couldn’t believe just how many scenes are now so well known. These scenes and signifiers from the film have been absorbed into the public consciousness. The name Damien now has connotations of evil when used in other productions (one example is the use of the name in the comedy series Only Fools and Horses) due to its use here first. Iconic scenes include the nanny killing herself at Damien’s fifth birthday party (‘It’s all for you, Damien!) along with Katherine’s deathly stare as she witnesses what has just happened (this image of Lee Remick’s startled expression alone must be one of the most well known of the whole of the horror genre), the 666 birthmark on Damien’s scalp, the use of the Rottweiler as guardian and demonic watch-dog of the young anti-christ, the photographer who can predict who will be next for Damien’s wrath by the strange interference he sees on the photographs he takes of the soon to be bumped-off,  the scene in which Damien is taken to a church for a wedding, the trip to the wildlife park…the list goes on.


The cast is a powerhouse of acting brilliance and lends the film massive credibility. In fact, some actors would only be signed up to act in the film if it was treated as a classy psychological thriller rather than as a tacky exploitation film (take a bow, Gregory Peck. Although, as most of you will know, I do love a gorgeous slice of exploitation). In fact, before Peck was cast other actors who were considered for the role were Oliver Reed, Roy Scheider, Dick Van Dyke and Charles Bronson. I would love to see The Omen with Bronson as part of the cast.

But, whilst The Omen is a ‘classy’ production, it still packs a punch when it comes to the kills. The nanny hanging, the priest being impaled by a falling lightning rod and the photographer’s beheading by a pale of glass are all gory and nasty enough to satiate the most ravenous horror fan.


But whilst the cast is uniformly brilliant, on this occasion I was watching intently Harvey Stephens as the infant devil child. He’s brilliant! As he’s just a child he has very little dialogue and so has to emote through facial expressions alone. Watch how his face changes on the drive up to the church, how he acts like half Beelzebub, half troublesome toddler when his mother is trying to rest, his scenes in the safari park. He is perfectly cast as sweet little child, half devilish little brat. The end scene of him smiling at the camera made my blood run cold. And he had every reason to smile. He had ‘sequel’ written all over him.


Add to this heady brew Jerry Goldsmith’s fantastic score (his use of the demonic choral singing was perfect), Richard Donner’s gorgeous direction (every shot is perfectly and stylishly framed) and the classy locales of both London and Italy and you have a horror classic.

All I can say is that I’m glad I’m gay and will never have kids. I’d love to have a Rottweiler though. Guess what I’ll call him?!

5 stars out of 5


Day 31- 31 Days of Halloween- Seytan (aka Turkish Exorcist)- 1974

Day 31- 31 Days of Halloween- Seytan (aka Turkish Exorcist)- 1974

There was a long standing tradition for Turkish remakes of huge Hollywood blockbusters. These remakes have miniscule budgets and are made quickly so that they can be released soon after the original.

The Exorcist was remade in Turkey for a tiny proportion of the original’s budget. This means that we get hilarious special effects, truly garish decors and the worst hairstyles ever committed to celluloid.



But whilst we know what we’re getting this film is a true cult movie through and through. It might be cheap and tacky but its also what a lot of more expensive films struggle to be- utterly charming, engaging and a pleasure to watch.

Let me leave you with a question- would you rather watch a film like this or a Hollywood studio multiplex movie that has a budget of millions but also has characters you couldn’t care less about, an uninspired plot and CGI that makes the film look more like a computer game?



I hope these Turkish remakes get restored and released on Blu ray. I’d buy them.

The Omen (1976) – Day 18 – 31 Days of Halloween

The Omen (1976) – Day 18 – 31 Days of Halloween

The Omen aka Donald Trump: The Childhood Years

An American diplomat adopts an orphaned child whose mother died at birth unbeknowst to his wife who has just given birth to their (supposedly) stillborn son. Their new child however is the Antichrist. Hilarity ensues. Just kidding.

This film is perfect in many ways. Direction, cast, cinematography, music, screenplay. If ever it feels like the movie could curdle into camp it then reins itself in. The scariest horror movies deal with the huge conflict between good and evil. Us mere mortals are in no position to scoff or deride such things. This is one of the many reasons why this movie is so bonechilling.

Whilst I could name all of the performances I love in this film I would just be reciting the entire cast list. My favourite performance? Damian himself. He says very little but his performance is flawless. And watch for his facial expression at the very end of the movie when hes looking directly at the audience. 

The Antichrist is adopted into the world of politics. Makes you think doesn’t it?
4 out of 5 

Beyond The Door – Day 9 – 31 Days of Halloween

Beyond The Door – Day 9 – 31 Days of Halloween

A mark that you’ve made a great movie is when your film spawns a number of imitators. One such movie is The Exorcist.

One such imitator is Beyond The Door. But whilst some imitators are pale and shoddy rip offs, this film is amazing.

Starring esteemed actress Juliet Mills this deals with her posession and pregnancy.

Cue plenty of body horror grossness, surreal scenarios (you haven’t lived until you see her eat a discarded banana skin) and much profanity. Add to the mix a potty mouthed child and you have a great cinematic experience. The film is also beautifully shot and staged. It has a feel all of its own.

Apparently Mills is extremely proud of this movie. And so she should be.
4 out of 5