Film / The Omen (1976)

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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. The first film was scripted by David Seltzer, who also wrote the novelization. Spawned a film series.

Robert Thorn (Peck), when his wife delivered a stillborn child, was approached by a priest with the offer of an infant whose mother experienced a Death by Childbirth. He agreed to the switch, and his wife was blissfully unaware of the truth. Several years later, Robert becomes the American ambassador to England and the Thorn family moves into a large manor there. And that's when mysterious deaths and odd events begin to plague the Thorns and those in their orbit, especially those who attempt to convince them that little Damien is not all he seems...

Damien is a TV series sequel to the movie, ignoring the other two movies.

This film has examples of:

  • Animals Hate Him: Damien terrifies most animals. They either flee or attack him and for good reason. The exceptions, of course, are his guard dogs.
  • The Antichrist: Damien.
  • Aside Glance: Damien at the end. Also even more effectively in the teaser of the remake.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Damien lives on, with most of the people who were wise to his true nature (Including his adoptive parents) dead.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Mrs. Baylock, who puts on a pleasant enough front before her true nature is made apparent.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Katherine, after the fall that kills her unborn child. And again when she herself dies after being pushed out the hospital window.
  • Burying a Substitute: They dig up Damien's birth mother and there's a jackal in the casket. It isn't clear if a substitute burial happened or if the jackal is the mother.
  • Doomed Appointment: Subverted. Thorn gets the warning, but doesn't believe it.
  • Downer Ending: Katherine and Robert Thorn die while Damien lives with his new parents, nobody realizing his true nature as the Antichrist.
  • Driven to Suicide: Damien's first nanny, Holly, who hangs herself from the rooftop under the influence of one of the demonic rottweilers, declaring that she's doing it for Damien.
  • Hell Hound: The rottweiler who is Damien's personal attack guard dog. There's also the pack of savage rottweilers at the Etruscan graveyard.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The priest in the courtyard during the thunderstorm.
  • Nice Guy: Jennings, who willingly assists Robert at every turn, knowing from his photographs that it will mean his own death. It does.
  • Off with His Head!: Jennings's death, still considered by horror buffs to be one of the best deaths of all time.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The "Ave Satani" theme.
  • Religious Horror: When you have a horror film about the Antichrist, you know it's going to have this trope written all over it.
  • The Shadow Knows: The opening titles have an image of Damien casting a shadow that looks like an upside down cross.
  • Spooky Photographs/Marked for Death: Every single picture Jennings takes contains a shadow indicating how the subject will die by Satan's influence.
  • Switched at Birth: This is what kickstarts the plot: Thorn switches his stillborn child actually murdered with another one to keep his wife from realizing the truth.
  • Sword over Head: Despite the victim being a crying child the audience is likely screaming "KILL HIM ALREADY!!!"
  • The Voiceless: In an earlier draft of the script Damien had absolutely no lines. In the actual film he talks infrequently but is still curiously quiet for a 5-year old.

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