Film: The Omen
aka: Omen IV The Awakening
When the Jews return to Zion and a comet rips the sky
And the Holy Roman Empire rises, then You and I must die.
From the eternal sea he rises, creating armies on either shore
Turning man against his brother 'til man exists no more. 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.
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...
Though similar to The Exorcist
in several ways and poorly regarded by critics upon release, it was a huge hit and has gained prestige over time for a number of reasons: its respectability (as a profitable major-studio film with renowned actors), its seriousness (it plays as a contemporary thriller, rather than with the knowing excesses of certain aspects of the horror genre)note
, and the originality of the movie's excellent choral score by Jerry Goldsmith
. "Ave Satani", the famous theme music, even got an Academy Award
nomination for Best Original Song!
It also displays some of the bad style of The Seventies
and comes across as very cheesy at times, despite generally maintaining a solid degree of intelligence and sincerity. note
The movie followed a cycle of 'demonic child
' movies, such as Rosemary's Baby
and The Exorcist
, and was itself followed by three sequels (Damien: Omen II
, Omen III: The Final Conflict
, and Omen IV: The Awakening
). After the first three films were novelized, two non-canon book sequels were written by Gordon McGill (Omen IV: Armageddon 2000
and Omen V: The Abomination
) chronicling the exploits of Damien's son and his attempts to cause the end of the world through interfering with the international peace process. There were a number of copycat films such as the Italian-made Kirk Douglas movie Holocaust 2000
A remake was released on June 6, 2006, a release date chosen because of its significance to the Number of the Beast (666).
This movie series contains examples of:
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- The Antichrist: Damien.
- Arc Words: "Look at me Damien! It's all for you!"
- Birthmark of Destiny: Damien, of course, bears the Mark of the Beast (hidden conveniently beneath his hair).
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Damien's many secret protectors are often seemingly nice individuals. Damien is a debatable example as he never does anything overtly evil in the first film directly and it's left ambiguous of how aware he is of what he is.
- Cassandra Truth: Anyone who brings up something being odd about Damien is usually dismissed, regardless of how rational they are. Then there's the people who flat out call him evil, his mother among them, and all are viewed as crazy. Though subverted in that certain secret Satan worshipers are deliberately being dismissive.
- Children Are Innocent: ... not.
- Creepy Child: Well, he's quite adorable for the son of Satan but he still does things that creep out other characters and of course the audience. Interestingly this trait is ramped up considerably in the 2006 version.
- Death by Pragmatism: Invoked by Satan and his followers. The moment anyone becomes aware of what Damien is, or comes close to revealing it unwittingly or not, they're as good as dead.
- Downer Ending: Except the third movie, although even then, Damien does manage to cause a lot of pain and death before he's finally taken down.
- Enfant Terrible: The plot of the first film. He's better behaved at the start of the second, until he learns of his call.
- Well outside of throwing a temper tantrum when he comes near a church, and knocking his mother off the stairs (which may or may not have been a accident) it's debatable on this in the first film.
- Delia in the fourth film is a much straighter example.
- Hellhound: Damien is guarded by a squadron of Rottweilers.
- Hybrid Monster: Damien's real father is the Devil... and his mother was a jackal.
- Mark of the Beast: Damien has a small birthmark on his scalp resembling three sixes.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: This film series forever stained the name, Damien, which was originally associated with a saint.
- Number of the Beast: Sixes surround this kid's existence, in fact. He was born on June 6th at 6am.
- Nothing Is Scarier: The build up to the deaths in thoughout the original trilogy were pretty intense, the deaths themselves were terrible ways to go for the most part but almost a relief when they come. The remake has elements of this too. It could be argued that this teaser for the remake is infinitely more terrifying than the movie itself.
- Nuns Are Spooky: Like the one who tells Thorn that she can't give him any information about his child.
- Offing the Offspring: The 'Bad Seed' variant. It doesn't work.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: "Ave Satani".
- Religious Horror
- Revealing Coverup: At times, the Satanic forces that try to protect Damien actually wind up helping to convince skeptics that he is, indeed, the Antichrist. Had all those mysterious deaths been a little less spectacular/creepy, Thorn and others might never have believed they were anything but accidents.
- Rube Goldberg Hates Your Guts: And they go off with not so much as a hitch since they are planned by The Devil.
- Secret Circle of Secrets: Nearly other person around Damien seems to be a member of a Satan-worshiping cult who are loyal to the death and do the dirty work of murdering those could threaten Damien when the accidents don't.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The first two films end like this.
- Sickbed Slaying: Katherine Thorn in the first film and its remake. The way it's done is different in the remake, though.
- Sugary Malice: The babysitter.
- Switched at Birth
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: If Damien doesn't kill you for standing in his way, he'll kill you for this. Father Brennan warns Robert Thorn in the first film that this is his (Thorn's) fate once Damien is assured to inherit the Thorn family wealth.
Damien: Omen II
- Don't Make Me Destroy You: Damien threatens Mark with this after he rejects his offer to rule Earth, leading to his death. It's notable as it's the only death in the franchise that Damien appears to feel actual remorse for.
- Executive Meddling: The director wanted Damien to be fifteen in the sequel, according to Word of God. He wanted this because he thought it would be interesting to give Damien a girlfriend before he discovers what he is, ensuring Angst when he has to chose love or destiny. The execs forced him to accept Damien at 12. It's very ironic that nowadays the execs would be pushing to have Damien older.
- Evil All Along: At the end, Ann Thorn is revealed to have been on Satan's side when she "gives" her husband the sacred daggers. She dies shortly afterward, having outlived her usefulness.
- Eye Scream: A woman has her two eyes beaked by a raven, leaving her blindly walking into the path of an incoming truck. Talk about a gruesome way to go.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: The doctor who tests Damien's blood and discovers he has jackal DNA. Finds himself sliced in half whilst involved in a freak elevator "accident."
- He Knows Too Much: See Half the Man He Used to Be.
- Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: The last guy from the first movie (played by Leo McKern) who knew Damien's secret is killed off in the opening minutes of Damien: The Omen II, tying up a remaining loose end. McKern is the only cast member to appear in more than one movie of the series.
- We Can Rule Together: Damien tries to convince his adopted brother Mark to join him in his quest to rule the Earth.
Omen III: The Final Conflict
- Adult Fear: Damien Thorn, when he found out about the birth of the Christ child, resorted to Kill 'em All.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: A lot actually, but two that stick out the most is the death of the one priest who is mauled to death by bloodhounds during a hunt and another priest who burns to death whilst trapped in melting plastic sheets. And what makes it worse is that the latter doesn't die quickly.
- Eye Scream: The iron.
- Famous Last Words: Damien: "Nazarene...you have won nothing."
- Fox Hunting: During a hunt, Damien gets cornered by some priests over a bridge. He uses his demonic powers to make one horse throw off its rider and send him into the stream below, and then he possesses the hounds to make them maul the other priest to death.
- Good People Have Good Sex: Damien isn't very considerate of his partner, leaving her full bite- and scratchmarks.
- Hannibal Lecture: Damien gives one to a statue of Jesus on the Cross about how he is a weak charlatan who gives humanity false hope. The speech then goes into a Motive Rant about Damien avenging his father's exile from Heaven.
- Infant Immortality: Averted.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Herod!: The Final Conflict has Damien try to prevent the second coming of Christ by killing any and all children born during the herald of his return.
- Prophecy Twist: Damien attempts to stop the second coming of Christ by killing any children born during the sign of his immanent return. This is to prevent "the beasts" defeat to "the lamb" as predicted in Revelation before he's even had a chance to face him. Unfortunately for the forces of darkness, Jesus returns not as a mortal child but rather in his all-powerful divine form and proceeds to strike Damien down personally-which is what the Book of Revelation said would happen.
- Retcon: The fashions, cars, et cetera make it quite clear The Omen was supposed to be set around the time of its release in the mid-70s. When Damien: Omen II came out two years later with Damien seven or so years older, it seemed like a case of Twenty Minutes into the Future. But The Final Conflict is explicitly set in 1982 with a 32-year-old Damien, retroactively pushing the events of the original film back to the mid-1950s and Damien to the early 1960s, neither of which fits the evidence in the earlier films at all.
- Screw Destiny: Damien's motivation is to prevent his prophesied defeated at the hands of Jesus during the Second Coming.
- Stopped Numbering Sequels: Originally released as The Final Conflict, without a number OR the franchise title! While modern home video releases have Omen III on the box, the original title card is still shown in the movie itself.
- Unwilling Suspension: Happens to the one of the monks, who is then wrapped in plastic and is caught on fire.
Omen IV: The Awakening
- Daddy's Girl: Delia doesn't like her mother much, but whenever she has been naughty, she only has to look at her father with Puppy-Dog Eyes and tell him a made-up story (usually one that her father can relate to because of personal childhood experience), and she has him wrapped around her finger.
- Retcon: At the end of The Final Conflict, the second coming happens successfully and Jesus Christ returns to the Earth at full power, killing Damien. In The Awakening, Damien is still dead, but there's no sign Jesus ever showed up, which would probably be kind of a big deal.
- Stock Subtitle: The Awakening.
- Trilogy Creep: The film involved the daughter of Damien and the AntiChrist's return to Earth. It tried to explore the world of The Omen more, but the film had a meandering plot with many plotholes and was quietly shunted into Canon Discontinuity.
- It also had the audacity to have a sequel hook. Seriously the third movie was called "The Final Conflict" and the Anti Christ died infront of the risen Jesus. How could it have been more final?
The 2006 Remake
The NonCanon Novels
- Body Horror/ Death by Childbirth / Fetus Terrible: How Damian's son is born.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Unlike his father who intended to rule the Earth, Damian Jr just wants to see it burn.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Damian Thorn Jr looks just like a younger version of his father. Not surprising, as Junior is heavily implied to be Damian's reincarnation. He's kept in hiding for this reason.
- Technology Marches On: The novel is set in the year 2000, and at one point the character needs to look up a piece of information. He does so by requesting the use of a hotel's sole computer, which is a giant monstrosity that is wheeled into his room by the hotel staff. He asks the staff if the book he is looking for in the computer's database, to which the staff member assures him that the computer holds every book. Later, while using the computer, the character makes queries to the computer which then draws logical conclusions based on the questions he asks it, something which no computer in any era is able to do. Perhaps the author didn't realize that even in the future computers can only organize information, it's still up to people to draw conclusions from that data.
- Twenty Minutes into the Future: The novels were written in the early 1980s, and set in the year 2000.