The Omen (1976)
April 29, 2016 10:31 AM - Subscribe

Mysterious deaths surround an American ambassador. Could the child that he is raising actually be the anti-christ? The devil's own son? Full movie here on YouTube.

NYTimes: A member of the "Exorcist" family, it is a dreadfully silly film, which is not to say that it is totally bad. Its horrors are not horrible, its terrors are not terrifying, its violence is ludicrous—which may be an advantage—but it does move along.

Movies about Satanic possession do not depend for their effectiveness on making their central device convincing. They should, however, make all the details surrounding this device so plausible that when the Thing appears the audience's skepticism has gone to sleep. It was this peripheral credibility that gave "Rosemary's Baby" its strength.

Roger Ebert: "The Omen" takes all of this terribly seriously, as befits the genre that gave us "Rosemary’s Baby" and "The Exorcist." What Jesus was to the 1950s movie epic, the devil is to the 1970s, and so all of this material is approached with the greatest solemnity, not only in the performances but also in the photography, the music and the very looks on people's faces.

posted by MoonOrb (11 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm pretty sure this is one of those movies that has doggies making (dubbed) savage sounds but if you look they're wagging their little stumps happily.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:59 AM on April 29, 2016 [3 favorites]

Also, watching this after reading "Good Omens" is like watching "Airport" after seeing "Airplane!"
posted by rmd1023 at 11:00 AM on April 29, 2016 [12 favorites]

It is a silly film, but it has a few things going for it:

Gregory Peck: Slumming, but he classes up the film
Harvey Spencer Stephens: Holy shit that's a creepy kid
And some spectacularly unsettling deaths. In particular, the nanny's suicide and David Warner's decapitation.
posted by maxsparber at 11:08 AM on April 29, 2016 [5 favorites]

The iconography here -- the dogs, the knives, the bleeding idols -- has so much elemental power that it even sends chills when it appears in the pilot of the current Damien TV series, which is otherwise...I mean, I haven't watched past the first episode...
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:02 PM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

David Warner seems to dress up a movie, no matter how ramshackle it might be. Head or no.
posted by valkane at 2:35 PM on April 29, 2016 [3 favorites]

The scene that always used to creep me out the most was when they dug up his mother's grave and find jackal bones. But I have always had great fondness for The Omen, dating back to when I was just a kid and my mom's ex-boyfriend would closely examine my scalp "looking for the 666" whenever I was being a little shit.
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:01 PM on April 29, 2016 [3 favorites]

And some spectacularly unsettling deaths. In particular, the nanny's suicide

I gasped out loud at that- everything about how that scene is set up and shot, and about the nanny's performance, is creepy and the actual suicide is shocking.

Also, watching this after reading "Good Omens" is like watching "Airport" after seeing "Airplane!"

Zero Hour, surely.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:52 AM on April 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

In particular, the nanny's suicide

Right, the movie definitely has its flaws but the nanny's cheerful "Look at me Damien! It's all for you!" is one of the creepiest moments in 70s horror.

Fun fact: Lee Remick's weird slow-motion fall was done by putting her on a dolly and pushing her backward into a vertical "floor". Seems obvious in retrospect, but it was one of my first 'aha' moments with practical effects when I read about it years ago.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 1:54 PM on April 30, 2016 [4 favorites]

Valkane I'm glad you mention David Warner, who is awesome and has a particularly dramatic death.
posted by miss-lapin at 6:49 PM on May 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Warner has definitely been in some not so great films, but I almost always enjoy his performance.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:35 PM on May 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Honestly, the evil little kid parts are the low point. I fully grok that this movie helped create (or at least cement) thosre tropes. But 45+ years of having that style bitten blunts their effect.

I did have fun with the mystery part of it though, after Peck and Warner team up. And Donner is a crackerjack director.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:26 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]

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