The Omen

This week’s review is a hold over from last week, inspired by this site’s wonderful host and founder. Before Halloween, we were having a conversation on a grim morning with an overcast sky filled with the dark promise of more harsh unforgiving weather… a pal of gloom had overcome the Boston area. Aaron asked me: “what horror flicks do you recommend?” Not having given him my review for “The Mothman Prophecies” yet, I mentioned that one with the title for this week’s review: “The Omen”…

I’ve joked in a few of the forums I contribute to that the next Indiana Jones movie should start with the discovery of a face painted in the cave close to where the Dead Sea scrolls were recovered. Near the portrait would read the words in ancient text: “Beware the Rise of the Beast”… The face being that of the new Secretary General of the United Nations, all in an obvious referenced to a scene in “The Omen”.

Not to give too much of the movie away, Gregory Peck plays a American Ambassador who’s wife gives birth to a boy, who were told the child been still-born. A Priest at the hospital offers a deal to Robert Thorn (Peck), since the other woman down the hall died while giving birth to a son of her own… why not just switch his dead for the living and leave it at that? Thorn reluctantly agrees. The rest of the movie is the tragic tale of how this decision has grave consequences for all.

While half the movie is a succession of horrific scenes that detail the fate of those who try to warn Thorn about the true nature of his adopted child, the other half shows Thorn traveling around Europe as he pieces together facts on what to do about this childish horror.

The biggest thrill for Indy Fans is that there is an archeologist who is responsible for uncovering both the artifacts and ritual on how to dispose of the child-antichrist. Obviously, we all wish that Harrison Ford played the archeologist, had more of an active roll and there was a title change to this movie: “Raiders of the Relics of Megiddo”. Maybe next time.

If you’ve already seen the other movie I’ve reviewed last week or are just looking for a classic thriller to pass away the nights leading up to next year’s Halloween, this is a perfect choice. The Omen has seeped somewhat into our cultural awareness, for example- when someone has a misbehaving child, often one would joke that they adopted “Damien”, the title character of this motion picture. What was supposed to be a movie cashing into the occult phenomenon after the success of “The Exorcist” a year or so earlier, The Omen stands out as a thriller of it’s own. Although slightly dated for the time it was filmed 1973, Director Richard Donner took what must have been an over-the-top script and made it into a “Top Ten Horror Films of all time”. Mr. Donner was able to craft a vary human tale from this dark subject matter, and almost 30 years later “The Omen” is still one of the most intense motion pictures of its Genre.

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