He’s killed once, he’ll kill again. He’ll kill until everything that’s yours is his. – Father Brennan
The Omen, the 1976 one, is a masterclass in instilling fear. The trauma you encounter after watching the movie is indescribable, the horror seeps inside of you and sits in a position where you feel hollowed from inside out. The movie wrecks you and makes you anxious in all that you believe in and that you should believe in. The Omen is a movie about the Antichrist. No frills, no strings attached. The movie is about Robert and Katherine Thorn, the US Ambassador to England and his wife, who have a son Damien. Damien exhibits behaviour that is erratic and violent. His surroundings seem to enable that further. Little Damien has a freak panic attack once when the family is nearing a Church, the scene in which Lee Remick’s Katherine is at the receiving end of her child’s violent outburst fails to decipher the cause of this, whereas Gregory Peck’s Robert tries to calm him down. But Katherine is in for even more unsurity as on what is to be a light trip to the zoo turns with the monkeys being scared by Damien’s presence, screeching and creating a mayhem. However, only at Damien’s birthday party do the viewers and the Thorns alike understand that something is truly amiss. Damien’s nanny commits suicide, but not before uttering the very ominous “Damien. This is all for you”.
There are times when the sheer quietness of The Omen becomes its most terrifying facet. When Father Brennan warns Mr. Thorn of his child being the Antichrist, and photographer Keith Jennings figuring out a pattern of presage just before the deaths that befall the characters, there is terror in tenor; terror in eyes; terror in the air. Juxtaposed to other horror classics, the gore in The Omen is at a minimum – save for Jennings’ decapitation scene, and yet it makes you feel vulnerable and visible to pure horror. The score by Jerry Goldsmith, Ave Satani especially, is so frightening in its urgency that you almost feel a pang of nervousness even if the soundtrack is playing in the background with nothing cataclysmic happening on the foreground. Not to mention all the real-life tragedies that unfolded behind the scenes as the movie was being made, for instance a crew member dying eerily in the same manner as Keith Jennings, or Gregory Peck’s airplane being struck by lightening. The Omen scares you with its inevitability, it scares you with its writing, especially as Mrs. Baylock says “Have no fear little one, I am here to protect thee”
Watch it to experience a fright that you have never witnessed before. One that slowly creeps up on you, takes a spot in your soul and doesn’t let you sleep. And looks like a darn cute kid while doing it all.