“Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast; for it is the number of a man; and his number is 666.” – Book of Revelation
This movie… this movie, and The Exorcist, are two of my favorite movies. And they scare the absolute hell out of me. Or maybe I should say into me.
Full disclosure: I’m Catholic so I find these movies more disturbing perhaps than most people because I do believe there is a Heaven and a Hell and there is such a thing as good and evil and God and The Devil (aka Lucifer, aka Satan) out to claim our souls.
This movie was released on June 6, 1976.
6. 6. 6.
The movie came on the heels of another blockbuster movie about Satan – Rosemary’s Baby. In that film the Devil came in the form of a baby born to Mia Farrow after she was “given” to a coven by her husband in return for a favorable acting career.
In The Omen we see the Antichrist born into a political family. The idea sprang from the notion of what would it be like if the Antichrist were to return to the world, not as an adult, but as a child – growing up around other children. An innocent child who learns who he his, and what power he holds, as he becomes an adult. A parallel to Christ appearing on earth as a child.
A wonderful backdrop for a story, and then, when you discover that the Antichrist is an American to boot…
My interest in the film was renewed a few years back when the remake came out. Against my better judgment, I watched this remake. It wasn’t horrible, but Liev Schreiber is no Gregory Peck.
I caught a documentary about the original film a few months back that was really fascinating – many who worked on the original film believed the film was cursed, or that someone (or something) didn’t want the film to be made. This included members of the crew, the cast, and even the writers / editors. Among the more interesting stories of creepy “coincidences” that occurred before and during filming of The Omen:
- Gregory Peck’s son committed suicide a couple months before filming began.
- Gregory Peck’s plane and screenwriter David Seltzer’s plane were both struck by lightning during two separate flights.
- The dogs they used to “attack” Ambassador Thorn in the cemetery actually attacked their handler and refused their learned commands to stop attacking. Although the handler wasn’t killed he was injured by the animals.
- An animal handler was killed during the zoo scene when one of the tigers attacked and killed him.
- Stuntman Alf Joint was working on a film after The Omen ended. In one particular stunt he had to jump off a building and land on an inflatable cushion. He claimed that at the moment he jumped he felt someone (or something) push him sideways. He missed the inflatable and hit the ground. Somehow he miraculously survived. No one else was on the building, and no one could ever prove that someone pushed him.
- John Richardson, who designed the gruesome deaths that occurred in the film, found himself in an eerily similar situation when he was in a serious car accident in Europe a few years after The Omen was shot. A female companion in the car was beheaded, not unlike David Warner’s character in the movie. Rumor has it than when Richardson crawled out of the wreck seeking help he looked up and saw a road sign that said “Ommen 66.6 km.”
Truth? Rumor? Coincidence? No matter which it is, it makes for a nice backdrop for a horror film, and a compelling reason to watch it for the first time.
Or the six hundred and sixty-sixth time…