The Omen (1976) – A horror film
The Omen is a 1976 horror film written by David Seltzer and directed by Richard Donner. It is the first film in The Omen series and has a star cast of Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Harvey Stephens and others.
Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck) is the American ambassador to Great Britain. When his wife, Katherine Thorn (Lee Remick) delivers a stillborn child, a priest suggests to Robert to adopt a newborn baby boy without the knowledge of his wife. Robert agrees. After a few years, as the child grows up, strange and gruesome incidents start occurring leading Robert to believe that the child he adopted is evil incarnate. Robert starts investigating and he comes to know that his son is Anti-Christ.
The film was a massive commercial success in the United States. The film was the fifth highest grossing movie of 1976. It received mostly positive reviews from critics and is considered by many as one of the best films of 1976.
The Omen is wonderful – taut, economical and terrifying. It is a fine horror story beautifully told. The Omen is one of those oft imitated, never bettered films for as we aeell know there have been three sequels to The Omen but none is as classy and horrifying as the first one. There are a quite a few reasons which make this movie a horror classic.
The movie is creepy and ominous. The performances are of top quality by an excellent cast. Gregory Peck and Lee Remick live the roles of Mr and Mrs Thorn. Gregory Peck is just perfect as a father facing mounting evidence against his son, Lee Remick portrays a woman who intuitively knows that Damien is not her son and that there is something evil in their midst. David Warner turns in a wonderful performance as the photographer Keith Jennings and Billie Whitelaw is truly creepy as Damien’s nanny Mrs. Baylock. Harvey Stephens as Damien is exceedingly perfect as a terrifying Damien because he never acts like the Devil but a small child. He is cute and chubby with a smile which frightens and endears him to you at the same time. Just the look in the little boy’s eyes communicates evil.
Gregory Peck is utterly convincing in the roles he plays and this is no exception. We are able to feel the pain and confusion of Robert Thorn – such is his acting.
Due credit needs to be given to the director of the movie, Richard Donner. He grabs his audience at the beginning and does not let them go until the shocking finale. In the last scene, we see a little boy holding the hand of the President of United States who turns around to us smiling at his father’s funeral. Can anybody think of a more fitting ending to the movie?
Musical score plays an important role in any movie and more so in a horror movie since it is the music which will keep the viewers haunted giving them a feeling of ever present danger. Jerry Goldsmith’s soundtrack is perfect for this film. The musical score is creepy. It manages to build suspense to a crescendo and thoroughly engages the audience. No wonder it won Jerry the Academy Award for Best Music, Original Score.
This film has withstood the test of time. It is as gripping today, as when it was first released. It is a subtle horror movie. It does not depend on scaring people overtly with monsters but instead the horror comes from a disquieting emotion that things just are not right.
This film will retain its status as a horror genre classic for generations to come.