Friday, 26 October 2012

The Omen (1976)

"The Omen" (1976, Richard Donner, 20th Century Fox) is a suspenseful horror about a family who's young son is the Antichrist.

Little did American Ambassador, Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck) and his wife, Katherine (Lee Remick), know when they were proudly taking home new baby son, Damien (Harvey Spencer Stephens), just how... uhm... special he was... And little did they realise how different their lives were soon to be!

The family's life is plagued with odd occurrences, disasters and tragedy, but it is the appearance of a strange priest, Father Brennan (Patrick Troughton), and also curious photographer, Keith (David Warner), which begins to make Thorn look at these occurrences under a different light. But can he uncover the truth and stop the evil before it's too late?

An excellent classic, this film is one of my favourite 70s horrors. Slow burning in places, the pace is kept with engaging plot, nice scenery, a thrilling 'witch hunt' and some shocking scenes. Also, if you have a bit of a dog fear, this may not be the best movie for you.

The story is played out more like a mystery with horror elements than going for the full shock-horror like "The Exorcist" or just the gore that other Satan-centred films rely on. Even my horror-hating boyfriend likes this film and it's 2006 remake, too. It's just a good film. But that's not to say that there isn't a few good old horror 'ookie' bits. There are some damn good horror scenes. It may be a 70s film, but the special effects are still good for today's audience and some of the death scenes are inspired!

The nanny character (Billie Whitelaw) is very chilling and little Damien is the essence of creepiness, while saying virtually nothing. Without crossing any lines (in my view, I'm sure it was scandalous for the day), "The Omen" shines as one of the best 'Satanic' horrors in the genre. I definitely recommend seeing this version before the remake!

[Image: 20th Century Fox]