31 Days of Halloween – Day 12 – The Omen and More Omen

omen6What the fudge is an omen, anyway?  Well, it’s a prophetic event heralding in good or evil.  In most cases, it’s evil stuff.
In common media, the prediction is usually an overdramatic harbinger given by a psychic or a religious guy. Sometimes movies have these one-off characters to run in and act crazy, as they shout about the End Times.  That’s all fine, but what if your whole movie is about an omen?  In fact, it’s called THE Omen, as if to give more importance to the whole thing.  In that case, The Omen (1976) and The Omen II (1978) have the right vibe to make sure they deliver all the overdramatic warnings possible. The kid’s EVIL.  Everybody KNOWS it.  Ahem, anyway…

omen5If you haven’t seen the original Omen from 1976, then you’re missing out.  Gregory Peck does a great job leading the movie through some dreary and foreboding territory.  I like the score, the sets, the camerawork, and even the pace.  Maybe it’s a little old-fashion, but it still works for me.

The Omen II is a little different.  This time William Holden is running the show, because both Peck and Lee Remick were killed off in the original.  Also, The Devil is a little older, so now we get to interact with a Satanic teenager.  I mean, not an ordinary Satanic teenager, but the real thing.

The kills in The Omen II are a little more drawn out and more gruesome, which delays the horror but increases the tension, I guess.  Still, it’s a little messy and it takes a good chunk of screentime to kill off some of the characters, like Elizabeth Shepard, who plays Joan Hart.  As a reporter, she starts investigating a story about Damien.  She gets run off the road and has a car accident, then attacked by a vicious raven.  If that isn’t enough, it pecks her eyes out so she tries to wander to safety, but stumbles back to the road and a truck hits her dead on, making her as dead as a squirrel pizza.

omen7There’s a truckload of conspirators in this sequel and there’s a lot more going on, too. Lance Henriksen plays Sgt. Huff, one of Damien’s guardians and protectors, but his character disappears later on.  The director never takes advantage of Lance Henriksen’s acting chops, which is a shame.  I wanted to see more from him.

Damien himself is not all-evil all-the-time, not like Bill O’Reilly or something, but seems frightened of himself most times.  At other times, he’s sullen and just resigned to the fact that he’s the Devil’s spawn.  He’s like, “Oh well, I’m the anti-christ, whatcha gonna do?”  After resigning himself to evil, Damien dives into his role.  

The twists in this movie are out of nowhere.  Many of the scenes jump around and the pace seems off, whereas the original built up to the conclusion.  The sequel doesn’t really build so much as resurrect a deus ex machina in order to actually threaten Damien, because he’s apparently immune to everything, including disease.  Why does he need protectors?  I’m not sure.  No wonder he’s so calm.

In all, this sequel is muddled.  It tries to recapture some of the same tone as the original, but only succeeds in some places.  A lot of times the killings having no build up and are just done to show the power of the Devil, who can pretty much kill anybody, I guess.  I don’t get it.  There’s no dramatic flavor, as in the first, and there’s certainly nothing close to the foreboding tone as in The Exorcist, which is still the best movie with religious overtones about the Devil.  However, I’d be hard pressed to pick between The Omen and The Exorcist, but The Omen II can’t match either one.  It’s pretty sad, because The Omen II has the beginnings of a good movie, but copies the same ending from the original and has a lot of other stupid things to drag it down.

omen831. Poltergeist (1982) vs Poltergeist (2015)
30. Blair Witch Project (1999)
29. Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
28. The Wicker Man (1973) and The Wicker Man Remake
27. Tales from the Darkside, the Movie (1990)
26. Saw (2004)
25. The Prophecy (1995)
24. The Hills have Eyes (1977)
23. House of the Long Shadows (1983)
22. Creepshow (1982)
21. Phantasm (1979)
20. The Omen (1976) vs Damien: The Omen II
19. We Are Still Here (2015)
18. The Guest (2010)
17. Return of the Living Dead (1985)
15. The House that Dripped Blood (1971)
14. Army of Darkness (1992)
13. In the Mouth of Madness (1994)
12. Friday the 13th Part III
11. Theater of Blood (1973)
10. House of Wax (1953) vs House of Wax (2005)
9. Hellraiser Inferno (2000)
8. Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)
7. The Changeling (1980)
6. The Eye (2002)
5. The Hitcher (1986)
4. Paranormal Activity (2007)
3. 28 Days Later (2003)
2. Suspiria (1977)
1. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – This review will be published October 31st!