The Omen (film series)

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The Omen
Directed by The Omen:
Richard Donner
Omen II:
Don Taylor
Omen III:
Graham Baker
Produced by Harvey Bernhard
Screenplay by 1:
David Seltzer
2:
Harvey Bernhard
Stanley Mann
Mike Hodges
3:
Andrew Birkin
Story by David Seltzer
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Cinematography The Omen:
Gilbert Taylor
Omen II:
Bill Butler
Omen III:
Phil Meheux
Robert Paynter
Edited by Stuart Baird
Robert Brown
Alan Strachan
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • June 6, 1976 (1976-06-06) (The Omen)
  • June 9, 1978 (1978-06-09) (Omen II)
  • March 20, 1981 (1981-03-20) (Omen III)
Running time 326 minutes
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget $14.6 million
Box office $107,912,717

The Omen film series is a British-American horror film franchise beginning in 1976. The story was originally written by David Seltzer, who chose not to continue the series after the first novel. The second novel and screenplay were then written by Joseph Howard; the third, by Gordon McGill. After the third film was produced, a fourth and fifth were made-for-TV in an attempt to revive the series, but they did poorly.

The series centers on Damien Thorn, a child born of Satan and given to Robert and Katherine Thorn, before being passed along the Thorn families as a child. It is revealed among the families that Damien is in fact meant to be the Antichrist, and as an adult is attempting to gain control of the Thorn business and reach for the presidency.

Films[edit]

Three theatrical films were produced: The Omen (1976), Damien: Omen II (1978), and Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981).

A television film followed in 1991, entitled The Awakening, directed by Jorge Montesi and Dominique Othenin-Girard. Another TV film followed in 1995, titled The Omen, directed by Jack Sholder. This made-for-television film, which aired on Fox, had nothing to do with the previous films, and was a pilot film made in an attempt to reboot the Omen franchise into a TV series. Although original Omen director Donner was attached to the project as executive producer, the pilot failed and the series never aired. However, in 2005, The Omen author David Seltzer revamped his novel into a teleplay for the short-lived NBC series Revelations, starring Bill Pullman.

Two documentaries of the series has been made, one in 2000, titled 666: The Omen - Revealed, and the other titled The Omen: Legacy in 2001. Both can be found in the special features of the first film's Collector's Edition DVD, released in 2006.

Novelizations and sequels[edit]

There are five novels in the Omen series, the first three being novelizations of their film counterparts:

  • The Omen, written in 1976 by David Seltzer
  • Damien: Omen II, written in 1978 by Joseph Howard
  • Omen III: The Final Conflict, written in 1980 by Gordon McGill
  • Omen IV: Armageddon 2000, written in 1983 by Gordon McGill
  • Omen V: The Abomination, written in 1985 by Gordon McGill

Overall synopsis[edit]

The first three films in the series follow the life of Damien Thorn. The first film introduces Robert Thorn, an American Ambassador in Italy who adopted the newborn Damien to replace the newborn that he was told was stillborn. When Damien reaches the age of five as Robert is transferred to Britain, strange events unfold as Damien's subconscious acts independent of the unaware child by first having the boy's nanny commit suicide during his birthday party. Soon after, Robert encounters a Catholic Priest named Father Brennan who was present at Damien's birth and attempted to warn him that child would eventually kill him and his wife before he dies impaled by a falling church spire. It was only after his wife ended up hospitalized with a miscarriage that Robert believes as he and a photographer named Jennings travel to Rome where they learn the truth that Damien is the Antichrist and that the death of Robert's child was arranged so the child can be raised by a politician. In the meantime, Katherine is murdered by Mrs. Baylock, Damien's second nanny, who in reality a member of the Satanists who arranged Damien's upbringing and kill any threat to protect him. Arriving to Megiddo to find Bugenhagen, an exorcist and archaeologist, Robert is presented with the only means to kill Damien: Seven Daggers of Megiddo. Though initially refuses, it took both the death of Jennings and discovering the Mark of the Beast on Damien's head to convince Robert to go through with it. But despite killing Mrs. Baylock after a struggle, Robert is killed by the authorities before he could kill Damien. Damien is then left in the care of his uncle, Richard Thorn. Though Bugenhagen attempts to send Richard a package, he and his friend Morris ended up being buried alive in Megiddo.[1]

The second film introduces Richard's son Mark and his second wife Ann. Now a teenager, Damien attends military school alongside Mark while his subconscious, acting in the form of a raven, kills Richard's aunt Marion, Jennings's friend Joan Hart, and Thorn Industries manager Paul Buher. Buher's death is more beneficial for senior manager Bill Atherton, another member of the Satanist group Baylock was part of. Another member, Sgt. Neff, guides Damien to learn his true nature by advising him to read the Book of Revelation. Though fearful of it at first, unconsciously killing Dr. David Pasarian and a medical physician who tested his blood, Damien comes to accept his fate as he begins to consciousness kill any who stands in his way, including his cousin Mark and Dr. Charles Warren. Though Richard accepted the truth upon receiving the Daggers of Megiddo from Bugenhagen's package, he is murdered by Ann before Damien killed her despite being one of his disciples.[2] The third film follows the adult Damien, now head of his uncle's industry and arranging his position as American Ambassador in Britain to prevent the Second Coming which would gradually weaken his powers by having his followers slaughter every male British child born March 24. Though he managed to kill six of the seven monks who each brandish a Dagger of Megiddo, save their leader Father DeCarlo, Damien unknowingly causes his downfall by his association with a journalist named Kate Reynolds who killed him at his moment of weakness. But as Damien's death was not preformed in the matter that Bugenhagen learned, the Antichrist only suffered a temporary demise.[3]

In the final film, it is revealed that Damien's followers arranged for his biological daughter Delia to be adopted by two attorneys, Gene and Karen York. While nothing seems wrong at first, compared to her father, Delia is fully aware of her powers as she terrorizes her mother Karen as she finds herself pregnant while hiring a detective to find how of Delia's linage. What follows is a string of bizarre accidental deaths before Karen gives birth to her son Alexander while falling into a paranoia as she tries to reveal her daughter's true identity. Though she learned that Delia is the daughter of Damien Thorn while holding her family doctor Hastings at gunpoint upon learning he is a Satanist, Karen learns that the reborn Antichrist is actually Alexander: Delia's twin brother whose embryo was implanted into Karen. Though Karen was adamant to kill Alexander, she ended up committing suicide, leaving Alexander and Delia still alive to continue their birth father's work.

Reception[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic Budget Gross
The Omen (1976) 85% (32 reviews)[4] $2.8 million[5] $60,922,980[6]
Damien: Omen II (1978) 41% (18 reviews)[7] $6.8 million[5] $26,518,355[8]
Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981) 32% (18 reviews)[9] $5 million[5] $20,471,382[10]
Omen IV: The Awakening (1991) 20% (4 reviews)[11] N/A N/A N/A

Remake[edit]

A remake of the first film was released in 2006, directed and produced by John Moore, starring Liev Schreiber and Julia Stiles. The film was met with mixed reviews but with general box office success. With a mild budget of $25 million, the film grossed a total of $54 million domestic and $64 million foreign to total $119 million. This film is often included in box sets of the series despite not being considered an installment.

TV series[edit]

Lifetime will air a 6 episode TV series sequel titled "Damien" in 2015 with Bradley James starring as Damien and the first episode will be directing by Shekhar Kapur.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Donner, Richard (Director) (1976). The Omen (DVD). Beverly Hills, CA: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. OCLC 70171384. 
  2. ^ Taylor, Don and Hodges, Mike (Directors) (1978). Damien: Omen II (DVD). Beverly Hills, CA: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. OCLC 45111331. 
  3. ^ Baker, Graham (Director) (1981). Omen III: The Final Conflict (DVD). Beverly Hills, CA: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. OCLC 45273673. 
  4. ^ "http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1015517-omen/". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 4, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989 p258-259
  6. ^ "The Omen (1976)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 3, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Damien: Omen II". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 4, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Damien: The Omen Part II (1978)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 3, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Omen III: The Final Conflict". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 4, 2009. 
  10. ^ "The Final Conflict: Omen III (1981)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 3, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Omen IV: The Awakening". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 4, 2009. 
  12. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (December 3, 2014). "Bradley James To Play Lead In Lifetime’s ‘The Omen’ Sequel Series ‘Damien'; Shekhar Kapur To Direct". Deadline.