Movie Review- The Omen(o-1976)

Hey Folks,

 

So a little late night (BUT STILL ON TIME) entry into the Shocktober festivities.

 

It’s Toss Up Tuesday and today it’s:

 

 

The Omen (o-1976)

 

 

 

 

Fast Facts

 

Made in 1976 (really) and directed by Richard Donner  The Omen rides the religiously themed coattails of The Exorcist but you’d be hard pressed to say is a pale imitation. The story is theologically epic, centering on an American ambassador who inadvertently adopts the antichrist (I’m still not convinced it was inadvertent, I’m thinking politicians generally have to close a relationship with satan for that).

 

 

Badum-ching

 

 

Cast

 

Mitt Romney’s stunt double

Gregory Peck- Plays Robert Thorn, aforementioned ambassador who has some communication issues with his wife. “ Hey honey, so our baby died in childbirth but this priest I just met that looks like the human incarnation of hate says that we can have this one free of charge! Pretty fuckin’ sweet huh? What? Oh don’t worry they’re going to amputate the tail…”

 

 

If only there were a dingo near by…

Lee Remick- Plays Katherine Thorn, who’s certifiably insane and kind of intensely not at all likable for about 80% of the movie. Honestly neither of the Thorn’s are so I’m not even picking on Ms. Remick here, if Gregory Peck can’t get this shit going why the hell should she have to?

 

British and therefore a better actor than you…and yes for those of you who were wondering, he’s Sid’s acting teacher in Scream 2

David Warner- Plays Jennings, a photographer who finds he has a prurient interest in the unlikable Thorn’s predicament. He’s one of the best parts of the movie and I’m not just saying that because he has quite the impressive horror resume.

 

She’s like a spoonful of arsenic

Billie Whitelaw- Plays Mrs. Baylock, Proprieter of Nanny 666. Whitelaw apparently tried to duck out of the project, but you’ll be awfully glad she didn’t.

 

Can’t breathe…too crazy…

Patrick Troughton- Plays Father Brennan, a paranoid schiso….oh wait right he was totally telling the truth the whole time. Now if he could work on his people skills, like not constantly saying shit about drinking blood with no explanation at all….well maybe he’d be a little less escorted off the premises all the goddamn time.

 

 

Bitch please

Harvey Stephens- Plays Damien, the least annoying of the whole Thorn family and he’s the antichrist…unfortunately he’s also a small child in a 70’s horror movie, so whether his daddy’s satan or not you’re still going to spend a lot of time wishing someone would belt him in the mouth.

 

 

 

Observations

 

The Omen is a conflicted movie for me. On the one hand, it’s awesomely scary even now, (helped along greatly by the now iconic score of Jerry Goldsmith) but there are so many things about this movie that are just facepalmingly frustrating. Mostly it’s the dialogue, to be perfectly honest. There are scenes in this movie, particularly between Peck and Remick that are hard to watch in places, mostly because it’s just the two of them looking put upon and rocking back and forth saying each other’s names.

 

Mostly in traction

But it’s also at least partially because the Thorns really just aren’t that sympathetic. Their situation is not exactly enviable, but I honestly think that there was a HUGE hole in this script.

 

Also look at that fucking headwrap

Katherine not loving Damien.

 

I know this is going to sound douchey, second guessing the screenwriter, but don’t you think it would just be so much more horrific, traumatic even if Katherine really did think Damien was hers and just a sweet innocent little boy, right up until he knocks her over the railing?

 

Wait a minute…maybe you’re NOT a special snowflake!

But it’s probably just me so let’s go ahead and give this a breakdown into three key sequences.

 

 

Believe it or not this isn’t one of them

Also the Yankees are in the 11th inning right now and I’m sweating out two things at once….

 

 

 

 

  1. Aforementioned railing plummet.

 

Now Katherine’s been acting kind of pissy the last hour or so of the movie, so it’s almost gratifying to watch this…but even with the unintentional wish fulfillment Donner’s made here this is a pretty damn scary scene.

 

This is my top priority right now

Katherine is trying to fix a hanging plant, by standing on a precariously balanced side table nary two feet from the railing on the second floor of their uber mansion.

 

Damien is riding around in circles on his tricycle in his room, under the watchful eye of his demonic bodyguard.

 

1+1= 2

 

Or possibly broken humerus!

However the timing of the whole thing, prolonged shots of Damien revving his engines so to speak and an ever building crescendo of awesomeness, (thank you Mr. Goldsmith) really just make the anticipation of this unbearable for about half a minute.

 

Hey mom…get me a sandwich

 

  1. Jennings mental acrobatics…

 

I would like to point out again, that I think David Warner delivers the most solid acting job in the whole shebang. But this is also one of my favorite kills in the genre so I’m willing to deal with his absence following this scene.

 

For those of you who need a refresher I’m talking about this:

 

 

 

Oh yeah

 

Yeah that stung a little

 

 

 

Do I even have to explain this? I mean how is that not awesome…

 

 

On an unrelated note….SONOFABITCH RODRIGUEZ!

 

Twelfth inning….I mean for the love of god I still have to watch 28 Days Latertonight.

 

 

  1. Kidnapping

 

Ok so the penultimate scene of this movie isn’t in the top three, which I think says something. But the sequence leading up to it is. Mr. Thorn, after finally accepting that he may have made a mistake at the discount replacement infant depository five years ago, returns home to steal said child out from under the nose of the nanny and murder him on the altar of his Christian god…wow it sounds a little dark that way huh?

 

naaaahhhh

 

The fight scene here is great, though I’m not really sure why it is that satan’s governess’s main defense is to gnaw on Gregory Peck’s ankle until he…I dunno gets shin splints and surrenders or something.

It doesn’t quite go that way

 

But Damien’s screaming, Peck is being appropriately violent, there’s a gigantic hellhound in the basement baying for ambience and the chaos is a welcome reprieve from the frustratingly polite dancing around the issue we’ve been doing for the first 95% of the film.

 

Fright Dyke would like to remind her readers that Rottie’s a sweet loyal companions and their depiction in The Omen is not accurate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wall Cat would like to remind his readers that they really shouldn’t take that chance…should they?

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

There are a lot of things about The Omen that are absolutely amazing. Unfortunately so many that the few things that drive me batty about it REALLY get to me. Because there is nothing worse than a near perfect movie, because you spend all of your time thinking about how awesome it would have been if they had just….

 

 

Belt in the mouth…

 

All in all 8 out of 10

 

 

 

Anyway Yankees are still playing.

 

 

Tomorrow we’ll be examining 28 Days Later for our first Undead Wednesday of the month. I know it’s not technically accurate but oh well.

 

 

 

 

You’re HIT THE GODDAMN BALL ALREADY Screamstress,

 

 

 

~Fright Dyke

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