Updated: Nov 11, 2019
Nominee #2 - The Omen (1976)
A series of mysterious deaths and terrible accidents lead to the suspicion that this American Ambassador's child is not the blessing he was thought to be.Director: Richard Donner Writer: David Seltzer Stars: Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, Harvey Stephens
"Let him that hath understanding, count the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man and his number is 666". These chilling words from Revelations Chapter 13 frame the drama that unfolds in The Omen. Starring Gregory Peck as US Ambassador, Robert Thorn, Lee Remick as his wife and Harvey Spencer Stephens as their son, Damien - the antichrist, The Omen did the impossible: it made a child sinister and scary – following in the footsteps of that path-breaking masterpiece that came before it, The Exorcist.
“It is by means of a human personality entirely in his possession that Satan will wage his last formidable offence.”
Directed by Richard Donner (who went on to direct Superman (1978), Lethal Weapon (1987) and its sequels), The Omen combines memorable scenes, an Oscar-winning music score (by Jerry Goldsmith), strong performances from the cast and the genuinely scary prospect of the son of the devil in our midst to leave you shaken for a long time. As the priest in the film warns, “It is by means of a human personality entirely in his possession that Satan will wage his last formidable offence.” It is not just the hanging, impaling and decapitation that make this a riveting movie. It is also the commitment of a great cast. Peck's role as the troubled parent (unravelling the worst-case scenario in relation to his child) was initially offered to Charlton Heston, Roy Scheider, Dick Van Dyke and William Holden. Peck’s eventual performance adds gravitas and credibility to what is by all accounts an outlandish the story. The violent reaction of the child as he nears a church, the baboons’ assault, the horrific fall over the bannister that results in a miscarriage, the attack by a pack of dogs in the cemetery, the climactic scene in the church….all expertly choreographed scenes that punctuation a slow but sure march to damnation.A gothic horror classic that set the benchmark and spawned a franchise of films, as well as a 2006 remake!