Silly and exploitative, The Omen is a shocker


It's a guilty pleasure of a movie series.

by Allen Therisa in Sequel Fever

Don't look now!
Don't look now!


Ominous twaddle as the devil walks amongst us causing all sorts of trouble.

And how.

Satan comes to life in human form, and we follow his demonic development from murderous toddler (kids, huh?), through troubled adolescence (bloody teenagers), into gloomy adulthood dominated by a penchant for murderous plotting (but that's the mid-life crisis for you) ending, sort of, with a bit of gender-bending.

Makes lots of noise and loads of money in the 1970s, before reappearing in glossy, angst-inducing form as a by-the-numbers retread with Mia Farrow as the devil's handmaiden.

Holy moly.


The Omen (1976)

Gregory Peck and Lee Remick add Hollywood glamour to a plodding, cumbersome, campy tale of the toddler from hell and his steady advance on The White House (a plot line somehow lost between The Omen and its immediate sequel).

Surprisingly high production values for such nonsense.

It was 1976, The Omen is mainly set in England, and it rains a lot.

Remembered for its spooky music, and, oh yeah, the quite effective beheading of David Warner. 

Damien: Omen II (1978)

Looks great, like an expensive TV movie, which it kind of is.

Don Taylor's first sequel is just as silly as The Omen, but this time, because the devil is a surly teen, Damien: Omen II has added character development and there's a creeping paranoia running through the movie about corporatism and militarism.

Sort of cool.

Better music than the first one, fewer gory chills, and with a certain pouting and theatrical gesturing on the part of William Holden and Lee Grant, Omen II is more respected than, you know, actually liked.

Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981)

Oh no, it's Sam Neill, miscast and looking embarrassed to be here (as he should be), playing the devil all grown-up. Now US Ambassador to the United Kingdom, with evil plans up his sleeve, Neill's job in The Final Conflict is to glower until the eventual head-to-head with the big guy from upstairs.

Ponderous, unconvincing, and generally rubbish.

No one can remember what the soundtrack is like for this one.

Ruby Wax appears as Neill's secretary.

Omen IV: The Awakening (1991)

TV movie. The franchise now descended into total nonsense.

The devil is a young girl [Damien Thorn's daughter from III] causing, yes, you guessed it, murderous mayhem wherever she goes. Except she isn't what she appears. She is actually the sister of the devil (or some confusing old nonsense that fails to convince anyone).


Damien: Omen II. There is, frankly, something a little distasteful (not to mention silly) in the notion of demonising a child as effectively as is the case in The Omen.

So, shame on you, Hollywood executives.

Alternatively, in Omen II Jonathan Scott-Taylor gives an effective and complex portrayal of the devil, so Omen II effortlessly takes the crown: Damien, an accident-prone teen who causes all sorts of mayhem and intimidates the neighbours - a genuine hoodie horror.


Thankfully Sam Neill did get to work again, which must have been a miracle after his performance in the smirking pantomime of a movie that is Omen III: The Final Conflict.

Not even the TV movie or later reboot was as bad as this.

And they were just terrible.

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