The Omen (franchise)
Poster for the first film
|Original work||The Omen|
|Films and television|
The Omen 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 was then written by Joseph Howard; the third novel was done by Gordon McGill. After the third film was produced, a fourth and fifth were made-for-television in an attempt to revive the series, but they were received 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.
Three documentaries regarding the series have been made: 666: The Omen - Revealed (2000), The Omen: Legacy (2001), and The Curse of The Omen (2005).
The Omen is the original film in the series, directed by Richard Donner and written by David Seltzer. The story introduces Robert Thorn, an American Ambassador in Italy who adopts 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, starting with the boy's nanny committing suicide during his birthday party. Soon after, Robert encounters a Catholic priest named Father Brennan who was present at Damien's birth and attempts to warn him that the child would eventually kill him and his wife before he dies impaled by a falling church spire. It is only after his wife ends 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 in fact the Antichrist and that the death of Robert's child was arranged so the child could be raised by a politician. In the meantime, Katherine is murdered by Mrs. Baylock, Damien's second nanny, who in reality is a member of the Satanists who arranged Damien's upbringing and will kill any threat to protect him. Arriving in Megiddo to find Bugenhagen, an exorcist and archaeologist, Robert is presented with the only means to kill Damien: Seven Daggers of Megiddo. Though he initially refuses, it takes 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 can kill Damien. Damien is then left in the care of his uncle, Richard Thorn.
The second film, Damien: Omen II starts with Bugenhagen attempting to send Richard a package, but he and his friend Morris end up being buried alive in Megiddo. Then we are introduced to 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 Bill Atherton. Atherton's death is beneficial for senior manager Paul Buher, 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 consciously 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 kills her despite being one of his disciples.
The third film, Omen III: The Final Conflict, follows the adult Damien, now head of his uncle's company 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, their leader Father DeCarlo lives. Damien unknowingly causes his own downfall by his association with a journalist named Kate Reynolds who kills him at his moment of weakness. But as Damien's death did not occur in the manner that Bugenhagen learned, the Antichrist only suffered a temporary demise.
In the fourth and final film of the original series, Omen IV: The Awakening, 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. Karen finds herself pregnant and hires a detective to find out about Delia's lineage. 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.
The 2006 remake of the first film, also titled The Omen, was 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 budget of $25 million, the film grossed a total of $54 million domestic and $64 million foreign to total $119 million.
It was announced that an Omen prequel is in the works with Ben Jacoby writing the script and Antonio Campos in talks to direct.
Cast and crew
The following table shows the cast members who played the primary characters in the film series.
|The Omen (1976)||Damien: Omen II||Omen III: The Final Conflict||Omen IV: The Awakening||The Omen (2006)|
|Damien Thorn||Harvey Spencer Stephens||Jonathan Scott-Taylor||Sam Neill||Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick|
|Robert Thorn||Gregory Peck||Liev Schreiber|
|Katherine Thorn||Lee Remick||Julia Stiles|
|Mrs. Baylock||Billie Whitelaw||Mia Farrow|
|Keith Jennings||David Warner||David Thewlis|
|Carl Bugenhagen||Leo McKern|
|Richard Thorn||William Holden|
|Ann Thorn||Lee Grant|
|Kate Reynolds||Lisa Harrow|
|Father DeCarlo||Rossano Brazzi|
|Harvey Pleydell Dean||Don Gordon|
|Delia York|| Asia Vieira
(3 years old)
(2 years old)
|Karen York||Faye Grant|
|Gene York||Michael Woods|
|The Omen (1976)||Damien: Omen II||Omen III: The Final Conflict||Omen IV: The Awakening||The Omen (2006)|
|Director||Richard Donner||Don Taylor||Graham Baker|| Jorge Montesi
|Writer(s)||David Seltzer|| Stanley Mann
|Andrew Birkin|| Harvey Bernhard
|Producer(s)||Harvey Bernhard|| Harvey Bernhard
| Harvey Bernhard
| Glen Williamsonn|
|Composer||Jerry Goldsmith||Jonathan Sheffer||Marco Beltrami|
|Cinematographer||Gilbert Taylor||Bill Butler|| Phil Meheux
|Martin Fuhrer||Jonathan Sela|
|Editor||Stuart Baird||Robert Brown||Alan Strachan||Frank Irvine||Dan Zimmerman|
|Running time||111 minutes||107 minutes||108 minutes||97 minutes||110 minutes|
Box office performance
|The Omen (1976)||86% (42 reviews)||N/A|
|Damien: Omen II||41% (22 reviews)||N/A|
|Omen III: The Final Conflict||32% (19 reviews)||N/A|
|Omen IV: The Awakening||20% (5 reviews)||N/A|
|The Omen (2006)||27% (162 reviews)||43 (34 reviews)|
In 1995, a television pilot entitled The Omen aired on Fox. Directed by Jack Sholder, the hour-long episode was intended as an attempt to develop The Omen franchise into a TV series. Although Donner was attached to the project as an executive producer, the pilot failed and the series never moved forward. Unrelated to the previous films, The Omen follows a group of people who are tracking down an entity in which they are all independently linked to.
On December 3, 2014, Lifetime announced that a television series called Damien was in development at the network with Bradley James set to star in the title role. Leading up to its debut, the series moved from Lifetime to A&E.
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
- Donner, Richard (Director) (1976). The Omen (DVD). Beverly Hills, CA: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. OCLC 70171384.
- Taylor, Don and Hodges, Mike (Directors) (1978). Damien: Omen II (DVD). Beverly Hills, CA: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. OCLC 45111331.
- Baker, Graham (Director) (1981). Omen III: The Final Conflict (DVD). Beverly Hills, CA: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. OCLC 45273673.
- Montesi, Jorge and Othenin-Girard, Dominique (Directors) (1991). Omen IV: The Awakening (DVD). Beverly Hills, CA: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. OCLC 76878002.
- Kit, Borys (April 28, 2016). "'The Omen' Movie Prequel in the Works (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989 p259
- "The Omen (1976)". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
- "Damien: The Omen Part II". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
- "The Final Conflict: Omen III (1981)". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
- "The Omen (2006)". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
- "The Omen (1976)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
- "Damien: Omen II (1978)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
- "Omen III: The Final Conflict (1984)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
- "Omen IV: The Awakening (1991)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
- "The Omen (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
- "The Omen Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
- Goldberg, Lesley (August 25, 2014). "Glen Mazzara's 'Omen' Follow-Up 'Damien' Ordered Straight to Series at Lifetime". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on April 14, 2015. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
- "The Omen". Brett Cullen Official Web Site. Archived from the original on January 30, 2014. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
- Andreeva, Nellie (December 3, 2014). "Bradley James To Play Lead In Lifetime's 'The Omen' Sequel Series 'Damien'; Shekhar Kapur To Direct". Deadline.com. Penske Media Corporation. Archived from the original on May 22, 2015. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
- Maas, Jennifer. "Lifetime's The Omen-inspired series Damien moves to A&E". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Archived from the original on May 27, 2015. Retrieved May 27, 2015.