the omen. The very name strikes fear into familiar viewers. The iconic original film from Superman director Richard Donner is a dark story about the rise of the antichrist via a young boy. The film was one of the scariest of its time, and it still manages to scare even the most grizzled horror dog. As with any popular movie, especially horror, a sequel quickly emerged, followed by another.
Today, there are five films in total, a short-lived TV series and a prequel starring Nell Tiger in the works. The franchise isn’t as prolific as the others, but how do these entries compare? Pick up your crucifix and say your prayers as we file each entry into the omen franchise.
6 Omen IV: The Awakening
The fourth and final film of the original Presage the series barely qualifies as a Presage film. In the early 90s, 20th Century Fox was looking to make a wide selection of made-for-TV sequels to their popular films. Omen IV: The Awakening was the first and only participation in this project. A watch and that’s obvious, as many reviewers consider this fourth outing to be by far the weakest in the series. Two lawyers adopt a young girl after discovering that they are unable to conceive a child. The girl, named Delia, seems pretty normal until strange things start happening. Their nanny, who happens to be psychic, takes her to a psychic fair where everyone deduces that the girl is evil. After the nanny is pushed out of a window, the mother launches an investigation to find out who her adopted daughter is. In a fairly obvious twist, Delia is revealed to be Damien Thorne’s daughter.
If that twist wasn’t obvious enough, the mother inexplicably gets pregnant. Naturally, the son she bears is the reincarnated antichrist. Because it was a made-for-TV movie, the filmmakers weren’t able to go as badly with their satanic imagery as the main films. When they do, they’re not exactly subtle about it. This film had a very low number of views and those who watched it have few positive things to say. It seems vain to compare it to other films, as it has so little to do with them. Apart from the slight reference to Damien and the original theme that appears, it is only a continuation of name. All of this wouldn’t be bad except for one flaw: it’s not scary. This film is unable to evoke the dark feeling of the first entries and is forgotten from the credits.
5 The Omen (2006)
Few horror franchises have been able to escape the remake craze of the early 2000s. the omen was one of those movies that got an update. Certainly, it is one of the best remakes of the time. The problem is that there is little difference from the original film. While other remakes try to change the story a bit, the omen is the same plot. Although it is not blow for blow like that of Gus Van Sant psychology, the little change makes this remake almost pointless. Rather than going through the same route twice, certain differences will be highlighted. For starters, this movie is more gory than the original. While not an outright splatter movie, some deaths from the original movie are shown in more detail here.
Also, Damien doesn’t seem to be in the movie as much. In the original, he wasn’t exactly in every scene, but he was still an imminent presence. Here, it is from the story around Damien that comes the gloomy atmosphere. When Damien is on screen, he usually just stands there and looks creepy. This isn’t to disparage the young actor, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick; it’s just that the script doesn’t give it much to do. The biggest thing this remake has against it is its use of excessive jump scares. On more than one occasion, there is a dream scene that exists just to scare the audience. These cheapen the movie and ruin some of the truly scary moments. As for the good, the film still has a dark, brooding presence. Watching it elicits feelings similar to the original, but not as strong. In the end, this remake is far from being a bad film. It’s so similar to the first movie, you might as well watch that one instead.
4 Omen III: The Final Conflict
The third chapter of the Presage saga, usually simply titled The Final Conflict, stars a now adult Damien Thorne. Played by jurassic park star Sam Neil, Damien is now US Ambassador to Britain. This is the same position once held by Robert Thorne, Damien’s adoptive father. This means that everything is closed and that Damien, fully assuming his role as Antichrist, is ready to act. The problem is that the reincarnation of Jesus Christ threatens Damien’s ascension, and he will do whatever it takes to prevent it. While this movie isn’t as scary as the others, it’s still a pretty enjoyable movie. The biggest problem is that it feels anticlimactic.
All movies have led to this point, the ultimate battle of good and evil. Now that it’s here, things don’t look as epic as they should. While no one was expecting a large-scale screening complete with special effects, they were expecting something. A highlight of the film is Neil as Damien. Watching him really feels like watching the little boy from the original movie grow up. Seeing Damien fully embrace evil is great fun, and it’s a shame this story didn’t do more.
3 Damien: Omen II
The second film in the franchise sees Damien as a 12-year-old boy living with his uncle. In Damien: The Omen II, he begins to fully accept who he is. Damien is initially scared upon learning that he is the Antichrist, but as he learns more and more about what he is destined to do, he is more open to the idea. An interesting element of this movie is Damien’s relationship with his cousin Mark. He considers Mark a brother and, more importantly, a friend. When Damien accepts who he is, he begs Mark to join him.
When Mark refuses, Damien kills him, embracing fully in the darkness. While this movie has some entertaining and scary moments, it’s ultimately pointless. Damien’s creepy smile at the end of the original movie shows he’s already embraced who he is, so an entire movie of him kissing her feels redundant. That being said, the movie itself is a worthy sequel to the original and the works. The deaths are more intense, and the threatening sense of evil is stronger than ever. It may be unnecessary, but it’s pretty good.
2 Damian (TV series)
With the resounding success of A&E psychology prequel series, Bates Motelthe station has decided to bring another long-dormant horror franchise to the small screen. Damian aired in 2016 and followed the original film while skipping all sequels. The show follows Damien Thorne, now 30. Having forgotten his demonic past, Damien is now a war photographer. That is, until strange people start showing up in his life, reminding him of his true destiny.
What made this show so interesting was Damien’s drive. He discovers that he is the legendary antichrist, but he has spent most of his life as a good-natured human. Being split between Satan’s supernatural son and a good person is what drives the show’s conflict. The cognitive dissonance existing within Damien makes the narrative more complex, similar to how it did with Willem Dafoe’s Jesus in The Last Temptation of Christ (look at the opposite end of the spiritual spectrum).
The final episode ends with Damien supposedly coming to terms with his demonic side with a chilling callback at the end of the original movie. While the series had a loyal fanbase that still exists today, Damian was unfortunately canceled after one season. The series hasn’t had a chance to really flesh out the main character in its story. If the series existed today in the age of “requels” and legacy sequels, it might have had a better chance. As it is, Damian is an entertaining albeit incomplete show. If fans of the movie series have skipped it, they just gotta check it out. Many fans are still hoping for a revival at some point.
1 The Omen (1976)
the omen This is where it all started and where the apex of the series is. Robert Thorne and his wife are expecting a child. Complications cause his wife to fall into a coma and lose the child. Robert learns that a child was born around the same time his own son was due to be born, and that he lost his mother. He adopted the baby as his own, without telling his wife. He comes to regret it, because five years later, he learns the terrible truth about his adopted son. The boy, named Damien, is the Antichrist. This movie is absolutely terrifying in so many ways. Although not as scary as The Exorcist, the omen gets into viewers’ heads in a way the old satanic horror classic can’t.
The growing sense of dread grips the viewers and stays there long after the film is over. Knowing that a child must die for the evil to stop only adds to the unpleasant feeling. It’s the only thing in the series that is one hundred percent recommended. There’s a tradition this movie has established that the other entries don’t touch as much as they should. Hopefully the next prequel will add to that lore and make this movie even more enjoyable to watch after the fact.