2. The Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981)
It is incredibly difficult to properly execute a third franchise installment without repeating previous themes and re-using old plot points, yet The Omen III: The Final Conflict manages to do exactly that.
In what should have been the final Omen film, Damien, now played by Jurassic Park’s Sam Neill, is a grown man who manages to become the English ambassador, thus fulfilling the prophecy from the previous films. During his rise to power and execution of his final plan, the second incarnation of Christ is born in England, and his response to this, as he doesn’t know who the child is, is to simply kill every male child born in England in the early morning hours of the day he knew the child was born. The inclusion of a love story also brings a new dimension to Damien, and shows the strange and tender side of him as he attempts to use this connection to his advantage. Sadly, his lover is persuaded by a group of priests to help with his destruction.
Most of this film’s status comes not from the story but from the visuals, and with Bill Butler, known for his cinematography on One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) and Jaws (1975), behind the camera it is no surprise. From the shot compositions to the incredible lighting, this would have been the perfect ending to this terrifying franchise had number 4 not been released.
1. The Omen (1976)
There’s nothing quite like the original, and this couldn’t be more true than with the first Omen film.
With a score from Jerry Goldsmith, and cinematography from Gilbert Taylor, the visuals and acoustics for the film set the perfect scene for a truly bone-chilling and importantly fresh horror story born from the 70s horror explosion.
It’s important to note that there is no outright proof of Damien being the devil in this film, and it was in fact at the request of the director Richard Donner that everything overtly supernatural be taken out in order to create a doubt as to whether Damien actually was the devil’s son or if his father was simply deranged.
It’s a one-of-a-kind story that has scared audiences the world over for decades.
A boy born of a jackal destined to rule the world as the devil incarnate, with death following him wherever he goes. His adopted father realises the truth and decides, with the help of a photographer who has also been doomed by Damien, to destroy his son. This sort of story was obviously met with backlash from religious organisations but that only furthered the public’s interest, and when that was coupled with the supposed “curse” that followed the cast and crew, this was a highly anticipated film that has lived up to that anticipation over the many years since.
The perfect casting of the characters, like the legendary Gregory Peck as the father, Harvey Spencer as Damien (who was styled with black hair and dark contact lenses to give him a more eerie look, and who at only six years old managed to scare viewers with his creepy demeanour), and Billie Whitelaw as Ms Baylock, who is quite possibly more unsettling than Damien with her demonic disposition and even more devilish pet Rottweiler (in her final attack on Robert, you truly see how evil a person can be), this first film truly set the stage for the phenomenon that the series would become and was definitely the best of them all.
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And there you have it, a worst to best of one of the most iconic horror film franchises to emerge from the 1970s, and trust us, there are a lot. It’s easy to say that perhaps it should have stayed as a single film, but it almost certainly should have been left as a trilogy.
But what do you think? Would you have left it at three movies, and would you have ordered things differently? Let us know in the comments!
Written by Sophia Mae Patfield
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