The best synopsis of The Omen comes from Eric Forman in That ’70s Show: “The little kid’s the devil, they have to kill him, watch the movie.”
The Exorcist spawned a slew of cash-in child-possession flicks, and The Omen is one of the better ones. This 1976 horror film stars Gregory Peck as the US Ambassador to Great Britain and Harvey Spencer Stephens as his demonic son Damien; the mind of Oliver Letwin in the body of Oliver Twist. Like Danny Torrence, he creepily cycles around on a little tricycle, and like A.A. Gill, his mere presence at a zoo terrifies all the baboons.
Stephens is creepy as the tyke on a trike, who screams with fear at the sight of a church – but hey, who doesn’t? Peck brings gravitas to the lead role; a slightly better parent than Hugh Dennis in Outnumbered. The movie is made memorable by Richard Donner’s portentous direction, Jerry Goldsmith’s bombastic music, and classic death scenes to rival the Final Destination franchise.
Of course, it’s a ripoff of The Exorcist, it’s overly sincere, and it features at least one glaring mistake. But the central idea, that politics is the devil’s playground, is one we can all get behind – especially at election time. With a great ending, high-quality performances and moments of surprising brutality, this is an effective Jesus Creeper. Or to borrow Eric Forman’s review: “Pretty gory.”