For the culmination of the Haunted Movie Sets series, we present to you a classic horror title from 1976 and 2006 that continues to frighten generations. Prepare to be terrified not only by the devil-incarnate Damien, but also of the alleged true horror tales during the filming!
Much like Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby from 1966, The Omen also explores the possibility of a demon-child and antichrist. The world first got spooked by tale of Damien Thorn, the so-called “spawn of Satan,” in the original film directed by Richard Donner and released in 1976. Thirty years later, a remake directed by John Moore was released on a very fitting date: June 6, 2006, as an allusion to the Number of the Beast (666).
The classic thriller tells about the story of Robert Thorn and his wife Katherine, who lost their son shortly after birth in Rome. Convinced by the hospital’s Catholic priest, Robert secretly adopts a baby, whose mother allegedly died after giving birth. The couple raises the child as their own, who they named Damien. Soon, many strange and often disturbing events begin to unfold around Damien—including the scene where his nanny commits suicide on his fifth birthday.
The Omen was among the most successful horror titles, not only popular for its eerie storyline, but also for the so-called “Curse of the Omen,” marked by several freaky events during the filming of the two films:
1. Two months before filming for the 1976 film began, the son of lead actor Gregory Peck shot himself to the head. Peck also narrowly escaped a plane crash when he canceled his flight reservation. All passengers on board perished.
2. Scriptwriter David Seltzer’s plane was hit by lightning as it traversed across the Atlantic.
3. A few weeks later, it was executive producer Mace Neufeld‘s turn to fly to Los Angeles, and experience the same electrifying experience during his flight. Neufeld recalled the ordeal as the “roughest five minutes” he’s ever had on an airliner.
4. An animal handler helped the cast and crew of 1976 film shoot the “crazy baboon” scene and work with animals correctly. He was attacked by a lion, two weeks later—pulled by the head and reportedly eaten alive.
5. John Moore, director of the 2006 remake, reportedly spent a whole day filming the scene where Robert Thorn would discover the ominous birthmark of his adopted demon-child. However, the footage resulting from the hard day’s work was lost when 13,500 feet of film were mysteriously destroyed in the processing lab. By comparison, Moore said “The worst the lab and collective crew ever heard of is losing is a roll, which is 400 feet.” He added that the lab guys were “in tears,” unable to find any explanation.
6. Pete Postlethwaite, who starred as Father Brennan in the 2006 remake, became the victim of the curse when his brother reportedly died after drawing an ominous combination during a card game. Yes, you guessed it: three sixes.
And, finally, the creepiest of all grim coincidences:
7. John Richardson, the set designer for the 1976 film, created a particularly macabre scene where a character dies from decapitation resulting from an automobile accident. While in Holland in August 1976, Richardson and his assistant, Liz Moore, were struck by a freakishly unfortunate fate. They fell victims to a head-on-collision, where Moore was cut in half, in similar fashion to the one Richardson had designed for the film. It happened in a Friday the 13th, near a road sign which says: “Ommen, 66.6 km.”
Halloween will soon be knocking on our doors, so it’s time for us to relive the fear of The Omen and watch a trailer of the 1976 original!
Do you think the creepy curse is real or just a matter of unfortunate coincidences? Tell us your verdict with a comment below!
Also, if you’re curious about the other “cursed movies” in the series, head over to the Haunted Movie Sets series for more articles!
Sources and additional readings:
The Omen (1976) — Wikipedia
The Omen (2006) — Wikipedia
Famous Movie Curses — Canada.com
The Omen Curse Alive and Well — ContactMusic.com
The Curse of the Omen — Above Top Secret Forum
10 Biggest Curses in Hollywood — RetardZone.com
It Happened in Hollywood — Blush