Film Sack #46: “The one about The Omen”

Welcome to episode 46. Today, we discuss the horror essential, “The Omen”.

An American ambassador learns to his horror that his son is actually the literal Antichrist.

Join Scott, Randy, Brian and Ibbott as we remind you all that there are four lights.

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Special thanks to Audible.com this week for sponsoring the show. As usual, a HUGE thanks to Scott Fletcher, the official announcer of Film Sack Central. Hey! Why not leave us a nice review on iTunes if you like the show?

Up next week? Hudson Hawk!

38 thoughts on “Film Sack #46: “The one about The Omen”

  1. I had never seen or heard of the The Omen. Now the book “Good Omens” by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett makes so much more sense. 🙂

  2. All right, The Omen on Film Sack two weeks in a row!

    (I believe you forgot to change the “Up Next Week?” line, there, Scott)

  3. Once again a very funny episode. I like the fact that you sack some films (like this one) that I will never watch. However, when I was a kid I did see the de-heading by plate-glass scene. I cannot remember where I saw it.

    A Yeoman in Starfleet is a rating, specifically a clerical job, not a rank.

    “They keep offing them [priests] and they keep popping up” – Either that’s the tag-line to the new game “wack-a-priest”, or just another day in Wintergrasp.

    dumbwaiter = dumb + waiter (or silent waiter)
    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=dumbwaiter

  4. First time seeing this, and I enjoyed it. Normally an “evil kid” movie will make me run for the hills, but this is pretty much the quintessential evil kid movie, isn’t it? It’s a classic– had to go ahead and watch.

    That being the case, it’s also competition for the biggest “dumb adult” movie this podcast has seen so far. I realize that’s partially due to it being a horror movie, a 70’s horror movie no less, but the dumbness involved was truly astounding. And I’ll put on my feminist hat and say that a good deal of it was due to Robert Thorn’s rather paternalistic attitude toward his wife. ‘Twas the style at the time, maybe, but it also arguably ended up getting both of them killed:

    1. Accept an alternate baby without telling your wife when the real one has died. Ain’t no thang; it looks like her/you anyway.
    2. Announce suddenly and casually that you’re moving to England without consulting her (do even diplomats do that?)
    3. Accept a creepy new nanny who shows up without warning– nah, nothing could be wrong with her! And when she brings a freakin’ strange rottweiler into the house without asking anyone, don’t bother to fire her on the spot for endangering your son. When she says she’ll get/got rid of it, accept that without suspicion. Twice.
    4. So far as we know, no mention whatsoever to her of this weird priest guy who keeps showing up with cryptic messages about how your son is the devil’s spawn and is going to kill her.
    6. When she starts mentally breaking down from stress, send her to a shrink. Okay, I guess, but when the shrink tells you (because she couldn’t?) that your wife is convinced that what the priest told you is true without even having been told about it? Yeah, just disregard that. It’s not important. Go ahead and deny her the ability to have an abortion even though she wants one, because the priest couldn’t possibly have been right about that too.
    7. Leave the wife alone with son and incredibly creepy nanny. When they send her to the hospital, leave her alone there. Heck, leave the country! When your normal staff up and quit, according to the sole testimony of Creepy Nanny, no big deal– just trust her with the kid while you’re away. It’ll be fine.
    I’ll stop there…just saying, you know, that keeping the wife informed throughout might possibly have been a better idea.

    The dumbwaiter thing has been resolved, but yeah– they’re for food and other objects, not people. And apparently an American invention (Thomas Jefferson, even), whereas paternosters are exclusive to Europe. To think, I lived in a city with a paternoster for three years and didn’t even know it was there– didn’t know what one was! If I were still there, I’d go visit and try it out.

    Yeah, I missed the whole skull fracture thing when they uncovered the baby’s grave– the only thing that stuck out to me was that it was, in fact, a baby’s skeleton which is what I thought we were supposed to look for, whereas there was something else– a horse?– in the “mother’s” grave. Thought it might’ve been some kind of demon skeleton at first. By the way, the middle of the night is always a great time to visit a cemetery.

    I didn’t actually think that Satan’s baby’s end goal was to become adopted by the president. I thought that was just a “happy” accident from his end, because a diplomat’s family is also a political family, so that fulfills that part of the prophecy, and Thorn’s wealth and estate was obviously pretty impressive, so theoretically just taking over that would given him a pretty impressive place from which to conquer the world. He could’ve run for president from that place almost as easily as if he were the president’s adopted son. But then, I haven’t seen any Omen sequel, so…Dunaway’s the authority on that.

  5. Also — the Kenobe guy, Carl Bugenhagen, was Father Imperius the monk from Ladyhawke. Leo McKern, who was apparently pretty good at playing old priest types.

  6. I know that “Creepshow” is not a “watch instantly” Netflix selection, but it would be a shame not to sack this gem for Halloween.

  7. that volume problem, quiet dialog followed by loud noises/music, seems to be comming back, i’ve noticed it several times in more recent movies. book of eli for instance.

  8. 1. i always thought a Yeoman was like a woodsman or a like some kind of archer. (darn you Age of Empires RTs games!)

    2. the whole ‘if something is flying at you, move out of the effin way’ makes me think of the old WoW adage “stay out of the fire”. getting burned? get out of the fire. something flying toward you? get out of the way.

    3. great show as always. Ibbit(?) FTW.

  9. its interesting that you guys mentioned the old twilight zone episode “Nightmare at 20,000 feet” about William Shatner freaking out on the airplane because that episode was actually directed by Richard Donner.

  10. Hey, this is one of your best episodes, I dare say! Mr. Ibbott’s opener, for one, is his funniest in the whole series. And it sounds like there’s good stuff in store for this Halloween. Very excited!

    Seeing this movie was kinda funny because I had never seen the original Omen, but I did see the remake only a while ago. And while I thought this movie was cool, all throughout I could only think about how odd a movie the remake is. Most remakes take the core concept only and go their own ways, you know, but The Omen remake was almost scene for scene the same movie as the original. I was actually wondering at one point if I really had to watch this movie to know what would happen (I didn’t, but it was good that I watched anyway – David Warner’s DEheading was awesome).

    Oh yeah, I’m glad you guys caught that AWFUL music that played at the dog scene. I had instant flashback to Take a Hard Ride when I first heard that noise.

  11. Movie so good you want to watch it twice? For reals what is next weeks movie? Says up next “the Omen”, seriously, Scott needs a five hour energy.

  12. Just started the podcast and when you ran down the list of actors you said you didn’t recognize many of them. Patrick Troughton? Patrick effin Troughton? How could you just glance over the second Doctor?

  13. (0 minutes)
    Star Trek, Star Trek Voyager, Star Trek Next Generation, Time Bandits, Tron, No Country For Old Men, Undiscovered Country, Star Trek 5, Star Trek 6, Chain of Command, Superman, [Starman], [Spiderman], Lethal Weapon
    (10 minutes)
    To Kill a Mockingbird, Guns of the Navarone, A Bridge too Far, Poltergeist, Twilight Zone, The Today Show
    (20 minutes)
    Star Trek, The Exorcist, The Last Exorcism, Paranormal Activity, Chuckie, Fright Night
    (30 minutes)
    Star Wars, Faulty Towers, Empire Strikes Back, Doctor Who
    (40 minutes)
    Nanny McPhee, Nanny McPhee Remake, The Late Late Show, The Pianist, Three’s Company, Planet of the Apes
    (50 minutes)
    Demons and Angels, The Davinci Code, The Omen I, The Omen II, Jaws 3D, Staying Alive, Saturday Night Fever, The ET Game
    (60 minutes)
    Yor, The Hunter for the Future, [The Man Chur Satan Candidate?], Tron

    That’s 47 different TV shows, movies and other such things.

    Have you seen the keywords for this film? Stabbed in throat, impalement, pushed down the stairs, pushed out the window, dog attack, severed head, beheading, decapitation, suicide by hanging, body landing on car, death in childbirth, death of wife, vomit (don’t remember that but apparently it was there) and of course, how could I forget, switching baby.

  14. Gretchen, US soldiers are deployed around the world, serve their time and, still part of the military, are pushed on to their next placement. I assume it’s the same with politicians. And, like the military, I don’t think the government cares where or when they want to go… they have to go. Would it be any different if she was the ambassador and he had to follow?

    I have never seen this movie but, of course, knew of the pop culture addition of Damien. I find it interesting the rivalry of the fans of this movie and The Exorcist, wondering if the movie was set up to be the mortal enemy of the latter. Antichrist child named Damien and the broken priest Damien Karras. I’m with Randy in the debate: The Exorcist had a strong story while The Omen uses (poorly) smoke and mirror effects to hide plot elements to further the story. I never knew Peck was in this.

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but Father “Who” never tells Thorn that his son is the antichrist or waits until the end. Does he even say he was involved, that he knows for a fact? Why be cryptic? He’s trying to purge his soul of this evil so he talks in riddles instead of saying “we’re a cult, we killed your son and replaced it with the child that will bring about the Apocalypse using your power and station as a springboard to political prowess. Now that I’ve told you this, you need to kill it!” I’d listen to that much better than “kill your son, kill your son, kill your son.” It’s my biggest issue of the movie. Pertinent information was kept cryptic to keep the movie moving along. Ironic, since other glaring holes, as covered in the podcast, are left to suspension of disbelief.

    Here’s the story as I understood it; this sect of antichrist worshippers had the baby. They needed it to be raised in a political family. The prominence of Ambassador Thorn, his likelihood of becoming the US president made him the perfect (and possibly opportune since he was in Rome with a pregnant wife) “candidate” for their goals. While placement was done, they would need a caretaker for the child, someone close by to keep him safe and help shade over his growing evilness. The priest ruins the original plan by alerting Thorn, wife dies, Thorn dies, child in on the fast track to American politics by going under the care of the president. To that, I am not sure it was actually said but Thorn and the President were close friends… I assumed the President was the godfather of the child. It makes sense that he was with the child at the funeral AND it makes sense that the worshippers knew this so if anything happened to Thorn the kid will still make it to the White House. It was mentioned the kid was missing from the movie for chunks of time… he wasn’t really the focus. Yes, he’s the antichrist but he’s kinda like Anakin Skywalker: not the important character in Phantom Menace. This was a set up for what he would do. This movie was to be the preemptive strike against his rise to power, ala Terminator. Until the look he gives the camera at the end, Damien never does anything evil. Perhaps he had gifts but the evil was done by the cult protecting him and the hellhounds that were everywhere. Not sure if they had planned sequels at the time but this film did not have Damien as the antagonist. Strange how pop culture focused on him.

    I agree with the aging of Peck. It was usually the outdoor scenes where he looked, acted, so old.

    Thanks to Randy for pointing out Father “Who.” He seemed so familiar but I couldn’t place him.

    Did anyone else, for just a moment, think that Damien’s mother was an actual horse during the grave scene? He looked human but it’s never said where the antichrist came from.

  15. Ooh, forgot to mention the first nanny. I thought it was his mother calling to him (which was strange because you saw her in background, mouth not moving). I did not expect that. Truly, the most disturbing part of the movie for me. I wonder if the decapitation would have been more affective (still rather effective) if Scott hadn’t spoilered it last week.

  16. I understand the whole unavoidable prophecy thing, but how awesome would this movie have been if they had taken a different route and shown the kid get brutally murdered?

  17. another solid show. I have to disagree with you about the older catelog of Doctor Who though. A lot of the earlier series from as far back as the 70s still stand up today. If you have an hr 1/2 to kill try streaming “Doctor Who: Carnival of Monsters.” it’s extremely camp, but is easy to jump into and doesn’t have any darleks. The overall concept of the story is fantastic. Next on my own viewing is “robots of death” which, from what I remember from Childhood had homicidal robots similar to those in the styx video.

  18. The body in the “mothers” grave is a jackal not a horse…lol. The film states in one of the many monologues that the Anti-Christ will be born of a jackal.

    No doubt the jackal is giving birth in the Rome hospital, protected by the Disciples of the Watch. They are the ones that murder the original Thorn baby, lie to Mr Thorn about still birth, and suggest the baby switch. Thorn knows that telling his wife their son is dead will destroy her sanity, because i’m sure there is a line about how long they are been trying for a baby.

    the “Disciples of the Watch” are the group/cult who prepare for the coming and the protection of the Anti-Christ whilst on his rise to power. All are branded with “the mark” (666).

    the disciples pop up all the way through the other two films. Protecting and educating Damien about who he really is.

    Great FilmSack again guys. keep up the great work.

  19. Jason said:
    Gretchen, US soldiers are deployed around the world, serve their time and, still part of the military, are pushed on to their next placement. I assume it’s the same with politicians. And, like the military, I don’t think the government cares where or when they want to go… they have to go.

    What? Politicians are not military– they’re not deployed; they’re appointed or elected. They have a choice about whether to accept those positions. My only question was about how much choice a person who accepted the position of diplomat has about becoming the diplomat to a different country than he was originally.

    Would it be any different if she was the ambassador and he had to follow?

    No, I would disapprove of a female accepting a job that required moving to another country without consulting her husband just as much as the other way around.

  20. And actually, after a bit of checking….yes, diplomats are appointed by the president (confirmed by the Senate), and they do of course have a choice of whether or not to accept being appointed to a different country. Those are, after all, two entirely separate positions.

    P.S. The current U.S. diplomat to Italy is a man by the name of David Thorne. Hmm.

  21. Loved this movie then and now. How did anyone who loved movies miss this one back in the 80s?!The cast, the f/x, the humor; it all worked for me.

  22. @Brian You are absolutely right: The Omen is way way way better than any excorcist movie, and still holds up.

    Also: This soundtrack is my number one horror soundtrack of all time. I still play it while reading horror novels, and I’m not even gothic!
    and that choir… shivers…. :
    AVE SATANI!
    SANGUIS BIBIMUS! (we have drank the blood)

  23. ok first the Exorcist was awesome, but some of the DIALOGUE doesn’t hold up. saw it in the theater when it was released a few years back. Where the possessed little girl is saying things to try and psych out the priestS, e.g. “Your mother sucks cock in hell” –I assume this was intended to be a shocking statement but the whole theater LAUGHED. The actual words are no less offensive now but because of overuse of your mother jokes and insults, no longer has any real impact.

    second….”You’re in it now….UP TO YOUR NECK!”

  24. Love, love, love the show people!

    This movie scared the crap out of me when I was a kid and it had a massive influence over here in Britland when it first came out in the 70’s. Much better than The Exorcist and the sequels pretty good too.
    In reference to doing a POLANSKI movie, what about The Ninth Gate with Johnny Depp (pre pirate days). Its got demons, old ladies on fire lots of smoking and some great boobies. One of my fave Depp flicks but I’m not sure why..would love to hear your verdict!?

    Congrats on such an entertaining and funny show.

  25. A very minor point, but you guys were trying to remember if in 1976 it was still Nixon or if it was Carter yet.

    Neither. It was Gerald Ford serving out the rest of Nixon’s term.

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