The Omen Curseby P-Francone
The original theatrical poster for the 1976 horror film The Omen said “You have been warned, if something frightening happens to you today, think about it – it may be The Omen.” This may or may not be true, but to many connected to the film it certainly is true.
In The Omen, the American ambassador to Italy Robert Thorn’s wife gives birth to a son, who almost immediately dies under mysterious circumstances. Father Spiletto convinces the ambassador to replace his son with an orphan without telling his wife out of concern for her well being, but of course soon after nothing goes according to plan. The family, along with their new son Damien move to England next as Robert Thorn is named as Ambassador to Great Britain, and mysterious events soon start to plague them all. Damien’s nanny hangs herself, and his next nanny, who appears to be a demon as well comes with a evil pet dog. A priest who tries to help the family is killed by an errant lightning rod and Damien’s mother miscarries her new baby after he pushes her off a balcony.
Later in the film, Damien’s adoptive father attempts to figure out what exactly this thing is that they adopted, and their research of course brings up nothing good. Father Spiletto has been burned in a fire and has turned mute, and of course all the maternity records at the hospital have been burned too. He discovers that a jackal is buried in Damien’s mother’s gravesite. It is soon discovered that Damien is actually the antichrist, Robert is shot by police while trying to kill Damien and the young antichrist is sent to live with Thorn’s personal good friend, the President of the United States.
It is also interesting to note that the church used for the scene where Robert attempts to kill Damien was the backdrop for a recent similar event, when a mentally ill man was shot dead by police on the steps of Guildford Cathedral in 2008. Could this be a continuation of the curse?
Just like Poltergeist and The Exorcist, this horror movie appears to have summoned up some very bad spirits. Just two months before filming was to start, the son of the actor who played Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck) killed himself. The actor of course was not in a good state of mind when he set off for England to begin filming, and it didn’t get much better on his flight over, when the plane he was in was hit by lightning. He wasn’t the only person connected to the movie who had this happen to him either, as executive producer Mace Neufeld’s flight was also hit by lightning over the Atlantic, and producer Harvey Bernhard was just missed by a lightning bolt in Rome. Later while in Britain the hotel Neufeld was staying in, along with a restaurant he and Peck were to eat at were both bombed by the IRA.
A plane hired by the studio to take aerial shots was switched at the last moment by the airline, and although the cameramen were fine in their new plane, the clients who took the original plane were all killed when it crashed on takeoff. Some time later, a zookeeper who was helping the studio with handling animals was attacked and eaten alive by lions!
The curse didn’t end when the filming was done however. Stuntman Alf Joint went on to work on a film called A Bridge Too Far where he suffered a very unfortunate and bone chilling accident. He was to simply jump off a building onto a inflatable surface, but just before jumping he felt as if something had pushed him and was badly injured when he fell (or was pushed) off to the side and landed on the ground. He later woke up in the hospital and surprisingly survived this harrowing event, but no proof was ever found that a person pushed him.
Last, but certainly not least, involves another bone chilling accident with a man who designed gruesome deaths for movies for a living. On Friday, August 13, 1976 John Richardson was driving through Holland with Liz Moore, where he was also working on A Bridge Too Far. Less than a year after designing the deaths for The Omen, Richardson came face to face with death that was all too real, when the car he was driving got into a major accident, killing his female companion, apparently in a manner that was eerily similar to the scene he had designed for actor David Warner in The Omen, which was ominously set in the town of Megiddo, Israel, the biblical setting of the Armageddon. Strangest of all however, it is rumored that when he stumbled out of the car he saw a road sign that said he was 66.6 kilometers from the town of Ommen.
Although we can never be certain about how much of this is coincidence and how much is due to the supposed curse, most people would agree that there were many very freaky circumstances surrounding this film.