“The Omen” (1976) – Butch from “The Little Rascals”. Nellie from “Little House on the Prairie”. Farkus from “A Christmas Story”.
These three rotten children inflicted much misery on Alfalfa, Laura Ingalls and Ralphie, respectively, over the years. Proven by scores of on-screen threats, acts of deception and taunts, they are three of Hollywood’s most famous bad kids. As callous as they were, Damien (Harvey Stephens) from “The Omen” probably tops the list as the most malevolent child in film or television history.
Not by his own doing, but through the his protectors and unseen dark forces.
Well, unsuspecting parents-to-be, Robert and Katherine Thorn (Gregory Peck, Lee Remick), lose their son right after his birth, and knowing his wife would be devastated with that news, through the help of a church, Robert substitutes their late-son with another baby, Damien, without her knowledge.
The tragedy aside, this wealthy couple’s future looks bright.
The President of the United States appoints Robert as the U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain, and the family moves to London. Life seems perfect until horrifying events unexpectedly transpire, and once Katherine finds herself in intensive care, Robert knows something is terribly wrong.
Director Richard Donner does a remarkable job of delivering horrifying images through some key, well-choreographed scenes. Staccato-style thundering choir music accompanies these specific menacing moments, and it proves very effective in giving us the creeps.
Choir music is supposed to soothe, not rattle, the audience, right?
Well, it’s not for us.
“Look at me, Damien. It’s all for you.”
Image credits: 20th Century Fox; Trailer credits: Prykenstein