In 1976 The Omen scored a hit with critics and audiences hungry for more after The Exorcist with its mixture of Gothic horror and mystery and its plot about a young boy suspected of being the personification of the anti-Christ. Directed by Richard Donner (best known for his Superman and Lethal Weapon films), The Omen gained a lot of credibility from the casting of Gregory Peck and Lee Remick as a distinguished American couple living in England, whose young son Damien bears "the mark of the beast". At a time when graphic gore had yet to dominate the horror genre, this film used its violence discreetly and to great effect and the mood of dread and potential death is masterfully maintained. It's all a bit contrived, with a lot of biblical portent and sensational fury but few would deny it's highly entertaining. Jerry Goldsmith's Oscar-winning score works wonders to enhance the movie's creepy atmosphere. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
Damien: Omen II takes place several years after the mysterious events that claimed the life of the US Ambassador and his wife as the now teenaged and militarily enrolled Damien Thorne is slowly being made aware of his unholy heritage and horrific destiny. Woe is he (including anyone in Damien's adoptive family and his classmates) who suspects the truth or gets in his way. While not as unrelentingly frightening as its blockbuster predecessor, this more-than-competent sequel raises some interesting questions about the nature of free will (can the anti-Christ deny his birthright?) before falling into a gory series of increasingly outlandish deaths, the best of which is a terrifyingly protracted scene beneath the ice of a frozen lake. Jerry Goldsmith (who won an Oscar for his work on the first film in the series) contributes another marvellously foreboding score. --Andrew Wright, Amazon.com
The series concludes with The Omen III: The Final Conflict, starring Sam Neill as the adult Damien--aka the son of Satan--in a battle with the heavens for control of mankind. The film ends up depending more heavily on effects and spectacle than on the kind of basic horrors that made the first movie in the series so unsettling but at least this one gives some closure to the seemingly endless saga. --Tom Keogh, Amazon.com
On the DVDs: On the original movie disc there is an all-new 45-minute documentary, "666: The Omen Revealed", with contributions from all the major behind-the-scenes players, including director, editor, screenwriter (who confesses the movie was only set in England because he wanted a free trip to London!), producer and composer. The latter, Jerry Goldsmith, has his Oscar-winning contribution to the movie recognised with a separate feature in which he talks through four key musical scenes in the score. There's also a thought-provoking short called "Curse or Coincidence?" in which the many bizarre accidents that happened during shooting are related, including the terrible story of what happened to the girlfriend of the man responsible for designing the decapitation scene. Director Richard Donner and editor Stuart Baird provide a chatty audio commentary to the movie. The second and third films lack as many extra features, being content with audio commentaries and theatrical trailers: the commentary for Omen II is by producer Harvey Bernhard, that for Omen III by director Graham Baker. --Mark Walker
This suspenseful collection includes THE OMEN, DAMIEN - OMEN 2, and OMEN 3 - THE FINAL CONFLICT. In the original film, a wealthy diplomat learns that his adopted son, Damien, is the son of Satan. The sequels feature Damien maturing and coming to realise his heritage and his powers.