So reads the tagline for The Omen, a film about the Antichrist, a film, some said, should never have been made. Was it cursed?
The plot of the movie concerns Robert Thorn (played by Gregory Peck), an American ambassador to Great Britain, and his wife. After the wife gives birth to a stillborn child, a priest suggests to Robert that he replaces the deceased baby with a live, healthy one, whose mother had just died whilst giving birth.
The baby, now a child named Damien, is surrounded by tragedy and strange events. However, the warning of a priest and clues pointing to young Damien, lead Robert to believe his son is pure evil; the Antichrist.
The movie was a great financial success nearly doubling its production budget on the opening weekend.
Many said the movie should never have been made, with disaster and tragedy during the movies production and, following its release, befalling many of the people involved.
Were these incidences a warning, an omen, that the release of this movie should not go ahead?
The Curse Strikes
During production Gregory Peck (who played Robert Thorn) and the films screenwriter David Setzer had to travel to the UK. Both took separate planes, yet both planes were struck by lightning on the journey. Executive Producer Mace Neufeld’s plane was also struck. Another production principle narrowly missed been struck by lightning in Rome.
A producer nearly lost his life when a hotel he was staying at in London was bombed by the IRA. After narrowly missing that experience, a restaurant the director and other actors and staff were to eat at was also bombed. Once again, narrowly missing killing everyone.
Many other accidents and deaths took place during the period of filming The Omen. An animal handler was mauled to death the day after shooting a scene for the movie, and Rottweiler’s mauled a stunt double on set.
After filming had finished, one of the stuntmen injured themselves quite badly when a stunt they were to perform on the set of 'A Bridge too Far' went wrong. When all was set up, and the stunt to be performed, the stuntman seemed to fall awkwardly and missed the air bag, seriously injuring himself.
After he woke up in the hospital, he told friends and family that he felt he had been pushed, however no one was with him at the time of the stunt...
A Most Horrific Accident and a Message
Soon after he had filmed that scene, he was working on another movie in Holland/Netherlands. He, and a female friend/colleague, were driving when they were involved in a major accident. Richardson was able to stumble free of the wreckage, but his passenger did not fare quite so well.
She had been decapitated. Some say this was achieved in much the same way as the decapitation scene in The Omen, via a piece of glass.
But any doubts John Richardson had about this having to do with The Omen Curse were soon quashed. For when he looked up he saw a bike trail sign which read 'Ommen 66.6kms'. You can not get any more blatant than that!
(Ommen is in fact the name of a city in the Netherlands)
In Their Own Words
---“Today, Richardson is sanguine about his experience. Others are less inclined to forget theirs. Producer Harvey Bernhard, well aware of the Hollywood gossip that had The Omen lined up as the latest in a long line of cursed films, started wearing a cross on set. “I wasn’t about to take any chances,” he says 30 years later. “The devil was at work and he didn’t want that film made. We were dealing in areas we didn’t know about and later on in the picture it got worse, worse and worse.”
Bob Munger, the man who came up with the idea for the film, had misgivings even before production started. “I warned Harvey at the time. I said, ‘If you make this movie you’re going to have some problems. If the devil’s greatest single weapon is to be invisible and you’re going to do something which is going to take away his invisibility to millions of people, he’s not going to want that to happen’.” ---
and when interviewing the crew about their experiences on set:
---“The crew that we spoke to had a sense that everyone involved in the production was freaked out to some extent. They all felt that something wasn’t quite right and that included the cast. These were seasoned professionals – they had seen a lot of productions and doubtless a lot of production accidents. Yet they themselves pick this film, more than any other, as having something extraordinary about it.” ---
Were the people involved in the making of The Omen cursed?
Or was it all coincidence, a series of accidents with no connection between them?
Did all these events even occur or are some just the rumour mill hyping up the stories?
That is for you to decide....