Omen, The: Collector’s Edition (DVD)

Starring Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Billie Whitelaw, Harvey Stephens

Directed by Richard Donner

Distributed by Fox Home Entertainment

I’ll never forget watching TV at the tender age of four. The tube was truly primo back then. At that time there was a show on called That’s Hollywood. Each week That’s Hollywood took an in-depth look at the career of a particular star or even a genre as a whole. The episode I remember best was of course about horror. It was riddled with scenes from movies like Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, but I’ll never forget how that episode ended. You see a little boy holding an adult’s hand at a cemetery, and as the camera pans in, the boy turns around and smirks at the camera while narrator Tom Bosley (yes, Mr. C) spoke the words, “You little devil!” I remember thinking, “Wow. Who was that kid?” Generations later everyone knows the answer to that question. Ask any horror fan, of any age, who Damien Thorn is, and without missing a beat they will reply, “The Anti-Christ of course!” What is it about The Omen that has enabled it to hold up so well over the years? Why is it so beloved? The answer is simple. It’s a well crafted piece of genre goodness, and finally the devil gets his due in a new two-disc DVD release from Fox Home Entertainment.

For the benefit of those living under a rock these last 30 years, the story is as follows: Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck ) is a hotshot politician on the rise who has it all. Well, almost all. What he wants dearly is an heir to his proverbial throne. His prayers are both answered and pissed on the night that his wife goes into labor. Upon arriving at the hospital, he finds out that their child, a son, was stillborn. Before grief has even a moment to set in, Robert’s given an interesting option. As *ahem* luck would have it, that very night, in that same hospital, a mother died during labor and left her son without a parent. He’s then informed by a rather dark priest that nobody would ever have to know. Desperate to have a child of his own and not wanting to see his wife (Lee Remick) have to go through the agony of the night’s true dealings, Robert accepts the child into his family as their son.

Things go pretty well for the trio after that. There’s the usual bringing up baby stuff. You know, first steps, first teeth, first words, and hey, I bet the son of Satan can take one really wicked shit! Oh, the horror! That’s never really covered, but any way, it’s not long before the truth about their son’s identity is revealed. It’s then up to Robert to make yet another tough decision — whether or not to dispose of his little bundle of demonic infamy. The answer to that is evident from Damien’s return in two sequels, but even if you know the ending, The Omen is still one hell of a ride.

Honestly, it doesn’t get much better than this. The Omen has it all! Top-notch acting, great camera work, an unforgettable score, and even a nice bit of gore thrown in for good measure. If you close your eyes you can still see that dudes head spinning through the air! Without question I could spend the next ten minutes writing about why this film is a classic, but I am sure you already are aware. So instead let’s focus on exactly the reason you’re considering double-dipping. Should you get rid of that old original DVD copy? Is there enough added and new here to warrant another purchase? The answer is for the most part a resounding yes; however, if you are indeed a huge Omen fan, then the chances are pretty good that you already own the bulk of what’s presented here.

A year or so ago a line of documentary “Legacy” themed DVD’s hit the market for a few specific films. If I remember correctly, there was one for Alien and one for The Omen entitled “The Omen Legacy”. If you already picked up that release, then you’ve already watched the extra of the same name that is included here. But if you haven’t, man, are you in for a treat. Clocking in at nearly two hours, this feature in and of itself is as detailed a companion piece to the film as you could ever hope for. It’s chock full of insights and interviews, and after one sitting with this baby, you’ll know everything you need to about what it really took to give birth to Damien. Well, almost. I’d still like to know how, old horny, got a jackal preggers. Can you imagine the evil one tempting the bitch with a fat sack o’ Milkbones? Come on guys! This little bit of back-story has possible DVD extra written all over it.

Also included is the 46-minute featurette “666: The Omen Revealed,” which appeared on the film’s original DVD release along with the returning “Curse or Coincidence” featurette, the “Jerry Goldsmith Discusses The Omen Score” interview featurette, and of course the commentary by director Richard Donner and editor Stuart Baird.

I know what you’re thinking, “Yeah, that’s all pretty cool, but is there anything new? You, know, shit that hasn’t been seen anywhere before?” The answer is yes, but this time it’s not so resounding. Topping the new content is another commentary with Donner and screenwriter/director Brian Helgeland. Why is Brian on the track even though he had nothing to do with the film aside from being a huge fan? To be honest, not much of an explanation is given. Still, the track is lively and a good listen. Rounding out the new stuff are a featurette focusing on author David Seltzer, a deleted dog attack scene with optional commentary, and Mr. Nightmare himself, Wes Craven, offering an appreciation of the film. While the inclusion of all this fresh material is great for the supplemental hounds among us, nothing really stands out.

So, should you as a fan throw all caution and common sense to the wind and double dip? Make no mistake, all the best extras included here are comprised of stuff we have either seen or owned in one form or another. Now it’s all just tied up into one neat little package with some fresh blood sprinkled in as a bonus. The Omen Collector’s Edition DVD is a must for the fanatic, but everyone else may want to make do with what they have. However, should you decide to go for it, you can always say the devil made you do it.

Special Features
Widescreen feature film with commentary by director Richard Donner and editor Stuart Baird
Commentary by director Richard Donner and writer/director Brian Helgeland (screenwriter of Mystic River)
“Curse or Coincidence” featurette
“Jerry Goldsmith Discusses The Omen Score” interview featurette
Introduction to the special edition of The Omen by director Richard Donner
“666: The Omen Revealed” featurette
The Omen Legacy” featurette
“Screenwriter’s Notebook” featurette with screenwriter David Seltzer
Deleted Scene: Dog Attack with commentary by director Richard Donner and writer/director Brian Helgeland
“An Appreciation: Wes Craven on The Omen” interview featurette
Still gallery
Theatrical trailer

4 out of 5

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Steve Barton

You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.