Of all the world's cursed film productions, The Omen is considered to have one of the worst movie curses of all time. The 1976 film tells the story of a man who accidentally adopts the Antichrist as his son and the movie remains one of horror's most successful franchises. But what was so odious about the set that led producers to believe the devil was punishing them for making the movie? Is The Omen really cursed?
The Omen followed in the footsteps of two of the most successful horror films of the 1970s and hoped to use the popularity of those films to attract audiences. Producers should have been warned that they were also film sets that were haunted: in the end, the Rosemary's Baby curse and the curse of The Exorcist may have not only given The Omen their desirable audiences, but also their forsaken curses.
The Omen film set haunting includes death, injury, and lots of lightning bolts: after all, the creator himself warned the cast and crew that Satan wasn't going to like what they were doing. Here's what happened behind the scenes of The Omen movie and why, despite its several sequels and a 2006 remake, it remains one of history's movies that indeed may have angered Satan himself.
After helping create special effects for The Omen, designer John Richardson began work on A Bridge Too Far. He was on location in Holland with wife and special-effects sculptress Liz Moore, and as they were driving along an empty road one night, they hit another car head-on. Richardson was knocked unconscious, but Moore was decapitated when one of the front wheels tore through the floor and hit her. As Richardson came to after the crash, he noted the tragedy was a creepy coincidence to a horribly gruesome decapitation scene he had designed for The Omen. He also claims he also saw a road sign off to one side of the accident that pointed out the town of Ommen was 66.6 kilometers away.
In one chilling scene from The Omen, Lee Remick, as Damien's mother, is completely terrified by a group of baboons who attack the car in a reaction to her demonic son. According to Richard Donner, her fearful screaming was completely real. The crew had placed a baboon inside the car to make the attacking primates more angry and then filmed their violent response. Although Remick's incident could have easily become another curse story, apparently Satan chose to take his wrath out on the baboons' trainer instead. Some stories claim it was a lion but in the words of producer Harvey Bernhard; "He was killed the day after we shot there. He was killed by a tiger. He grabbed him by the head and killed him instantly."
In October of 1975, Gregory Peck was on a London-bound airplane on his way to filming when the aircraft was struck by lightning. The bolt caused one of the engines to catch fire and the plane came very close to crashing into the Atlantic Ocean below. A few weeks later, producer Mace Neufeld was on his way to the shoot when his airplane was also stuck by lightning while crossing the Atlantic. "It was the roughest five minutes I've ever had on an airliner," he noted. Two lightning related pre-production mishaps are creepy but after screenwriter David Seltzer rode an airplane that also got struck by lightning, evidence of a curse seemed to be appearing. And if these three incidents weren't convincing enough, producer Harvey Bernard came extremely close to being struck by lightning while filming in Rome.
One of The Omen's most memorable scenes involves Gregory Peck trying to escape a cemetery while being attacked by a group of extremely vicious dogs. Several carefully trained Rottweilers were utilized for the film and were instructed to attack a stuntman in Peck's place. The stuntman was safely enclosed in a layer of protective padding and the dogs were set loose but then something went wrong. For reasons unknown, the dogs began really attacking the stuntman and were so vicious, their teeth went through the stuntman's protective gear. They even ignored their trainer when ordered to stop. Luckily, the stuntman survived.