39 – Omen III The Final Conflict (1981)

Oh my Father, Lord of Silence, Supreme God of Desolation, though mankind reviles yet aches to embrace, strengthen my purpose to save the world from a second ordeal of Jesus Christ and his grubby mundane creed. Show man instead the raptures of Thy kingdom. Infuse in him the grandeur of melancholy, the divinity of loneliness, the purity of evil, the paradise of pain.

At Easter our thoughts turn to religion, well to be honest it probably turns to bunnies and easter eggs, but I thought I would add a religious apocalyptic tale. The Omen trilogy of films taught us all about the book of revelations in the bible, the end of days, the number of the beast, in fact when I was growing up this was the only part of the bible some of my classmates actually knew,  all thanks to this series of films. Lets be honest, The Omen III, is not the best of the series, and technically breaks our only rule, as there is no apocalypse, but as stated before my blog, my rules, and this gets in.

Sam Neill was an unknown actor who had starred in a daytime soap The Sullivan’s before this break for him, it’s always a good move for an actor to get his teeth into playing the bad guy, and Damien Thorn,the son of Satan, may well be the ultimate bad guy. Sam Neill made the most of this role, and made the world sit up and take notice. His scene-chewing  performance is why this film has made it onto this list.

The first film in this series set the tale in motion, and is truly brilliant, one of the best horrors ever made, directed by the frequently underrated Richard Donner. The death scenes in the film would go on to inspire Final Destination style horror years later. The second film followed this pattern, Damien is now a teenager and only in this film does he find out who he is and who is father is. This film would be the ‘final’ Omen film, the deaths weren’t as elaborate as the first and the story a lot more hammy, just as we have come to expect from the final films in trilogies.

The opening scene gives us our apocalyptic motif, as Damien sits in the darkness watching the latest advertisement for Thorne Industries, we see a world in financial meltdown, which is scarily close to home watching it now.  Now in this film Damien has totally accepted who he is, there is a truly great scene where Damien prays to his father, Satan, which just changes the whole tone of the film when it appears

“Nazarene, charlatan, what can you offer humanity? Since the hour you vomited forth from the gaping wound of a woman, you have done nothing but drown man’s soaring desires in a deluge of sanctimonious morality. You’ve inflamed the pubertal mind of youth with your repellent dogma of original sin. And now you absolve in denying them the ultimate joy beyond death by destroying me ? But you will fail, Nazarene, as you have always failed. We were both created in man’s image, but while you were born of an impotent god, I was conceived of a jackal. Born of Satan, the desolate one. Your pain on the cross was but a splinter compared to the agony of my father. Cast out of heaven, the fallen angel, banished, reviled. I will drive deeper the thorns into your rancid carcass, you profaner of vices. Cursed Nazarene. Satan, I will avenge thy torment, by destroying the Christ forever.”

There is undercurrent of child abuse, as Damien seems to ‘groom’ children, and the blooding scene always sits very uncomfortably with me. The rules seem to have changed from the first film to the last, as now just one of the daggers can kill Damien, however in the first it was all of them, and had to be on an altar. Also the priests that are on a mission to kill the son of satan, seem more suited to be on an episode of Last of the Summer Wine, as they fail at every turn, in ludicrous circumstances.

I find the end of the movie a huge anti climax, as we have watched Damien survive through three films, and turn to pure evil, with a huge army of followers, yet at the end he is out smarted by a woman with a stab in the back, happens to us all Damien eh? The last line pulls it round though

Nazarene, you have won… nothing…

             The fact that this series of films educated us in the prophecy in the bible of the end of days, is why it merits its place on this list and also the great performance from Sam Neill, the fact that in popular culture we still refer to someone evil as Damien is why this film should merit 81 of your remaining minutes before the apocalypse. Lets just hope Damien isn’t out there now!

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2 Responses to “39 – Omen III The Final Conflict (1981)”

  1. I agree on almost every count, except I liked the ending. It’s been a very long time since I saw it, but I distinctly remember liking that scene.

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