While the alleged curse of The Exorcist took form in a set fire and the death of Max von Sydow’s brother, The Omen seemed to up the ante, so to speak. Long has legend told stories of cast and crew members dying, as well as a demonic force truly present.
The latest episode of Shudder’s Cursed Films docuseries begs the dreaded question, did this film invite such real horror?!
Satanic Subject Matter
Utilizing interviews with Executive Producer Mace Neufeld and Director Richard Donner, they paint a picture of a production cursed by tragedy and chaos.
This includes Gregory Peck and David Seltzer’s planes both being struck by lightning, as well numerous IRA bombings around London at the time of filming, and the tragic death of the fiancé of a crew member (which was eerily similar to the decapitation scene in the movie).
Whether or not these events occurred is not up for debate, as well as know they truly happened. What is up for debate however, is whether these were mere coincidences or the work of an unseen demonic force.
Much like the previous Exorcist episode, this one spends some time dealing with the “real life” matters of curses and witchcraft. We spend some time with members of the Wiccan community, discussing what curses are and how they work.
Last episode was criticized by many for showing footage of a “real” exorcist performing exorcisms. This was due to it seeming a bit suggestive and exploitative of those involved.
That seems less the case here, because even for those who don’t believe in curses at all, the witches they interview aren’t manipulating anyone here. One of them even shows us a cursing ritual and curses a movie (bleeping out the title, so we’ll never know).
Playing Devil’s Advocate (No Pun Intended)
Like any good documentary, Cursed Films shows us the more skeptical side, which interviews pointing out some very compelling arguments. For example, there are countless other horror films that aren’t cursed.
And many of the strange incidents were things that almost happened, but didn’t. It is human nature to want to see patterns in everything, and even if there isn’t one, our minds will fabricate one.
This is demonstrated very convincingly with the example of The Gorilla Experiment. Essentially, sometimes we are so focused on one thing that we miss a gorilla walking by on screen, so if we fail to notice things, are we also seeing things that possibly aren’t there as well?
According to Neufeld and Donner however, The Omen is not at all a cursed film. Rather, it is blessed.
Between them and the skeptics, they raise very valid points that if the devil truly had the power to make lighting strike planes or make Gregory Peck almost crash in his plane, why not just do it?
If anything, it seemed that if the devil was involved, he wanted the movie to be seen. Plus, all the rumors and urban legends about the film being cursed only helped its popularity, and are partially responsible for it being the hit that it was, even spawning three sequels (which were cursed by their subpar quality).
Overall, this episode is a slight improvement over the previous one. And it was legitimately cool to see Richard Donner himself interviewed. He’s such an iconic and prolific filmmaker, whose mere presence lent a great deal of credibility to the project.
Do you believe The Omen was truly cursed? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below!
Cursed Films is streaming exclusively on Shudder.