I’m going to be short and sweet. “The Curse of THE OMEN” is every bit as ridiculous as THE OMEN is terrifying. The most famous “cursed” films in horror are the POLTERGEIST films, with the deaths of many cast members, among other real-life horrors. OMEN fans can lay claim to their own curse, and join in the mystic hoogabala that fans like to buy into. But after watching this 49-minute documentary, I’m calling bogus. If the film’s own director Richard Donner doesn’t buy it, neither does Phil Fasso.
Director John McLaverty does his best to convince you that THE OMEN was cursed. He’s assembled a slew of people, including: Donner, producers Harvey Bernhard and Mace Neufeld, actress Billie Whitelaw, the film’s dog handler and two special effects supervisors, a self-proclaimed exorcist, a member of the Church of Satan, Gregory Peck’s biographer, a writer, and the man who conceptualized the film, Bob Munger. Combined, they tell tales of Peck’s son committing suicide, lightning striking two planes carrying Peck and Neufeld, animal attacks during filming, and IRA bombings of Donner’s hotel and Peck’s favored restaurant. McLaverty gets many of them to support his thesis, that Satan didn’t want this film to be made, and because it was, he’s now out to ruin all those involved with it. Along the way, many of them also relate stories that are more about the movie and its production than any curse. Surprising, given its lean running time and McLaverty’s mission to sell you.
Are you going to believe in the curse? That likely depends on how superstitious you are. Sure, it presents compelling evidence for its argument. But it also presents compelling evidence that a multitude of coincidences happened during the making of a movie. Donner has always argued that his view on THE OMEN is that there is no devil child, but a series of logical events that have nothing to do with Satan, yet convince the characters he exists. The same can be said about this doc. Every single horror that took place when Donner was making his film has a logical explanation. Munger and Bernhard buy in wholesale, as some of you might.
But Donner sums up the way I feel about this “curse” with one question: “What the Hell is the devil?” He no more believes his film was cursed than that actor Harvey Stephens was actually Satan. I’m right in line with him. Sure, this stuff might make for a fun back story, but if Satan does exist, I know he’s got better things to do than haunt a movie.
On the DVD for THE OMEN, Donner spends 6 minutes in a featurette “Curse or Coincidence” giving a quick rundown of these events, and debunking them. This doc spends 43 more minutes than he did, and is less effective than Donner was in his brief time. Even among OMEN completists, it’s only for the diehard who want to believe that evil can lurk on a movie set.