The name Damien instills thoughts of pure evil and menace in those who know the film. Damien’s ice-cold demeanor and charming British looks combine to make one sinister character. The movie, written impeccably by David Seltzer, was released in 1976. Director Richard Donner would go on to direct box office hit Superman two years later, and other films such as Lethal Weapon and The Goonies. The Omen was made on a modest budget of $2.8 million and went on to gross over $60 million. The movie was about a couple who raise a child that turns out to be the Antichrist. There are many chilling and shocking scenes in the film, including one where Damien’s nanny sacrifices herself for him during one of his birthday parties. With political undertones and religious contexts, the story is rich and filled with action, keeping you on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next, all the while hosting a foreboding and ominous atmosphere. The score won an Oscar for Jerry Goldsmith, and a series of novels were produced in conjunction with the three sequels. The first novel was written by Seltzer, and was released two weeks before the film debuted in order to garner more interest in the movie. There are still many pop culture references to the film today.
This eerie, intriguing horror film was both written and directed by Alejandro Amenabar in 2001. As the film opens, we see Grace (Nicole Kidman), a woman whose husband has went off to war while she stays home taking care of the children. The kids are afflicted with being photosensitive, and therefore must be kept in the house with the curtains drawn to protect them. It is a life of isolation and sadness for Grace. She accepts the help of three servants who appear on her doorstep one day. Events become odd when they start to hear noises in the house. Fearing intruders, Grace grows increasingly paranoid. Soon the children claim to be seeing ghosts, and from here the movie spirals into fear and suspense. Amenabar is able to build the suspense by creating a dream-like, surreal atmosphere, and using quiet, tense moments. The film did remarkably well at the box office pulling in $218 million.
Adapted from the best selling novel of the same name, The Other was a little known film after its release in 1972, and only gained notoriety after a series of successive airings on television in the late 1970s. The author of the novel, Tom Tryon, also wrote the script. Two identical twin boys, Holland and Niles, harbor some serious secrets. With their mother grieving the recent loss of their father, the boys are being watched over by their Russian emigrant grandmother. The boys begin to play jokes that have deadly consequences, and hiding in the apple cellar where they’re not allowed. The grandmother begins to suspect that something is going on, and when she confronts Niles, the twist to the story is revealed. Tryon went on to state his dissatisfaction with the film later even though it has been received well over the years. Roger Ebert went on to defend director Robert Mulligan’s work when the film received criticism for being too cheerful.