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The Omen Collection – Deluxe Edition (Blu-ray Review)

Scream Factory has landed themselves one of the most fabled, popular and well revered horror movies of the 1980s in Richard Donner’s The Omen. Not only the original film, but the sequels, television sequel (Never before released on Blu-ray) and that remake starring Liev Schreiber from the director of A Good Day To Die Hard (Just when I had forgotten its existence). There has been a pretty nicely budget set of the theatrically release films on Blu-ray for a while now, but Scream Factory has given it an extensive upgrade in all facets, including packaging, new interviews, lossless mono tracks and a 4K scan of the original film. Series fans and horror collectors should be please with what they are offering, which can be had on October 15th.

The Omen (1976) 

When Kathy Thorn (Lee Remick) gives birth to a stillborn baby, her husband Robert (Gregory Peck) shields her from the devastating truth and substitutes an orphaned infant for their own – unaware of the child’s satanic origins. The horror begins on Damien’s fifth birthday when his nanny stages a dramatic suicide. Soon after, a priest who tries to warn Damien’s father is killed in a freakish accident. As the death toll mounts, Robert realizes his son is the Antichrist and decides he must kill the boy to prevent him from fulfilling a cataclysmic prophecy. Briskly paced and breathtakingly evil, The Omen is the first film in the classic legacy of terror.

The Omen is one of the biggest horror films of the 1970s to capitalized on the success wave of religious horror in the wake of The Exorcist. Its a big budget, Eastern Hemisphere terror with big names and the master craftsmanship of an excellent director at hand. Put that together with the easily memorable Jerry Goldsmith “Footloose-Dominoes” score, and you’ve got something that packs quite a whallop. While I don’t think it tops Exorcist, the movie is still largely iconic on its own with so many unforgettable moments and turns.

This time around watching the film I was noticing how the Final Destination films seem somewhat of a series inspired by the Omen movies (First one very much so). These films feature odd coincidental force of nature accidents that happen to people to bump them off. The first one even has a thing with premonitions in photographs like the third film did. Its an interesting aspect I’d never put together before, but you certainly can’t unsee the similarities once they’ve been brought forth. Really neat to see, honestly and probably very unintentional.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: The original The Omen is the only film in this set to receive a new restoration/transfer. It features a brand new 4K transfer from the original negative and approved by Richard Donner. And the film looks a hair soft, but really good. The imagine showcases some improved blacks and little more details than the prior edition.  There is a nice layer of grain intact to keep the more naturally cinematic look to it. What I dig a lot about the image is that while this is a big budget production, it has its hand dipped it just a tad bit of an aged and dirty image. Not a whole lot, but the nature of the lighting and such making its way through this transfer helps it out. I don’t think the original Omen is going to lend itself to a magnificent look in high definition without ungodly amounts of money nobody is going to spend on restoration, but then again, maybe it wouldn’t anyway.

Depth:  Spacing and depth of field is pretty solid in the new transfer. Its not a whirlwind of 360 3-D, but it is pretty free moving and smooth. Slow motion sequences are a treat. Motion is natural and cinematic with no distortion issues.

Black Levels: Blacks are pretty deep, well saturated and provide a more haunting backing to this picture. Grain is heavier in the darkness, and minimal information is lost. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors feature a more rustic palette, but strike through quite bold, popping in appropriate areas of colored glass, fabrics and the like. Browns, grays and the like are stars in a colder set palette.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features and textures are easily discernible in most medium and all close up shots.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA, Isolated Score Track

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: Okay, so I’m not being lazy here in reviewing the mono track for this movie. There are many things in this box set that are carry overs from the original Omen Collection release. The 5.1 is the same as before. While the original mono track was included in that, it wasn’t lossless. Here on the Deluxe Edition, Scream Factory now offers in DTS-HD MA, making it a new feature for the set. The mono track is pretty rich and hits deep and high with good balance and no peaking issues. The score rises nicely and feels pretty intricate. Crashes and sound effects are good enough for a startle or two.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and carry a slight analog hiss behind them, though pretty faint.

Damien: Omen II 

Since the sudden and suspicious death of his parents, 12-year-old Damien (Jonathan Scott-Taylor) has been in the charge of his wealthy uncle (William Holden) and aunt (Lee Grant) and a student of a military school. Widely feared to be the Antichrist, Damien relentlessly plots to seize control of his uncle’s business empire – and the world. Anyone attempting to unravel the secrets of Damien’s sinister past or fiendish future meets with a swift and cruel demise.

Damien: Omen II is a complete exception to the rule. The film has no business being this good. Unlike The Exorcist and other top horror films that received a sequel, The Omen managed to come out with one of the best. This sequel not only manages to evoke everything you loved about the first one, it also takes it in a completely fresh direction, an honestly satisfying and natural follow through on the original film. Its pretty astounding that this sequel feels like its just one natural story progression, as if it was already a part of the first film and they cut it in half to just tell that part first with the original.

This second film has some pretty classy performers here, but also doesn’t shy away from the pulpy graphic kills that we were given a taste for in the first film. But, this one adds wicked twists and turns. It has heartbreaking portrayals, fun switches and a lot more. Granted, yeah, William Holden’s character is a bit too ignorant, but if you look at today’s political climate or how some people can right wrongs simply with the “Well its different because its my family” motif, it makes perfect sense. Damien: Omen II really just rocks and its so good, on the right day I may tell you its BETTER than the original film. Its also nice to see in this collection that mindset isn’t a lonely or crazy thought. A few of the interviewees mention it on the other discs in this set (Not just this one).

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Damien: Omen II is likely the same image we saw the last time around with the original Collection set. The film has never been released on its own, fun fact. The image could have done a new transfer as its merely a solid one that leaves room for some improvement. Nevertheless, it features some solid sharpness, depth and details.

Depth:  Background and foreground relations are on the better side of average and more than decent. Movements are fluid, cinematic and have no real problems with motion distortion.

Black Levels: Black levels are in an in-between where they aren’t that gray, lightened color but they aren’t too deep either.  No real issues occur with losing details and no crushing happens.

Color Reproduction: This isn’t a real colorful movie as most of it is cooler and muted in its aesthetic. Though it does keeps a strong pronunciation of its natural grays, browns and the like. And when blood does make its way, it stands out with a nice richness to it.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from the opening to closing frames of the film. Facial features and details like blush, wrinkles, lip texture and more can be made out in most medium and all close up shots.

Noise/Artifacts:  Clean.

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MAN

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: Once again, I will be reviewing the mono track as its new for this release. Damien: Omen II’s tracks is very much like the first films and holds up strongly with it. There is a good balance of effects, music and vocals in the mix. The score allows you to hear all of its nuances and when events are heightened the sound effects know how to make a full enough impact.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp with light analog hiss underlying the track.

The Final Conflict 

Damien Thorn (Sam Neill) is now 32, a coldly calculating being whose creed is evil, whose ambition is world domination and whose only loyalties are to himself and the father he serves. To attain his ends, he will kill anyone in his way, be it friend, enemy, disciple or lover. Only a dedicated priest (Rossano Brazzi), whose mission is to destroy the Antichrist and who has at his command the Seven Sacred Daggers of Megiddo, stands between Damien and his desire to bring the world to the brink of global chaos.

The Final Conflict completes the Damien trilogy for the original Omen run. I suppose it could be the end as people may not count the TV movie as a true continuation. And the balls on the studio for having a title where The Omen or Damien isn’t even mentioned in it. The film takes the next logical jump in Damien’s life and gives us an epilogue to what happened to the little son of the devil. While not being quite near as good as the first two films, this one unfortunately suffers the fate of being merely “good”.

A natural progression in the story is having Damien enter both the corporate world and politics (They go hand in hand, right?). Sam Neill is a perfect choice in the title role and really carries this whole thing, being conniving, devious and pretty terrifying. Its an odd movie where we know Damien is full evil, yet we have no choice but to follow him and witness all his wrong doings to take control and bring about the end of the world. Its a solid finish, not a grand finale, but overall it works and is satisfying enough. And after the two films that follow it in the set, you’ll see its much much easier to praise and appreciate.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: The Final Conflict carries over the same video image from the previous release. Like the second film, it probably could have benefited from a new transfer or some additional work. It makes due though, with a good clean and detailed picture. It manages to capture and keep a consistency with the look for the second one, making it all a good fit.

Depth:  Once again this features an above average depth of field where the push back, camera movements and such are all decent enough to make this a very good image. Motion is smooth and cinematic with no real problematic distortion issues abound.

Black Levels: Blacks fare a bit better than the second film here. A little deeper, carrying a tad more grain. Details hold on pretty solid. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are rather strong here and when something flashier in color shows up it does pop a little bit. This mainly runs on strong browns, blues and yellows throughout.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are a little cooler in appearance and consistent the whole way through. Facial features are discernible from any reasonable distance.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MAN

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: Like the two films prior, the lossless mono track is a new feature on this release, so its the one getting reviewed. It holds consistent with the loud scoring moments and good balancing going on in the mix with layers of each scene. I feel like I caught some slight peaking in a couple moments, but nothing concerning.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Vocals are clear and crisp.

Omen IV: The Awakening 

Damien Thorn is dead, but his prophecy is reborn in a mysterious girl named Delia, who is adopted by two attorneys, Gene and Karen York. When Karen realizes her baby was born under suspicious circumstances, she hires a private investigator to find Delia’s real parents. A series of bizarre accidents occur, and Karen begins to suspect everyone of conspiring against her as she unravels the truth about her child.

Omen’s fourth adventure came due to the producer being unhappy with the third film and wanting them to undo or fix what had been done in that one (Why? Who knows, this movie makes The Final Conflict look like The Omen.) The funny anecdote here is that they got he director of Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers to helm it. And yeah, his touch is surely here. Though, this is a pretty mean movie and brutal things happen to honestly undeserving folk. But it also has a really wacky tone and look to many scenes as well. It a…a bit of hard reach…and a hard watch.

In short, Omen IV is a crappy remake/reboot of the original film with nothing that film had to offer. No big name actors are in this. Gone is the sheen and allure of the European setting. The people in the movie are average joes and not really big wig politicians or businessmen. Its really just cheap-o knock off Omen to put it kindly. Nothing you like about the original is there. The film has some nifty kills here and there but really is hard to watch after watching the first three in close proximity. The best way to experience this fourth film is probably just to watch it by itself out of context and far removed from the first ones.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Omen IV: The Awakening makes its jump to Blu-ray with what is likely a 2K transfer of the film. And hey, look at them changing that aspect ratio on us. This is a pretty detailed image with some strong colors. Due to the lighting on the film, it comes on a little sharp, but funnily enough I found some of it comparable to the look of Halloween 5 on Blu-ray (My mind was there because they share a director). This is pretty satisfactory, and I imagine an easy upgrade (I’ve never seen what the DVD for this movie looks like so I cannot compare).

Depth:  The film carries a nice pushback between foreground and background with some decent identifiable spacing between people and objects. Motion is cinematic and confident with no distortion issues abound.

Black Levels: Blacks are pretty admirably deep here in this image and carry just a tad heavier grain structure. Details remain constant through to shadows and surfaces. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: This film felt the most colorful of them all and yet its pretty normal. Colors are pretty bold here and look to be well saturated.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural stay consistent throughout the runtime of the film. Facial features are visible in medium and close up shots from any reasonable distance.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MAN

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: Omen IV: The Awakening features a pretty decent stereo track. It has some fun moving right to left and mixing its layer so as to carry a scene. The film holds strong like the others in making the music a heavy feature, taking center stage. Overall, a solid display, but nothing crazy. It gets the job done for the film.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: I don’t know if it was in the mix or not, but many moments contain a bit of an echo on the voices in the movie. Its almost as if you bumped some weird setting on your receiver by accident. It could be just the mix trying to create the room.

The Omen (2006) 

In this chilling remake of The Omen, man’s darkest fears are manifested as an unspeakable terror is unleashed on the world! U.S. diplomat Robert Thorn (Liev Schreiber, Ray Donavan) substitutes an orphan for his own stillborn baby in order to spare his unknowing wife, Katherine (Julia Stiles). But after a series of grotesque murders and dire warnings, the Thorns come to the horrifying realization that their child is the son of Satan!

The coolest thing about the remake of The Omen is that the film actually opened on Tuesday, June 6, 2006. Yes, it opened on 6/6/06. I mean…it had to. After that fact, this modern touch up on the film really adds nothing to what came before and is a boring slog of a retread with fake talent behind the camera trying to give the film a wanna-be Platinum Dunes polish and no real passion or courage to try something new with the film. There are some interesting little bits that don’t show up near enough that really wind up to nothing as no direction of those freak out inserts have anywhere to go.

Despite having a terrific cast like the original did, they can’t even come close to saving this movie. It literally does the same exact thing with a lifeless effort as if getting to the end is the main goal. Sure, its a better made and overall (I suppose) better film than the tv one that came before it, but honestly…give me that weird tv one over this easily.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: The 2006 rendition of The Omen comes to Blu-ray in this Deluxe Edition of The Collection with surely the same transfer appearing on the other set. This came out in the early times of Blu-ray and altogether isn’t too impressive. The look of the film is naturally overpolished and hyper filtered, but it does give a sharp, detailed look though its got a muted feel. This could have benefited from a new transfer, but then again, it also could have benefited from being a better film.

Depth:  The image here is a little more on the flat side, but I’ll say its overall just about average or a hair above it. Motion is smooth, natural and no real blur or jitter issues take away from the viewing.

Black Levels: Blacks are really deep, dark and do consume details in the image. Some crushing was evident in a couple of scenes in the film.

Color Reproduction: The film has an overall super blue filter applied to it, so everything takes on that look. Most of everything is natural but greens and reds do tend to stand out. David Thewlis’ apartment rather glows quite nicely and pops with some yellows and reds coming from his darkroom.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are a bit on the cold side and stay consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features are pretty clear from most medium and close up shots with sweat, wrinkles, pores, lip texture and more coming through quite clear.

Noise/Artifacts: This one has a a little bit of noise appearing in some spots of the film.

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: The Omen 2006 carries over its 5.1 audio from the previous Blu-ray release here on the new collection set. Its a clean and striking mix that can shake you up in a moments notice and feels pretty full and effective with a nice polish via some good layering and depth.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: One of the mix’s greatest strengths is some of the power on the subwoofer with bursts that’ll make you jump in your seat. This along with the rumbling of vehicles, doors slamming, glass shattering and more.

Surround Sound Presentation: Much of the movie has a front heavy aspect, but the rear channels do help give a bit more definition with some solid ambiance and score.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.

Extras 

The Omen Collection – Deluxe Edition is a 5-disc set with each film getting its own disc in an amaray case. The cases are all collected in hard shell case.

Disc 1 – The Omen (1976)

Audio Commentary

  • By Special Project Consultant Scott Michael Bosco
  • With Director Richard Donner and Editor Stuart Baird
  • With Director Richard Donner and Filmmaker Brian Helgeland
  • With Film Historians Lem Dobbs, Nick Redman and Jeff Bond

Interview With David Seltzer (HD, 23:25) – Seltzer talks of how the film wound up much better than his original script “Birthmark” and goes on to tell many stories of the production; his inspiration coming from doing what Spielberg did for Jaws with the devil and how Charles Bronson originally had the Gregory Peck role and just wasn’t right for the part.

Interview With Holly Palance (HD, 13:14) – The actress reflects on her first role in a big movie, discussing stories and admiration for the other cast and crew, also providing stills from a deleted sequence from the film that only is available in that film.

Interview With Composer Christopher Young (HD, 19:05) – The legendary genre composure goes over his appreciation and study for the Goldsmith score for The Omen looking back at excerpts and how he discovered this “lighthouse” back in the 1970s.

Vintage Featurettes

  • Richard Donner On THE OMEN (HD, 14:37)
  • The Omen Revelations (SD, 24:10)
  • Curse Or Coincidence? (SD, 6:22)
  • 666: The Omen Revealed (SD, 46:18)
  • Introduction With Director Richard Donner: 2006 (SD, 1:56)
  • Deleted Scene With Commentary (SD, 1:26)
  • Screenwriter’s Notebook: An Interview With Writer David Seltzer (SD, 14:53)
  • An Appreciation: We Craven On THE OMEN (SD, 20:17)
  • Jerry Goldsmith Discusses THE OMEN (SD, 17:37)

Isolated Score Track

Trailers From Hell Featuring Commentary By Filmmaker Larry Cohen (HD, 2:46) – The late great king of B-movies discusses his thoughts and facts on The Omen while the trailer plays.

Theatrical Trailer (SD, 2:25)

TV Spots (SD, 1:25)

Radio Spots (HD, 3:51)

Image Galleries 

  • Still Image Gallery (HD, 6:17)
  • Behind-The-Scenes Gallery (HD, 5:46)
  • Poster and Lobby Card Gallery (HD, 6:09)
  • Publicity Gallery (HD, 1:31)

Disc 2 – Damien: Omen II

Audio Commentary

  • By Scott Michael Bosco
  • With Producer Harvey Bernhard

Interview With Actress Lee Grant (HD, 15;56) – Lee Grant is pretty grateful this movie and funny enough, candidly talking about it and the people she was excited to work with. However, stay to the end as its the best part when the interviewer tells her he is a fan of another movie of hers, Visiting Hours (The one with William Shatner, also available from Scream Factory). Talk about some brutal honesty and not the reaction you’re at all expecting.

Interview With Robert Foxworth (HD, 16:21) – At this time in his career, Foxworth couldn’t really turn down roles, so he took this one, but found it was a great experience and was thrilled to be working with a favorite actor of his in William Holden. He talks a little about other stuff in his career as well.

Interview With Elizabeth Shepherd (HD, 26:34) – Shepherd opens by touching on the only other horror film she’d worked on, in that of Tombs of Liegeia starring Vincent Price. She’s a fun speaker and is terrific to hear her experience and relationships while working on Omen II.

Shepherd’s Scrapbook (HD, 3:36) – Here, the actor shares her own person photos from the shoot as she speaks over them, showcasing the mask she work to have the crow poke at her. The photos are pretty much from her death scene.

Power and the Devil: The Making of DAMIEN: OMEN II (SD, 7:21) 

Theatrical Trailer (SD, 3:03)

TV Spots (SD, 1:33)

Radio Spots (HD, 1:31)

Image Gallery (HD, 6:34)

Disc 3 – The Final Conflict

Audio Commentary

  • By Special Project Consultant Scott Michael Bosco
  • With Director Graham Baker

Interview With Director Graham Baker (HD, 24:56) – The director marvels at the mind boggling prophetic craziness and things that hadn’t been imagined or happened in the world after the film was made. Baker is pretty astute and educational on the deeper running themes in the film. He believes the film has resonance today and goes through his journey to landing the job finding the writer and plenty more in this pretty stone cold interview.

Interview With Writer Andrew Birkin (HD, 20:30) – Birkin talks how he got the job which piggybacks and gives more to part of Graham Baker’s interview. He talks admiration for the film before it which he had to follow and gives us his reasonable expectations when setting out to pen the film (“I wasn’t writing Gone With The Wind”).

Interview With Production Assistant Jeanne Ferber (HD, 16:38) – Very fond of this movie, she gives us insight into Sam Neill’s casting goes over the production of this “big movie” as she calls it. She gives her own perspective, but the real interesting thing about all three interviews is how they hit on similar points behind the scenes from a different perspective or with more details than before.

Theatrical Trailer (SD, 1:51)

TV Spots (SD, 1:03)

Image Gallery (HD, 3:54)

Disc 4 – Omen IV: The Awakening

Interview With Screenwriter Brian Taggert (HD, 18:11) – He opens by knocking the third film a bit and that he was instructed by the producer to wipe out what had happened before. Taggert is also fonder of how the studio system was back then (“Everything was so together back then”). He talks not exactly believing in a biblical devil but moreso living one to which that ideology landed him the job and he goes through his side of the story and not touching on the difficulties with the director.

Documentary: The Omen Legacy (SD, 1:41:39)

Theatrical Trailer (SD, 1:19)

Still Gallery (HD, 2:14)

Disc 5 – The Omen (2006)

Audio Commentary

  • By Director John Moore, Producer Glenn Williamson and Editor Dan Zimmerman

Unrated Extended Scenes And Extended Ending (SD, 7:09)

Omenisms Documentary (37:19)

Abbey Road Recording Sessions Featurette (SD, 10:14)

Revelation 666: Behind The Scenes (SD, 22:17)

Theatrical Trailers (SD, 3:56)

Summary 

The Omen is a pretty damn good trilogy. The other 2 films in this set…oof. But, hey! We are completionists, right? And I totally support Omen IV’s jump to Blu-ray as it should be. This set features a hell of a lot of rich bonus material and an impressive array of new features, including a whole new movie, to outdo the original set easily. Now, you’ll never grab this one for $9.99, but if you’re a fan or a collector, Scream Factory has earned their price tag here, especially with better packaging (The old box was GARBAGE). The hardcore horror collector and Omen fans should upgrade to this set, though I’m sure most will be content with the already out there set.

 

Please Note: The screencaps in this review did not come from this release, they are from Capsaholic. For some reason, the program I use take them is not reading any of my October Shout! Factory titles. Given that these have been released on Blu-ray before and 3 of them have no new transfer, this should be a decent representation. Once the program or Shout has updated, I will replace these screencaps with my own. Thank you for reading. 

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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