The Omen: Collector's Edition Richard Donner

Serious Christians felt it was destined to change the lives of those who viewed it, but more than anything it was a creepy, highly effective bookend to a satanic trilogy of terror that began with Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist. At the time of its making, The Omen was even more of a mystery than its story. Strange things happened on and off the set that felt as if someone, or thing, didn’t want it to be made. You can’t even make up the shit that happened to the film’s cast and crew. Luckily, there was a film to go with all of the notoriety — one that has held its own for 30 years. Nicely packaged and released to coincide with the theatrical release of its remake, it doesn’t take long to appreciate just how superior the original is. From Jerry Goldsmith’s haunting, Oscar-winning score to the soft focus ’70s sheen and fashion to the superb casting of characters such as little Damien, son of Satan (the adorably devilish Harvey Stephens, who was cast for the role when he freaked out on cue during an audition and furiously kicked Donner right in the balls) and his authentically terrifying nanny Mrs. Baylock (Billie Whitelaw), not to mention Gregory Peck and Lee Remick, The Omen is an understated classic. To help celebrate the anniversary, this collector’s edition is packed with a copious selection of informative reflections on the film. "Curse or Coincidence” is a featurette that examines all of the disasters that befell the production, which newspapers thought were all publicity stunts (most of which are wildly freaky and can be found in the accompanying booklet). Most frightening of all is the chill that hits the spine as Donner tells of a pilot who accidentally killed his family when his plane (carrying members of the crew) crashed into his wife and kids driving along the street in their car. Two more documentaries delve even deeper into the construction and circumstances of the film, but the finest extra is Donner’s commentary with editor Stuart Baird. These two good buddies sit back and reminisce, using brilliantly sarcastic, deprecating humour for their approach, revealing even more gems, such as the hilarious tale behind how they made both the baboon attack scene work (basically by having Baird chase them with a broom before taking away their leader to rile them up) and that iconic final shot of Damien’s wicked smile. Oh, and Donner isn’t hesitant to repeatedly mention that The Omen’s success was the main reason why Star Wars was made. Plus: commentary, deleted scene. (Fox)