The Big Picture
- Lightning strikes, plane crashes, and bombings plagued the cursed production of The Omen, leaving a trail of eerie events and tragic accidents.
- Even animals were affected by the curse, with Rottweilers attacking trainers and baboons causing genuine terror during filming.
- The most tragic event was the real-life decapitation of Liz Moore, which mirrored a similar scene in the film, adding a ghastly parallel to the curse.
Pop quiz – what do The Exorcist, Poltergeist, The Crow, Rosemary’s Baby, and the recording of Iron Maiden’s The Number of the Beast have in common? All, allegedly, had unexplainable phenomena and strange circumstances plague their cursed productions. While some argue that most of the events were just circumstantial, nothing more, the nature and frequency make it pretty hard to shake. This brings us to The Omen, one of the more popular in a spate of films where the Devil was getting his due. The plot of the film is relatively straightforward: a baby boy is taken in by a diplomat and his wife turns out to be the Antichrist, and all manner of death and misfortune surround him. But that’s Hollywood, right? Yes, but the sheer number and uniqueness of the events that happened behind the scenes of the devilish flick would make the most skeptical of believers order a crucifix off of Amazon at their earliest convenience. Yet you, dear reader, need to be convinced, don’t you? Alright then – you’ve been warned.
Mysterious deaths surround an American ambassador. Could the child that he is raising actually be the Antichrist? The Devil’s own son?
What Happened on the Set of ‘The Omen’?
The Omen curse began in September 1975. Lead actor Gregory Peck was flying to London, and during the flight, lightning struck the plane. Odd, yes, but it’s not unheard of. Shortly after, executive producer Mace Neufeld‘s plane was also struck by lightning while en route to Los Angeles. That’s twice in a span of only a few weeks. Then, writer David Seltzer‘s plane was also struck by lightning. And, while filming in Rome, lightning narrowly missed striking producer Harvey Bernhard. Lightning may never strike twice, but four times, and to different people whose only six degrees of separation at the time was The Omen? That’s eerie, but there’s more.
Speaking of planes, the aforementioned lightning strike was only the first plane-related tragedy connected to The Omen‘s filming. The planned filming of an action scene for The Omen was delayed, which happens. This meant that Peck was not needed on the set, so a private jet that the crew was going to charter to bring Peck in was not necessary. The next day, news arrived that must have sent chills down the spine of the entire cast and crew. According to the previously cited CBS News article, the plane they had intended to book hit a flock of birds and crashed, killing everyone on board. While that was tragic enough, the plane struck a car driving along the road as it came crashing down, killing everyone in the car. But wait, there’s more. The people in the car? The wife and two children of the plane’s pilot.
There Was a Bombing During the Filming of ‘The Omen’
At the time of filming, London was under a rash of explosions set by the IRA, so it sadly wasn’t uncommon. What was uncommon was two incidents that, again, struck people associated with the film. Mace Neufeld, probably already on edge after his plane was struck by lightning, was planning to eat at a restaurant nearby, but apparently, no seats were available after a bomb gutted it. The day after filming, the hotel that director Richard Donner had stayed at was also bombed. Still unconvinced?
On-Set Animal Accidents Also Occured During ‘The Omen’s Production
What if you were told that puppies, monkeys, and a kitty got drawn into the curse? No, cute little animals couldn’t possibly be involved. Now what if you were told the truth, and it was Rottweilers, baboons, and a lion? Rottweilers that were used to portray the Hellhounds would often turn and attack their trainers, and seriously injured stuntman Terry Walsh despite his preparations. A scene in the movie where Kathy Thorn (Lee Remick) and Damien (Harvey Spencer Stephens) drive through a safari park and are attacked by baboons is made horrifically vivid by Remick’s terrified reaction. Great acting? Nope (although she’s excellent in the film) – the baboons were so vicious, her reactions on film are genuine terror. The day after filming that scene saw the death of a zookeeper in the jaws of a lion (some sources say tiger, but splitting hairs on that one).
Liz Moore’s Tragic Death Mirrors Part of ‘The Omen’s Plot
The most tragic event tied to The Omen curse, however, would befall Liz Moore, assistant to John Richardson who was the special effects designer for the film. The pair were driving through the Netherlands, and along the way were involved in a horrifying car accident, as cited in The Lethbridge News. Richardson escaped with minor injuries, but Moore was decapitated by a tire that smashed into their car. That fact is sickening enough, but there’s a ghastly parallel to the movie itself. In one scene, a photographer who’s helping Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck) research Damien’s origins, Keith Jennings (David Warner) is killed when he is decapitated by a sheet of glass that falls off a construction vehicle while driving. And if that wasn’t creepy enough, the accident occurred on August 13th, 1976 – Friday, August 13th – by a road sign that indicated it was 66.6 kilometers away from the town of Ommen.
Accidents Still Plague ‘The Omen’
Additional incidents in the 21st century would suggest that the curse of The Omen still has some bite. In 2005, while filming a documentary about the curse, producer Alan Tyler confessed that two different camera crews, in two different locations, had the exact same technical difficulties with the footage they filmed. And in 2006, the remake of the film experienced two separate incidents. The first befell actor Pete Postlethwaite‘s brother, who died unexpectedly after (allegedly) being dealt three sixes in a game of poker. The second incident saw footage of the scene where actor Liev Schreiber finds the devil’s birthmark on Damien (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick), some 13,500 feet of film, get inexplicably destroyed while being processed. The First Omen, The Omen prequel and first entry into the franchise in 15 years, was first announced in April 2016, but ever since Nell Tiger Free told The Hollywood Reporter that she expected the film to be released in 2023 there has been very little more about it. Has The First Omen already succumbed to the curse? Not saying it has, but also not not saying it.
There you have it, a wellspring of incidents that speak to your need for compelling evidence. And even if one were to conservatively say that 50% of these incidents are explainable coincidences, then that still leaves a large number of very eerie, very spooky, and, in some cases, deeply tragic events with The Omen at the center of it all. Thankfully, the curse of The Omen doesn’t seem to extend to people who write about it, so yours truly looks to be around these parts for a longha0ihdan;aady8z……
The Omen is streaming on Hulu in the U.S.
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