The Omen Franchise Ranked

Its been a long time since I’ve taken the time to write an article.  It’s mostly because of what Godaddy has done to us, restricting our ranking on Google unless we pay them thousands of dollars.  But, I figure, the site is here, I may as well write an article.

Last week I took the opportunity to watch The First Omen on Hulu.  I waited for streaming with The First Omen because it felt like one of those sequels or prequels made 20 or 30 years too late that don’t match the feel of the original.  The Texas Chainsaw (2013) and Leatherface (2017) are guilty and both terrible movies. 

The First Omen was not a bad movie.  I actually liked it and I am welcoming “Satanic Panic” back with open arms.  With movies like the First Omen, Immaculate, Late Night with the Devil, The Pope’s Exorcist and even Exorcist: Believer, it feels like the sub-genre in horror is making a comeback.  Not all are good, but there are a bunch that have been released in the last few years.

Satanic Panic saw a rise from the late 1960s with movies like Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, a few Italian rip-offs and others, while the 1980s saw the trend fizzle out with a few films sprinkled throughout the following decades.  The Exorcist franchise is now up to six such films, a TV show and it’s growing.  I never expected to see another Omen film, unless it was a sequel or even prequel of the 2006 remake, yet…here we are.

We now are at that magic number, the number written three times is the “number of the beast”, 6.  There are now six films in the Omen franchise.  Five in the mainline franchise and of course, one remake which was released, 6-6, 2006. 

I’ve never ranked this franchise.  It’s mostly due to the forgettable nature of the Omen III: The Final Conflict and Omen IV: The Awakening.  The forth film, The Awakening, was a made for TV movie and extremely poorly reviewed and received, for good reason.  I believe making The Final Conflict the end of the franchise would have made for good trilogy that wrapped over a five year release span,  but now we have two extra movies, with a remake as well.  Oh well, this is the way in horror.

So, how does one rank The Omen films?

I’m glad you asked.  I’ve spent plenty of time discussing and rambling on, I’ll keep this short.  The obvious choice is the 1976 film as the best, as I always do, I’ll start with the worst and work my way down with a short review and synopsis from IMDB.

6. The Omen IV: The Awakening (1991)

Two attorneys adopt a mysterious orphan girl as their daughter, unaware she is the new Antichrist, next in line to Damien Thorn.

Made for TV in the late 1980s and early 1990s was a tough time.  But making a horror film and trying to cash in on the success of a 15 year old franchise without the main antagonist was a mistake.  It’s bad.

5. The Omen (2006)

A new age of evil threatens to arise when an American diplomat (Liev Schreiber) and his wife (Julia Stiles) learn that the child (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) they adopted may be the son of Satan. Mystical signs point to the Antichrist’s coming battle for dominion over heaven and Earth.

I’ll never forget June 6, 2006.  Myself and two friends were going to see The Omen in the theater.  It felt like an event, we had to go, it was 666 for God’s sake.  But the mail came and we watched bootleg copies of X-men the animated series rather than see The Omen.  Oh the regret.

The 2006 version of the Omen didn’t do anything outstanding and it was a beat for beat remake of the 1976 film, pointless.  Damien was less impressive, but the rest of the cast was really good.  It’s better than a number 5, but I think the next few are hard to drop out of their place.

4. Damien: The Omen II (1978)

Richard (William Holden) and Ann Thorn (Lee Grant) have taken their 13-year-old nephew, Damien (Jonathan Scott-Taylor), into their Chicago home following the death of Richard’s brother seven years earlier. The Thorns love the child, whom they are sending to military school, but not everyone is so sanguine about his presence. Soon after Great Aunt Marion (Sylvia Sidney) expresses concerns about the boy, she dies suddenly and unexpectedly. And she is certainly not the last.

Some of the writing is not great and the overall atmosphere is missing from the second installment.  I do enjoy this one overall, but it likes something, the charm maybe, of the original.  It feels like a TV movie at times.  There are some great characters, but overall The Omen II falls kind of flat.

3. The Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981)

In this second sequel to “The Omen,” Antichrist Damien Thorn (Sam Neill) is now a successful 32-year-old businessman ready to fulfill his destiny. As Damien is appointed United States ambassador to Britain, priests led by Father DeCarlo (Rossano Brazzi) try to kill him. While Damien prepares for the return of Jesus Christ, he takes advantage of his relationship with Kate Reynolds (Lisa Harrow) to recruit her son, Peter (Barnaby Holm), as his follower.

The Final Conflict is what the third Omen film is known as and I say…Underrated.  Of course Sam Neill is the perfect adult Damien Thorn.  Sam Neill is under appreciated overall in my opinion.  But he has these charming good looks and at the same time, he has this quality that makes him at times seem, evil.  The film isn’t overly great, but Sam Neill is reason alone to watch this and I really enjoy the end of the film.  Give it another chance.

2. The First Omen (2024)

A young American woman is sent to Rome to begin a life of service to the church, but encounters a darkness that causes her to question her faith and uncovers a terrifying conspiracy that hopes to bring about the birth of evil incarnate.

While The First Omen is nothing special, it was better than expected.  There were callbacks to the original film, “It’s all for you!”  But this movie has more graphic scenes than anything in the original five movies and there is a sense of panic and Satanic worship not seen in the films prior to this release.  It made me want to rewatch the 1976 film again and for the most part, they line up well with room for a potential spin-off sequel if needed.  It’s not needed.

1. The Omen (1976)

American diplomat Robert (Gregory Peck) adopts Damien (Harvey Stephens) when his wife, Katherine (Lee Remick), delivers a stillborn child. After Damien’s first nanny hangs herself, Father Brennan (Patrick Troughton) warns Robert that Damien will kill Katherine’s unborn child. Shortly thereafter, Brennan dies and Katherine miscarries when Damien pushes her off a balcony. As more people around Damien die, Robert investigates Damien’s background and realizes his adopted son may be the Antichrist.

I think The Omen is an under appreciated horror film.  It’s ripe with atmosphere, dread and panic.  I think it keeps you on the edge of your seat while Thorn and Jennings are on their adventure.  Billy Whitelaw has a performance of a lifetime as Mrs. Baylock.  There are at least two iconic scenes in the film, while I’ll argue all the deaths scenes are phenomenal.  The score is one for the ages, unforgettable.

Lastly, Gregory Peck commands this film in many ways.  His performance is outstanding, but nearly outshined by 5 year-old Henry Spencer Stephans, that leaves us with a little smile that will creep us out for decades.  Richard Donner didn’t want Henry to smile, but it’s become very iconic.

The Omen franchise isn’t great, it’s really not even one of the top Horror franchises of all-time.  Most of the sequels are forgotten and are never discussed.  As of June 2024 they’re all on Hulu available to watch with a subscription.  I’d give them a chance.  If anything, it’ll add to the list of horror films you’ve seen. 

The last word on the Omen.  It would have a a strong trilogy to end after the Final Conflict.  But, I leave you with one question.  Does the franchise hurt the legacy for the 1976 film?  In other words, would The Omen (1976) be more respected without it’s sequels and remakes.  The Exorcist has never been remade.  Just, food for thought.

About Ray Marek III 699 Articles
I have been watching horror films since I was 6 years old. The story, one Saturday night, my mom and I were watching movies and she fell asleep on the couch. We had the channel set on HBO and the movie we were watching ended and the next one, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. This was some time in 1986. I watched then entire film, I was sitting on the edge of my seat. When my mom woke, she asked me what just ended and I told her, “Freddy”. That was all I talked about for weeks and finally she broke down and rented more horror films for me. She rented, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre part 2, Re-Animator, Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives and Halloween II. I watched all and fell in love with horror films forever. 5 Horror Films to Watch Inferno (1980) A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) The Beyond (1981) Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives (1986) Horror of Dracula (1958)