31 Days Of Hallowe'en: The Omen (1974)
Welcome to JOE's 31 Days Of Hallowe'en. For each and every day of October, we'll be bringing you a horror movie to tuck into for the lead up to the big night. It could be new, old, an undiscovered gem, or a classic you'll have seen a thousand times. No matter what it is, we guarantee you that it is brilliant, and it is SCARY.
For Day 1, we'll looking back over the 1976 cornerstone of horror, The Omen.
"You have been warned. If something frightening happens to you today, think about it..."
We can still hear those barking dogs in our sleep.
For some people it's The Exorcist, for others it's Halloween, while many would vote for The Shining as the greatest horror film in cinema history. Richard Donner's The Omen, however, beats them all (in the opinion of this man with a keyboard, at any rate).
The film, which is available to stream on Netflix from Sunday 1 October, concerns a young boy who is taken at birth by the US Ambassador to the United Kingdom, his own child having been stillborn.
What the ambassador, played by Gregory Peck, does not know is that the young boy in question - named Damien - is the Antichrist.
If you haven't seen it, it will absolutely freak you the fuck out.
There are some incredibly disturbing scenes, not least a decapitation by way of a sheet of plate glass and the suicide of a young nanny at a birthday party.
Another scene in which Peck's Robert Thorn goes on a mission to find out who his son really is and lands at an abandoned graveyard, surrounded by a pack of rabid dogs, is not to be watched in the dark.
The Omen was one of the highest grossing films of 1976 and was also admired by critics.
"I don't want to reveal too much of the plot, since nasty surprises are the very life of the possession genre," wrote Roger Ebert.
"But I suppose I can mention the look of sublime happiness on the little boy's face after he knocks his mother (Lee Remick) off a balcony with his tricycle. The neat process by which David Warner, as a photographer, develops film in which the ultimate fates of the victims are superimposed on the negatives. The race against time in the cemetery outside Rome, where Peck and Warner are set upon by leftover hounds of the Baskervilles. And the conclusion, which will leave you thinking that Nixon wasn't half bad."
If you've never seen it, we highly recommend scaring the living daylights out of yourself.