Omen III: The Final Conflict


Omen III: The Final Conflict
Omen III: The Final Conflict

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Graham Baker
Produced by Harvey Bernhard
Richard Donner
Written by Andrew Birkin
Starring Sam Neill
Don Gordon
Rossano Brazzi
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Cinematography Phil Meheux
Robert Paynter
Editing by Alan Strachan
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) March 20, 1981 (1981-03-20)
Running time 108 minutes
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Box office $20,471,382[1]

Omen III: The Final Conflict (sometimes known as simply The Final Conflict) is a 1981 British/American horror film directed by Graham Baker and the third installment in The Omen series. Starring Sam Neill, Lisa Harrow and Rossano Brazzi, the film tells the progression of the now adult Damien Thorn to position of earthly power, set against the countdown to the Second Coming and attempts of a group of priests to kill the Antichrist. The film was released in theatres on March 20, 1981.

Contents

Plot

Damien Thorn (Sam Neill), 32 years old and head of an international conglomerate, is appointed Ambassador to Great Britain, the same position his adoptive father held. Unlike the previous Omen films, Damien is aware of his unholy lineage and of his destiny.

An alignment of the stars in the Cassiopeia constellation causes the generation of a 'superstar', described as a second Star of Bethlehem. Thorn realizes it is a sign of the Second Coming of Christ and orders all boys in England born on the morning of March 24, 1982 (when the Cassiopeia alignment occurred) to be killed in order to prevent the Christ Child's return to power. One of Thorn's disciples, Dean, attempts to hide that his own son was born on that date.

Thorn has also become romantically involved with journalist Kate Reynolds (Lisa Harrow), a relationship which puts his plans for political dominion on hold. But Damien is not deterred and focuses his attention on her young son Peter (Barnaby Holm), whom Thorn takes as a disciple, manipulating the boy's desire for a father figure.

Meanwhile, Father DeCarlo (Rossano Brazzi) and six priests hunt for Thorn, hoping to kill him before he can find and destroy the Christ Child. They are armed with the seven daggers of Megiddo, the only ancient holy weapons that can harm the Antichrist. However, Damien eliminates the priests in separate confrontations until only DeCarlo remains.

Throughout England, all male infants born on March 24th are executed by Thorn's disciples. The last is Dean and his wife, Barbara's child. Damien confronts Dean about Barbara talking with DeCarlo, and demands that he kill his son. Dean refuses and flees. Meanwhile, Thorn's dog threatens the child, but Barbara drives it away. Then she has a vision of her son as a burnt offering. This causes her to fall under Damien's control and she picks up an iron. Shortly afterwards Dean enters the house where he is killed by Barbara.

Finally, DeCarlo tells Reynolds that the Christ Child is out of his reach, in spite of Thorn's efforts. In hopes of getting her son back, she agrees to take Thorn to the Christ Child in exchange for Peter. This is part of DeCarlo's plan to lure him into a trap. He hopes to ambush Damien and catch him off guard, since his attention will be directed towards confronting Christ. The plan backfires when Damien spots DeCarlo first and uses Peter as a human shield against the dagger. As Peter lies dying, Damien strangles the stunned Father DeCarlo.

In a desperate bid to salvage his waning power, Damien calls out for Christ to appear before him. As he does, Kate sneaks up behind Damien with one of the daggers and stabs him in the back, releasing a wail of demonic agony. After Damien dies, his body is seen lying on the ground with Kate standing over it. In the foreground, DeCarlo reappears carrying Peter's body and hands him to Kate, who was praying. The film ends with scripture of Revelation chapter 21, verse 4 indicating that when Christ returns to earth, peace will reign for all who faithfully awaited the Lord's return.

Cast

Production

Casting

Academy Award-winners Jack Nicholson, Marlon Brando, and Gene Hackman were all considered for the role of Damien Thorn. It was decided that a younger unknown actor would fit the role best, hence the choice of Sam Neill, at that point early in his career. Neill was suggested for the role by veteran actor James Mason, a close friend of producer Harvey Bernhard, who also paid for him to be flown to England for a screen test. Neill later reimbursed Mason for the ticket and, according to director Graham Baker, based his earlier characterisations[clarification needed] on Mason's acting.

Rossano Brazzi got his role as Father DeCarlo due to his statement of "He is a priest with balls!" Graham Baker mentioned this in the commentary, along with his whistling interpretation of Rossano's role in South Pacific. Producer Harvey Bernhard plays the Ambassador's press secretary when the Ambassador calls him and says, "I want a press conference, my office..."

Executive producer Richard Donner, who had directed the first instalment, was set to direct this film but was prevented by his legal troubles with Alexander and Ilya Salkind, after being fired from Superman II.

Locales and filming

The evening party scene was filmed in Brocket Hall, just outside of London, which also substituted as Damien's residence. Kate, Damien, and Peter walk from Hyde Park to Speakers Corner. This scene was shot in the summer in the rain and dampness of London. The Moors sequence was shot in Cornwall including Roche Rock with added visuals for the lightning. The Disciples Of The Watch sequence was shot at around 4–5 am in one night in the Yorkshire Moors. The finale was shot at Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire. "Shooting here was very cold and very eerie," according to Graham Baker's commentary on the DVD. University of London Observatory in Mill Hill, London (identified as "Hendon" in Baker's commentary) substituted for the Fernbank Observatory for The Second Coming sequence.

The crew did not go back to Subiaco to film the exterior location of the monastery as in the first film as it only appears in two scenes in this film. They just used footage from the first film. Stock footage from The Omen were also used when the Ambassador, who kills himself at the beginning of the film, walks to the United States Embassy. The footage of the White House featured in the film was taken from Superman II, subtracting the visual effects.

Lisa Harrow said one of the most difficult sequences to shoot for the film was the death of the first priest in the television studio where her character Kate Reynolds interviews Damien. It took over two weeks to get right. It is considered one of the nastiest mainstream movie deaths, involving a priest burning to death whilst trapped in melting plastic sheets. The scene where Barbara saw a vision of her baby burned/dead was shot on slate 666 and the camera jammed according to director Graham Baker. Stuntman Vic Armstrong performed the backwards one-hundred-foot fall from the bridge. In Guinness World Records 2005, he described it as the most frightening stunt of his career. Most of his falls were less than seventy feet.

Chronology

Like Damien: Omen II, in order for the story to be enacted to its "present day" setting, the series timeline required substantial retconing once more, moving events from the first two movies back further in time. This allowed Thorn, a child in 1976 and a teen in 1978, to be an adult by 1981. The following sequel, Omen IV: The Awakening would follow the third movie's timeline.

Alternative titles

When first released in 1981, the film's original official title was simply The Final Conflict. Later, the title was adjusted to Omen III: The Final Conflict in order to accentuate its link to the other two films in the cycle.

In Germany and Hungary, the film was released as Barbara's Baby, a play on the title Rosemary's Baby. This title also appeared on some posters in many countries before the eventual title was announced.

Sequel

In 1991, a sequel, Omen IV: The Awakening, was produced for television in a failed attempt by 20th Century Fox to revive the films as a horror franchise in the style of Halloween, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street.[citation needed]

References

External links


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