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The Omen
(1976)
Album Cover Art
1990 Varèse
2001 Varèse
Album 2 Cover Art
2005 Varèse Set
Album 3 Cover Art
Composed by:

Orchestrated by:
Arthur Morton

Conducted by:
Lionel Newman

Performed by:
The National Philharmonic Orchestra
Labels Icon
LABELS & RELEASE DATES
Varèse Sarabande
(1990)

Varèse Sarabande
(October 9th, 2001)

Varèse Sarabande
(Trilogy Set)
(October 11th, 2005)
Availability Icon
ALBUM AVAILABILITY
Both the 1990 and 2001 albums are regular commercial releases that are readily available for standard retail prices. The 1990 album was repressed with identical contents by Varèse's Japanese distributor in 1997. The 2005 set containing all three scores in the original trilogy is also easy to find and is the better value per score.
Awards
AWARDS
The score was nominated for a Grammy Award and won an Academy Award. The track "Ave Satani" was nominated for another Academy Award.
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ALSO SEE




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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you seek the source of the majority of horror soundtrack cliches utilized by countless composers after 1976, because The Omen is an extremely intelligent, groundbreaking, and brutal work of art.

Avoid it... if you try not to be challenged by your film music experiences on album, especially in such an oppressive and mean-spirited manner as this.
Review Icon
EDITORIAL REVIEW
FILMTRACKS TRAFFIC RANK: #1,267
WRITTEN 7/29/09
Goldsmith
Goldsmith
The Omen: (Jerry Goldsmith) From a practical, logical standpoint, the entire premise of popular 1976 film The Omen (and others like it) seems a bit silly, though commonly held fears of the Antichrist certainly do present fantastic opportunities when entering the realm of horror motion pictures. After all, why spend half your screenplay establishing a strong villain when you can rely on the one that organized religion has already established to scare the wits (and money) out of people for centuries? The exact circumstances of the birth of the Antichrist are the topic of The Omen, inflicting terror on a couple that has unknowingly adopted the child of a jackal and who will, naturally, pay the ultimate price through the supernatural powers of their demented little boy. Although The Omen was a restricted by a surprisingly low production budget, it experienced a tremendous critical and popular response, and subsequent box office grosses of over $60 million all but guaranteed the two cinematic sequels to follow within five years. The first two films of the series feature similar storylines, showing the frustrating pursuit of Damien, the young Satan, by Italian representatives of the Church while the innocent families housing the little brat learn about his identity too late in their own emotional turmoil to kill him with the necessary daggers. In The Omen, the formula was both fresh and excruciating, because not only was the nobility of Gregory Peck on the line, but the child was so vulnerable as a young boy compared to his older forms seen in the sequels, by which time he was self-aware and could defend himself in supernatural ways very easily. Several shocking and sudden displays of violence punctuated these films, with impaling and beheading scenes as memorable as any in the history of cinema. One of the unique challenges facing producer Harvey Bernhard in his endeavors to bring these three films to the big screen was an inherent lack of continuity. With Damien played by different actors in every film and an extremely limited number of characters carrying over through the narratives (oh, the joys of death!), the films had no guaranteed cohesiveness in what audiences would see and hear on screen. Even director Richard Donner would not return to more than an executive role after his success with The Omen (moving on to Superman, understandably). Enter composer Jerry Goldsmith.

The production team of the original The Omen didn't have the necessary funds available to hire Goldsmith, who was already at the top of his game. After hearing the composer conduct one of his famous concerts, however, Donner and Bernhard confirmed their interest in him and specifically sought a special budgetary allowance from 20th Century Fox for his hiring. That money came directly from the top, and Goldsmith was launched on a course to his only Academy Award win. The composer's music for the films of this trilogy doesn't reflect much of anything else in his career. The oppressive tone of liturgical chanting at its most menacing is a style that he would later touch upon briefly, as in Poltergeist II: The Other Side, but not with the kind of development he had utilized in these works. Goldsmith admitted that he was a bit rusty in his skills at choral writing, though with some help from his faithful orchestrator, Arthur Morton, he managed to produce one of the most memorable choral-related scores in film music history. Never one to shy away from the chance to revisit his material in a sequel (even in franchises with very poor follow-ups), Goldsmith extended the general sound of his music for The Omen in 1978's Damien: The Omen II before taking the same tone of orchestral and choral colors in a different direction for 1981's The Final Conflict. Despite a lack of overarching musical continuity in the rigid structures of the three compositions, Goldsmith did pepper all three with the same style of relentless religious extroversion, applying similar choral techniques in particular throughout the separate scores. The foundation work for the franchise that was conceived and cemented in The Omen includes its striking title chant, a piece of music so powerful that it was actually nominated separately from the score for its own "Best Song" Oscar. The chilling brutality of "Ave Satani," whispering and shouting the Latin translations of "Hail Satan!" and "Jesus Christ!" (among other things) over a muscular and deliberate orchestral churning in the bass region, is effective in part because Goldsmith staggers the progression of the theme at differing rates in the treble choral performances and the underlying orchestral bass. This off-kilter merging of the two halves of the theme produces a very unnerving effect without the need to resort to obvious dissonance or outright pounding to achieve the same ominous fright level in the audience. The same instrumental elements eventually provide the plucky suspense of later cues as well.

Ratings Icon
VIEWER RATINGS
388 TOTAL VOTES
Average: 3.99 Stars
***** 190 5 Stars
**** 86 4 Stars
*** 56 3 Stars
** 31 2 Stars
* 25 1 Stars
  (View results for all titles)

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COMMENTS
4 TOTAL COMMENTS
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Great score, but....
Classical music fan - January 29, 2012, at 3:51 p.m.
1 comment  (637 views)
Creepy; I love it!
Rebecca - January 31, 2011, at 2:45 p.m.
1 comment  (631 views)
The Omen Formula
Bruno Costa - December 5, 2010, at 3:39 a.m.
1 comment  (826 views)
Horror Definitely Worth Hearing...and Scaring...
Jouko Yli-Kiikka - December 11, 2009, at 1:35 a.m.
1 comment  (1047 views)
More...


Track Listings Icon
TRACK LISTINGS AND AUDIO
Audio Samples   ▼
1990 Varèse Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 34:12
• 1. Ave Satani (2:32)
• 2. The New Ambassador (2:33)
• 3. Killer's Storm (2:52)
• 4. A Sad Message (1:42)
• 5. The Demise of Mrs. Baylock (2:52)
• 6. Don't Let Him (2:48)
• 7. The Piper Dreams - performed by Carol Goldsmith (2:39)
• 8. The Fall (3:42)
• 9. Safari Park (2:04)
• 10. The Dog's Attack (5:50)
• 11. The Homecoming (2:43)
• 12. The Altar (2:00)
2001 and 2005 Varèse Albums Tracks   ▼Total Time: 49:11

Notes Icon
NOTES AND QUOTES
The inserts of all the albums include information about the score and film.
Copyright © 2009-2015, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from The Omen are Copyright © 1990, 2001, 2005, Varèse Sarabande, Varèse Sarabande, Varèse Sarabande (Trilogy Set) and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 7/29/09 (and not updated significantly since).
If all children are considered "special" in today's politically correct society, then what would we call the little shit in this film?
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