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Film Review: Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981)

SYNOPSIS:

The now adult Antichrist plots to eliminate his future divine opponent while a cabal of monks plot to stop him.

REVIEW:

1981 saw the third installment of the Omen series and perhaps (although a matter of opinion) it is probably the best film of the three. Directed by Graham Baker, the gripping demonic tale takes place years after Damien; the Omen II ended, and begins when a construction worker finds the seven daggers of Megiddo at the cleanup of the old Thorne museum that burned down at the end of part II. The daggers find their way to a pawnshop and then to an auction block where they are purchased and given, one each, to seven priests who are to use them to hunt down and kill the antichrist.

When astrophysicists notice a strange alignment of stars on a collision course, they realize that it is the second Star of Bethlehem, as foretold by Revelations, and the second coming of Christ. They pinpoint the day the child will be born to March 24th, the exact day that Damien’s main disciple and secretary Harvey Dean (Don Gordon) sees the birth of his son.

Damien (Sam Neill) is now thirty two years old and being appointed Ambassador to England, a position, if you’ll remember, his adoptive father held in The Omen I. He is also quite aware of who he is and fully embracing the quest to destroy the holy second coming.

However, in order to accomplish the goal, Damien must go to Great Britain, ground zero for the second coming, and, at the present, the Ambassador position is filled. So, Damien uses his powers that be (the vicious Rottweiler dogs) to convey his wishes, which he does, forcing the current Ambassador to take his own life by pistol in a very graphic scene.

Soon after, in a rare showing of compassion, Damien meets Kate Reynolds (Lisa Harrow) and becomes involved with her. However, his true motive is to take her son Peter (Barnaby Holm) as a disciple.

Throughout the film, each priest attempts to kill Damien, fail and die. One priest remains, a Father DeCarlo (Rossano Brazzi), the one who was at the monastery when Damien’s adoptive father came seeking answers in part I.

Damien can feel the presence of the Holy child and grows weaker the longer the child lives. In one of the most chilling scenes of the film, he calls upon and stands before his many disciples to decree that they are to execute every male child born on March 24th, which they do in various ways. When all is killed, Damien can still feel the presence and realizes that Harvey’s son is the one.

Damien has Peter trail Father DeCarlo, finding that he visited Harvey’s wife Barbara (Leueen Willoughby) at their home. Damien confronts Harvey and commands that he kill his son (the Holy Child). Harvey refuses and hurries home, where Barbara, having already shooed away a threatening Rotweiller before being handed a vision by Damien of her child ashen burnt, falls under his control and kills Harvey.

Father DeCarlo pleads with Kate to speak to him. She isn’t Christian and doesn’t believe everything he explains to her, but wants her son back. The priest tells her that the proof she seeks lies within Damien’s 666 marking on his scalp behind his ear and under his hair. Kate takes Damien up on an offer of dinner, ending up sleeping with him. She awakes to find Damien gone and searches the home for him. She finds him asleep on the floor before a stature of Christ on the cross and looks for and finds the marking. Partly believing, but primarily wanting her son back, she and Father DeCarlo create a plan.

In exchange for Peter, Kate falsely offers the Christ child to Damien and lures him to the priest, who is waiting in the shadows of an abandoned castle. As Kate, Damien and Peter walk by, the priest attempts to stab Damien with the sole remaining dagger. Damien uses Peter as a human shield and is stabbed in the process. Damien leaves Peter lie and attacks the priest, strangling him.

Damien is ruthless in his quest for power and begins seeking and calling out for Christ to appear so he can confront him. Kate, having withdrew the dagger from her son’s body, creeps up behind him and thrusts the dagger into his back. Damien begins howling demonically, stumbles about and collapses. The spirit of Christ appears as Damien dies with Kate hovering over his fallen body. Kate is finally a believer and is praying as Father DeCarlo carries Peter’s body to her.

Revelation chapter 21, verse 4 scripture begins the closing credits…that when Christ returns, peace will reign for the faithful ones who waited.

Overall, the film is fast paced and chilling in numerous scenes, accompanied by a soundtrack that certainly implies evil. Cold and calculating, while the audience may have an idea as to what is about to occur, the film shockingly thrusts it upon the viewer at the right time, making the viewer unable to have seen it coming. While the film may now be a bit dated, it is still worth a look, for reminisce sake.

Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981)

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About Wee Willie Wicked

Wee WillieWith the seeds firmly planted in his mind by Pittsburgh's Chiller Theatre, Thomas Scopel found the weekly scares he desired. After obtaining a degree and working in the engineering field and constantly feeling the writing itch, he pursued it, becoming a correspondent at the Daytona Beach News Journal. This scratched the itch, but left only raised, bloody, horror aspirating welts on his flesh and he converted to horror fiction.

Since entering the macabre he has been published in various horror based publications and his alter ego, an evil clown named Wee Willie Wicked, was born. His tales include: The Pumpkin Patch, Lickety Split, While You Sleep, All the Creatures Were Stirring…Even the Mouse, The Eight Legs of Night, The Argument, A Cup of Sugar, The Horrors of Easter, Don't Forget the Fingers: A Guide to the Perfect Zombie Family Picnic, Welcome, The Christmas Help, and more.

He has written two novellas, Twitch and The Daily Death – How I Killed My Co-Workers In 30 Days, a collection of macabre fictional death tales.

One Response to Film Review: Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981)

  1. I must admit that having been terrified by The Omen and nevertheless entertained by the inferior
    Damien Omen 2,I was awaiting the release of The Final Conflict with baited breath.Here the trilogy
    has come full circle with Damien as a 33-year -old man and one of the richest and most powerful
    in the world,[he has taken over Thorn Industries from his dead uncle,Richard Thorn].He has also
    managed to ingratiate himself with the U.S. President,who has appointed him U.S ambassador to
    the Court Of St.James.At this stage all is looking prosperous for the adult antichrist,but the seven ancient daggers of Meggido have been found[which were lost in the Thorn Museum fire which Damien destroyed at the end of Damien Omen 2].They have fallen into the hands of seven priests who know Damien’s true identity,and they travel to England to destroy him.If this is
    bad news for Damien,even worse is to come-Jesus Christ has been reborn-jeopardising Damien’s plans for world domination.One by one, every one of the seven priests try to kill Damien,armed with one dagger each-and fails’ each coming to a gruesome death, and only one priest, Father De Carlo survives until the end.Meanwhile, Damien has met an attractive female talk show host called Kate Reynolds and the two begin an affair,while all the while Damien has ordered his diciples to find and kill the baby Christ.Kate Reynolds is called on by Father De Carlo and he warns her of who Damien really is,she doesn’t believe him at first but gradually accepts the truth when she sleeps with him and the next morning finds him sleeping naked in his chapel and finds 666 under his hair.Damien is finally lured to a church by Kate,with her son, Peter having been brainwashed by him, a trap has been set,Decarlo appears from around a dark corner with a dagger, but Damien is too quick and picks up the boy and the priest accidentally kills him.Damien finally comes face to face with Christ and is stabbed by Kate and dies at Christ’s feet.In summary, The Final Conflict isn’t bad but it’s just not very scary,the script and acting are well below par and one of the few things that save the film is the performance of Sam Neill as Damien-he really gets his teeth into the role,playing Damien with an equal balance of malevolence and charm-that you actually like and hate him at the same time.The other redeeming quality is again Jerry Goldsmith’s excellent music score.Overall though,The final Conflict suffers from a lack of tension and frights.6/10.

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